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Moderated Forums => Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion => Orthodox-Protestant Discussion => Topic started by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 03:33:24 AM

Title: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 03:33:24 AM
I've just been reminded of how Evangelicals turn everything into an evangelical event.

Last year a relative of a relative was dying of breast cancer and when I expressed my sympathy regarding the sad loss of this vibrant young woman - for her family of young children and even her estranged husband - I was told that it wasn't really all that sad at all. God was working great miracles by showing how well she was handling death to her unbelieving exhusband.

The same sort of thing has been told to me by a close relative of my relative who might just die of leukemia. That "oh well, Gran isn't a believer yet and how well we all handle this might just push her into believing and get her saved."

These are just a couple of examples and whenever this sort of thing happens, I'm always like.... Hello??! What the heck are you people on? I have never heard an Orthodox believer express anything other than regret that a person they love is dying or has died. We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise. To me this crass evangelical need is, as my husband says, diabolically insenstive and presumptuous.

I'm kind of angry, flabbergasted and even hurt as I write this, so it's probably good that I get it off my chest. 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 03:42:58 AM
Sorry, Peter. I wasn't sure where to put this rant of mine.  :-\
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GregoryLA on November 15, 2009, 03:49:51 AM
I've just been reminded of how Evangelicals turn everything into an evangelical event.

Last year a relative of a relative was dying of breast cancer and when I expressed my sympathy regarding the sad loss of this vibrant young woman - for her family of young children and even her estranged husband - I was told that it wasn't really all that sad at all. God was working great miracles by showing how well she was handling death to her unbelieving exhusband.

The same sort of thing has been told to me by a close relative of my relative who might just die of leukemia. That "oh well, Gran isn't a believer yet and how well we all handle this might just push her into believing and get her saved."

These are just a couple of examples and whenever this sort of thing happens, I'm always like.... Hello??! What the heck are you people on? I have never heard an Orthodox believer express anything other than regret that a person they love is dying or has died. We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise. To me this crass evangelical need is, as my husband says, diabolically insenstive and presumptuous.

I'm kind of angry, flabbergasted and even hurt as I write this, so it's probably good that I get it off my chest. 

Lord have mercy!

I'm sorry to hear about the deaths of your friends and family.  May the Lord comfort you and yours at this time and give you peace and comfort.  May those who are sick and suffering experience the healing of the Master Physician and may those who have already passed be granted peace in a place of comfort and light.

I think though there may be some worth in what those evangelical folks around you have said.  It would in fact be a wonderful thing if those nonbelievers around you were moved by the strength and hope present in the Christians they saw as God "works all things to the good for those who love Him."  Perhaps these evangelical folks are just trying to look on the brighter side of things as they face what, I'm sure for them as well, is a very heart-wrenching situation.  I know almost nothing about your situation, but try not to take your hurt out on them, as I'm sure you will need each other in this trying time.  

I'll pray for you.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 04:05:46 AM
I've just been reminded of how Evangelicals turn everything into an evangelical event.

Last year a relative of a relative was dying of breast cancer and when I expressed my sympathy regarding the sad loss of this vibrant young woman - for her family of young children and even her estranged husband - I was told that it wasn't really all that sad at all. God was working great miracles by showing how well she was handling death to her unbelieving exhusband.

The same sort of thing has been told to me by a close relative of my relative who might just die of leukemia. That "oh well, Gran isn't a believer yet and how well we all handle this might just push her into believing and get her saved."

These are just a couple of examples and whenever this sort of thing happens, I'm always like.... Hello??! What the heck are you people on? I have never heard an Orthodox believer express anything other than regret that a person they love is dying or has died. We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise. To me this crass evangelical need is, as my husband says, diabolically insenstive and presumptuous.

I'm kind of angry, flabbergasted and even hurt as I write this, so it's probably good that I get it off my chest. 

Lord have mercy!

I'm sorry to hear about the deaths of your friends and family.  May the Lord comfort you and yours at this time and give you peace and comfort.  May those who are sick and suffering experience the healing of the Master Physician and may those who have already passed be granted peace in a place of comfort and light.

I think though there may be some worth in what those evangelical folks around you have said.  It would in fact be a wonderful thing if those nonbelievers around you were moved by the strength and hope present in the Christians they saw as God "works all things to the good for those who love Him."  Perhaps these evangelical folks are just trying to look on the brighter side of things as they face what, I'm sure for them as well, is a very heart-wrenching situation.  I know almost nothing about your situation, but try not to take your hurt out on them, as I'm sure you will need each other in this trying time.  

I'll pray for you.

That God can bring good out of bad situations isn't the issue. All Christians believe that and I'm fine with anyone looking on the bright side of their own situation, but neither of these cases - and others I can think of - were that. It's always someone else in the "hot seat", so to speak. That is what I don't understand. That I might wish that some good will come out of my suffering is all very well, but to disregard the very real pain that other people are suffering, the sadness of their situation and having sympathy for those who mourn for them, to not even acknowledge it, and in some way turn into into an altar call, is simply unfeeling in my opinion.

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on November 15, 2009, 04:08:01 AM
My step-mother, a former Roman Catholic of over 40 years turned Evangelical Southern Baptist, made a point to fly up to see a dying relative, expressly with the purpose of proselytizing.  Apparently however her family's deep rooted Italian Catholic faith was handling the situation wasn't good enough; she needed to swoop up and try and save the day at the last minute, despite her total lack of involvement in this person's life leading up to the critical condition.

These frustrations are quite normal.  When I was at my sister's Catholic wedding a few years ago, I ended up collecting informational pamphlets out of the lobby on Catholicism (I was raised Catholic) out of an honest curiosity.  I realized that I had never really given the Catholic perspective a fair shake, that I had only gotten my views about the Roman Catholic Church from the Baptists who helped to 'save' me a decade before.  My step-mother was at the wedding, and when she noticed this, she was sure to give me a stern warning:  "Don't listen to any of that.  All of that is invented by man."

I didn't want to argue, especially not at a wedding, so I just let it go.  I wasn't even a practicing Christian at that point; I was simply offended at how obviously ignorant and presumptuous she was being.

So you're not alone, but my hands are blood red on a lot of this.  I was trained up in an Evangelical church in my teens, and for years I hounded people around me about what they needed to do.  Orthodoxy has taught me about a great many things that I need to do.

May God have mercy on us all, wretched and prideful sinners that we are.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 04:14:21 AM
My step-mother, a former Roman Catholic of over 40 years turned Evangelical Southern Baptist, made a point to fly up to see a dying relative, expressly with the purpose of proselytizing.  Apparently however her family's deep rooted Italian Catholic faith was handling the situation wasn't good enough; she needed to swoop up and try and save the day at the last minute, despite her total lack of involvement in this person's life leading up to the critical condition.

These frustrations are quite normal.  When I was at my sister's Catholic wedding a few years ago, I ended up collecting informational pamphlets out of the lobby on Catholicism (I was raised Catholic) out of an honest curiosity.  I realized that I had never really given the Catholic perspective a fair shake, that I had only gotten my views about the Roman Catholic Church from the Baptists who helped to 'save' me a decade before.  My step-mother was at the wedding, and when she noticed this, she was sure to give me a stern warning:  "Don't listen to any of that.  All of that is invented by man."

I didn't want to argue, especially not at a wedding, so I just let it go.  I wasn't even a practicing Christian at that point; I was simply offended at how obviously ignorant and presumptuous she was being.

So you're not alone, but my hands are blood red on a lot of this.  I was trained up in an Evangelical church in my teens, and for years I hounded people around me about what they needed to do.  Orthodoxy has taught me about a great many things that I need to do.

May God have mercy on us all, wretched and prideful sinners that we are.

Amen.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on November 15, 2009, 04:15:00 AM
Stupid people need to believe stupid things in order to make "sense" of the world. I don't deny anyone any crutches they need to get through life, but I wish they'd keep them to themselves and stop waving them about as they tend to cause injuries to others.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 04:22:37 AM
Stupid people need to believe stupid things in order to make "sense" of the world. I don't deny anyone any crutches they need to get through life, but I wish they'd keep them to themselves and stop waving them about as the tend to cause injuries to others.

I agree. This was almost exactly what I said to my daughter. If someone thinks such a thing, that's one thing, but why throw it in my direction, so that I now have to deal with the hurt of it?

Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on November 15, 2009, 04:29:18 AM
Any Christian that is OK with death needs to pick up that Bible they are thumping.  Death came into this world because of sin, and it is unnatural.  Death is such a tragedy that Christ actually came and suffered death himself to free us from it.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 04:36:02 AM
Any Christian that is OK with death needs to pick up that Bible they are thumping.  Death came into this world because of sin, and it is unnatural.  Death is such a tragedy that Christ actually came and suffered death himself to free us from it.

That is so true, Alveus. I just don't understand this way of thinking. These people seem to be so confident that the person dying has "made it", that they can therefore be sacrificed on the altar of evangelism. I just don't understand.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on November 15, 2009, 04:39:24 AM
Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!
Have you read "Functional and Dysfunctional Christianity" (http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/1885652070.html) by Fr. Philotheos Faros? It actually deals with these very issues and the "neurosis" in a lot of "western" Christianity. If you haven't read it, I have a copy I can give you.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on November 15, 2009, 04:42:59 AM
Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!

Tell the bible-bashers to read John 11:35. The context is the death of Lazarus Whom Christ was about to raise from the dead.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 04:54:57 AM
Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!
Have you read "Functional and Dysfunctional Christianity" (http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/1885652070.html) by Fr. Philotheos Faros? It actually deals with these very issues and the "neurosis" in a lot of "western" Christianity. If you haven't read it, I have a copy I can give you.

ozgeorge,

No, I haven't read that book. I would be most grateful to read it. I'll contact you in private. Thank you so much.  :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 15, 2009, 04:56:35 AM
Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!

Tell the bible-bashers to read John 11:35. The context is the death of Lazarus Whom Christ was about to raise from the dead.

I have been thinking about that very verse all afternoon!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 16, 2009, 02:55:27 PM
Orthodoxy has taught me about a great many things that I need to do.



I just thought this was so fine and so true, it needed repeating.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on November 16, 2009, 03:09:16 PM
My mother and her sister were raised in the Catholic Church, attended Catholic schools and as adults became Evangelicals. My Grandmother, a devout Polish Catholic woman with pictures of the Pope, religious paintings and statues of Christ, and icons of Our Lady of Czestochowa all over the house (literally every room but the bathroom), had been the object of their tongue-clucking judgment for years and comments of how "sad it was that Mom didn't know Jesus."

Now that my Grandmother is in her nineties and suffering from dimentia, my Aunt told me this summer that she has decided that "Mom must be saved, since she does pray to Jesus in her own little way, and I'm sure he understands."

I'm sure my Grandmother will take comfort in knowing that her daughter has assured her salvation. (facepalm)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on November 16, 2009, 03:52:12 PM
I think it is proper to see the dying process or just illness as Holy Ground. It humbles us and can open many doors to other people. It may not even be something as dramatic as a full conversion but just that it allowed them to tend to us.

I think what you may be noticing is that Orthodox have a rather sober form of piety, so we can express the same hope as your Evangelical relatives but in a way that may seem more proper to you.. Different strokes for different folks
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Andrew21091 on November 16, 2009, 05:26:00 PM
I have never understood Evangelicals either since I've never been a part of them or been involved with them. Born Roman Catholic and then converted to Orthodoxy pretty young. I've never understood the whole "saved" business they talk about, such as asking people if they are saved. I was asked that once and I only got confused saying that I cannot possibly know and that it is something that must be worked toward. I never understood how someone could know if this person or that person could be saved since that is up to God.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on November 16, 2009, 06:12:40 PM
I've just been reminded of how Evangelicals turn everything into an evangelical event.

Last year a relative of a relative was dying of breast cancer and when I expressed my sympathy regarding the sad loss of this vibrant young woman - for her family of young children and even her estranged husband - I was told that it wasn't really all that sad at all. God was working great miracles by showing how well she was handling death to her unbelieving exhusband.

The same sort of thing has been told to me by a close relative of my relative who might just die of leukemia. That "oh well, Gran isn't a believer yet and how well we all handle this might just push her into believing and get her saved."

These are just a couple of examples and whenever this sort of thing happens, I'm always like.... Hello??! What the heck are you people on? I have never heard an Orthodox believer express anything other than regret that a person they love is dying or has died. We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise. To me this crass evangelical need is, as my husband says, diabolically insenstive and presumptuous.

I'm kind of angry, flabbergasted and even hurt as I write this, so it's probably good that I get it off my chest. 

That's so sad. I hope they were just masking their grief the only way they knew how, by telling themselves that something 'positive' could come. I guess that's a natural impulse too, but I agree that it feels offensive and disrespectful to the dead to evangelize in that situation.

I think (and I'm aware that my own culture is not so rich in this area as I could wish) that some of us are very impoverished in terms of solid, comforting rituals with which to acknowledge all our feelings for our dead.

I ended up finding the Psalter and the many prayers for the dead it in, all on my own. Maybe your family just haven't found these things. They might feel very angry and alone in their need to find an a-temporal 'meaning' for this death, which you might find in the established structures of Orthodoxy.

I'm so sorry you had this experience. God be with you.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on November 16, 2009, 08:27:48 PM
I think it is proper to see the dying process or just illness as Holy Ground. It humbles us and can open many doors to other people. It may not even be something as dramatic as a full conversion but just that it allowed them to tend to us.

I think what you may be noticing is that Orthodox have a rather sober form of piety, so we can express the same hope as your Evangelical relatives but in a way that may seem more proper to you.. Different strokes for different folks

I agree, I don't see anything wrong with what they do. Different strokes for different folks.








ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 16, 2009, 11:56:32 PM
I've just been reminded of how Evangelicals turn everything into an evangelical event.

Last year a relative of a relative was dying of breast cancer and when I expressed my sympathy regarding the sad loss of this vibrant young woman - for her family of young children and even her estranged husband - I was told that it wasn't really all that sad at all. God was working great miracles by showing how well she was handling death to her unbelieving exhusband.

The same sort of thing has been told to me by a close relative of my relative who might just die of leukemia. That "oh well, Gran isn't a believer yet and how well we all handle this might just push her into believing and get her saved."

These are just a couple of examples and whenever this sort of thing happens, I'm always like.... Hello??! What the heck are you people on? I have never heard an Orthodox believer express anything other than regret that a person they love is dying or has died. We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise. To me this crass evangelical need is, as my husband says, diabolically insenstive and presumptuous.

I'm kind of angry, flabbergasted and even hurt as I write this, so it's probably good that I get it off my chest. 

That's so sad. I hope they were just masking their grief the only way they knew how, by telling themselves that something 'positive' could come. I guess that's a natural impulse too, but I agree that it feels offensive and disrespectful to the dead to evangelize in that situation.

I think (and I'm aware that my own culture is not so rich in this area as I could wish) that some of us are very impoverished in terms of solid, comforting rituals with which to acknowledge all our feelings for our dead.

I ended up finding the Psalter and the many prayers for the dead it in, all on my own. Maybe your family just haven't found these things. They might feel very angry and alone in their need to find an a-temporal 'meaning' for this death, which you might find in the established structures of Orthodoxy.

I'm so sorry you had this experience. God be with you.

Thanks Liz. Yes it is sad. Our relatives - mine and my husband's - are, but for a few exceptions, pragmatic fundamentalists. Both sides are varying kinds of Evangelicals; some very conservative and stoic; some charistmatic and kind of “out there”. Even with these differences, it really shouldn't come as a surprise that they as a group would seek a *practical * explanation to death and grief that fits in with their mindset. From my experiences with them through many situations over the years, I just don't think that they are in touch with the reality of sorrow and very human need to express grief. I honestly see them as emotionally disfunctional and have never been able to either comfort them or be comforted by them in times of sorrow. 

Having said all this, I love these people very deeply. They are very devout and committed Christians; but they are just beyond my comprehension.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 17, 2009, 12:10:03 AM
I think it is proper to see the dying process or just illness as Holy Ground. It humbles us and can open many doors to other people. It may not even be something as dramatic as a full conversion but just that it allowed them to tend to us.

I think what you may be noticing is that Orthodox have a rather sober form of piety, so we can express the same hope as your Evangelical relatives but in a way that may seem more proper to you.. Different strokes for different folks

I agree, I don't see anything wrong with what they do. Different strokes for different folks.








ICXC NIKA

Well, I don't think of these things as being *wrong*, per se. It's not like it's immoral or a sin to be lacking in empathy (or is it?) I just see this ploy as typical of Evangelicals. I simply view seeing someone else's death in such an opportunistic light as crass and unfeeling.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: EkhristosAnesti on November 17, 2009, 02:30:45 AM
We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise.

Why is it necessarily an either/or thing?

I think you are being overly presumptuous in denying that people who deal with tragedy in such a way must be lacking in sympathy and compassion. What is to preclude a more positive interpretation, such as that which may suggest that such people possess such an extraordinary level of faith which, being so absorbed by genuine conviction in the Goodness and Love of God, inspires them to respond in a way most conducive to His ultimate Good and Loving purpose?  I would think the first step of responding conducively as such would be acknowledgement of the reality of the spiritual backdrop to any given tragic circumstance.

I am reminded of an incident where a certain lady had written to a great Church Father (whose exact identity escapes me at the moment, but I can dig for more specific information if you wish or require me to) complaining of a severe illness which she was suffering from. This Church Father certainly sympathised with the woman, but he did not stop at that. His advice to her was that she should not be so absorbed by her sufferings, but that she should rather be philosophical about them--that this was the Christian way, as opposed to the way of the world. The spirit of the Psalms of lamentation I believe echo the same sentiment. The Psalmist is honest about his grief and sorrows, yet counters his natural emotionalism with philosophical sentiments. Take Psalm 4, for example; the Psalmist complains about his hardships not less than a few times, yet he proclaims how God "enlarged" him amidst his affliction--which is to say, as per the commentary of the Fathers, that God allowed him the opportunity to converse more intimately with him. This alludes to one of the most common and general Christian responses to why God permits suffering in certain instances--it allows us the opportunity to grow closer to Him. Certainly I am expected to acknowledge the possibility of this amidst my own suffering, but why would I be wrong in trying to help see others suffering see this for themselves also?

But maybe I am talking past you here? I wonder if your generally negative reaction is shaped even in the slightest by an underlying skepticism as to the legitimacy of the spiritual interpretation of these tragedies by the relevant persons. If we could assume for argument's sake that in regard to the first incident you relate, for example, that God truly did allow the tragedy in question to prevail for the purpose of inspiring some penance and faith in the unbelieving husband, would your reaction be any different? Or do you perhaps object to the hypothetical situation I posit upon the presumption that since God could never permit such tragedies for such purposes one cannot even assume such even for argument's sake?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 17, 2009, 03:50:11 AM
We actually grieve, rather than look at someone's passing as an opportunity to evangelise.

Why is it necessarily an either/or thing?

I think you are being overly presumptuous in denying that people who deal with tragedy in such a way must be lacking in sympathy and compassion. What is to preclude a more positive interpretation, such as that which may suggest that such people possess such an extraordinary level of faith which, being so absorbed by genuine conviction in the Goodness and Love of God, inspires them to respond in a way most conducive to His ultimate Good and Loving purpose?  I would think the first step of responding conducively as such would be acknowledgement of the reality of the spiritual backdrop to any given tragic circumstance.

I am reminded of an incident where a certain lady had written to a great Church Father (whose exact identity escapes me at the moment, but I can dig for more specific information if you wish or require me to) complaining of a severe illness which she was suffering from. This Church Father certainly sympathised with the woman, but he did not stop at that. His advice to her was that she should not be so absorbed by her sufferings, but that she should rather be philosophical about them--that this was the Christian way, as opposed to the way of the world. The spirit of the Psalms of lamentation I believe echo the same sentiment. The Psalmist is honest about his grief and sorrows, yet counters his natural emotionalism with philosophical sentiments. Take Psalm 4, for example; the Psalmist complains about his hardships not less than a few times, yet he proclaims how God "enlarged" him amidst his affliction--which is to say, as per the commentary of the Fathers, that God allowed him the opportunity to converse more intimately with him. This alludes to one of the most common and general Christian responses to why God permits suffering in certain instances--it allows us the opportunity to grow closer to Him. Certainly I am expected to acknowledge the possibility of this amidst my own suffering, but why would I be wrong in trying to help see others suffering see this for themselves also?

But maybe I am talking past you here? I wonder if your generally negative reaction is shaped even in the slightest by an underlying skepticism as to the legitimacy of the spiritual interpretation of these tragedies by the relevant persons. If we could assume for argument's sake that in regard to the first incident you relate, for example, that God truly did allow the tragedy in question to prevail for the purpose of inspiring some penance and faith in the unbelieving husband, would your reaction be any different? Or do you perhaps object to the hypothetical situation I posit upon the presumption that since God could never permit such tragedies for such purposes one cannot even assume such even for argument's sake?

Fair enough to assume anything for argument's sake. I can be philosophical about my own sufferings, but hold those of others in high regard. God might have allowed these things to happen for any number of reasons; spiritual growth not being the least of them. But I think perhaps you misunderstand my point, but that is understandable in this medium. I, in no way, deny that God in His great goodness can or will allow tragedy or even use it or even a potential tragedy for such miraculous purposes. In fact, some years ago my own son had a brain tumour. It was removed, but later it was shown that fragments?? (I don’t know how to explain this correctly) were still present and becoming active. The prognosis wasn’t good.  After some months of specialist visits that seemed to go nowhere, my husband took him to Australia to receive Holy Unction. When he returned to his specialist there was no sign of the tumour’s *remains*. I think that I can with some confidence say that was God working a miracle. I’m not speculating on God’s intervention; my son had a lethal condition and now it is gone; he has been able to bring his family to live in Australia and can work again. So I know that God works miracles; even though this particular one was virtually ignored by my family or treated with great skepticism.

Perhaps I haven’t expressed myself well, but my complaint isn’t about the belief that God can work a miracle; either in healing my nephew or saving a lost grandmother; but that in the first case a young woman's death was brushed off in such a callous manner, preferring to see it as a prosletysing opportunity than the tragedy it is. Would anyone expect there to be instead of an expression of sympathy a glib sales pitch? The straw to break the camel's back, so to speak, was to hear this same line of reasoning used with regard to my nephew's potentially lethal condition. Of course, we are all hoping for a miracle. Of course, prayers are the first positive towards such a thing, but say what you will I can't understand this brushing aside of concern to make my nephew's condition a platform for evangelism. 

Anyway, thanks for your comments.

edited as usual to make sense.... I think
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: EkhristosAnesti on November 17, 2009, 06:12:53 PM
I'm of the impression that I *did* get your point, but that you misunderstood mine (probably because of my own inability to properly express myself).

I didn't anywhere refer to the idea of miraculous healings. This is indeed one way in which God's Glory may be manifest amidst tragedy--the very thing which naturally seeks to challenge God's Glory--but it is not the only way.

Please let me try and rephrase my essential points:

The moral that I inferred from St Gregory of Nyssa's response to the suffering woman as recounted in my previous response, is as follows: firstly, that the Christian mind is one which discerns that everything has a spiritual backdrop to it, and that tragedies in particular may serve a spiritual purpose in one way or another (not necessarily, and certainly not predominantly, on account of being an opportunity for some "miraculous" resolution), and that secondly, we are to act accordingly. This being the case, it must nevertheless be acknowledged that God did not introduce tragedy and suffering into the world, for any purpose; tragedies originally entered into the world on account of sin alone, and needless to say they will come to an end. While they remain with us, however, God can (and does) use tragedy for redemptive purposes, in the paradoxical fashion that He could use death (namely, the death of Christ on the Cross) to defeat the ultimate tragedy—death itself.   

I then appealed to the Psalms as works exemplifying the healthy Christian way of dealing with suffering in that they strike a healthy balance between an emotional response on the one hand and a spiritually philosophical response on the other; I made such an appeal because, as far as I can tell, your qualms with the particular incidents in question are provoked by a more general objection to a response to suffering of the latter type and an underlying assumption that the latter type of response is at tension with the former. A spiritually philosophical response to suffering may indeed involve discerning the way in which God wishes to abuse tragedy against itself by allowing it to promote the salvation of others; yet you seem to be suggesting that we should just see tragedy as mere tragedy and grieve as such.

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a young woman's death was brushed off in such a callous manner, preferring to see it as a prosletysing opportunity than the tragedy it is.

In light of my above clarifications (at least I hope they serve as such), can this young woman's death not be regarded as both a tragedy and an opportunity for others' redemption (I'm going to avoid talk of 'proselytising' given the negative connotations attached to such a term which I think threaten an objective discussion of this sensitive topic)? I believe acknowledgment of such is part and parcel of an affirmation of the fact that by Christ's "tragedy" (His death on the Cross) all tragedies met their end (sin and death were defeated) and that His redemptive work operates in the here and now to transform tragedies towards good ends. Could it be that what you interpret to be "callous brushing off" is possibly simply undivided confidence and trust that God's Love and Goodness is at hand even in the midst of apparent tragedy, and a faithful determination to co-operate with that Love and Goodness at work?

Speaking in particular of an Orthodox approach to tragedy, consider our response to the death of the Martyrs. Would you not consider someone being murdered, and so brutally at that, for doing nothing more than upholding their faith more tragic than someone dying of illness? But we know that the tragedy of the Martyrs *was* the foundation of the conversion of many, and we continue to commemorate and celebrate their heroism, even with evangelistic intent.

Fr. Pishoy Kamel, a recently departed priest of our Church who is unanimously considered to have been a living Saint, died of cancer; in his final days he came to regard his cancer as the "sickness of heaven". In the manner of the Saints, he praised and glorified God amidst his suffering till his last breath; he regarded his illness a final token from God--a final opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ and receive greater glory in the Heavenly Kingdom. His example was appealed to by a certain deacon's spiritual adviser when I accompanied the latter on one of his hospital visits to the deacon. This deacon is and has always been a very holy and dedicated servant of the church and his spiritual adviser, whilst saddened by the sight of his spiritual son having lost his hair and looking weaker than ever due to the chemo, nevertheless saw it fit to raise this deacon’s focus in relation to his condition beyond the level of mere tragedy towards a higher, spiritual level--to acknowledge it as an opportunity for him to earn greater glory in heaven. The deacon didn't merely *suffer* from cancer; he *earned* the sickness of heaven.

I realise how difficult, emotionally and psychologically, it is to adopt this higher level of thinking amidst tragedy—to move beyond our sensory perceptions and reflex responses, our emotions, our instincts etc.—to penetrate the veil of all this and grasp the underlying spiritual reality. I speak as to such a difficulty on account of my own experience. I haven’t suffered great physical illness, but I’ve suffered some things that at times made me wish to have had physical illness instead. It took me over a year and a half to try and finally view one such experience through a spiritual lens, and to take that vision seriously enough so as to put my emotions aside and act accordingly. Once I began that effort, God was more than generous with me, and granted me the liberation I had struggled to acquire for a year and a half, in just a few days. I don't want to harp on about my own experience here; I just allude to it to reinforce the idea that I’m not just speaking abstractly here. I can empathise with how difficult it is to adopt the mindset i'm promoting, but I can also attest to the beautiful benefits of so adopting that mindset and taking it seriously.

I hope my intent has been made clear and that I have not offended or hurt you. Glory to God for the wonderful outcome of your son's situation. I entreat the Saints to pray that God be with your nephew and all those who suffer with him; that He heal him for the glory of His Name, and that He make His power and glory known amidst such circumstances, for the peace, comfort, strength and salvation of all.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 17, 2009, 07:52:25 PM
I'm of the impression that I *did* get your point, but that you misunderstood mine (probably because of my own inability to properly express myself).

I apologise for misunderstanding. The old brain isn’t quite what it used to be. But I don't think that you have understood the thrust of my lament.

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I didn't anywhere refer to the idea of miraculous healings. This is indeed one way in which God's Glory may be manifest amidst tragedy--the very thing which naturally seeks to challenge God's Glory--but it is not the only way.

Please let me try and rephrase my essential points:

The moral that I inferred from St Gregory of Nyssa's response to the suffering woman as recounted in my previous response, is as follows: firstly, that the Christian mind is one which discerns that everything has a spiritual backdrop to it, and that tragedies in particular may serve a spiritual purpose in one way or another (not necessarily, and certainly not predominantly, on account of being an opportunity for some "miraculous" resolution), and that secondly, we are to act accordingly. This being the case, it must nevertheless be acknowledged that God did not introduce tragedy and suffering into the world, for any purpose; tragedies originally entered into the world on account of sin alone, and needless to say they will come to an end. While they remain with us, however, God can (and does) use tragedy for redemptive purposes, in the paradoxical fashion that He could use death (namely, the death of Christ on the Cross) to defeat the ultimate tragedy—death itself.

I agree completely. Of course, the Christian mind is one which discerns that everything has a spiritual backdrop to it. Of course, God can and does use tragedy for redemptive purposes. Where have I suggested otherwise? This isn’t my issue. My issue is when the spiritual backdrop becomes the focus to the exclusion of human suffering; when the tragedy is minimalised. 

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I then appealed to the Psalms as works exemplifying the healthy Christian way of dealing with suffering in that they strike a healthy balance between an emotional response on the one hand and a spiritually philosophical response on the other; I made such an appeal because, as far as I can tell, your qualms with the particular incidents in question are provoked by a more general objection to a response to suffering of the latter type and an underlying assumption that the latter type of response is at tension with the former. A spiritually philosophical response to suffering may indeed involve discerning the way in which God wishes to abuse tragedy against itself by allowing it to promote the salvation of others; yet you seem to be suggesting that we should just see tragedy as mere tragedy and grieve as such.

Sorry. If that is what it seems, I have failed to express myself thoroughly. My objection to has nothing to do with what God does with a tragedy, but what we as humans do with it. The issue that concerns me here is the ignoring of the tragedy and the relegation of suffering and death to a stage for proselytization. You are rightly advocating balance and what I am actually complaining of is the lack of balance in such a view. That the acknowledgement of human suffering in grief should be placed on hold, so to speak, while creating a platform for evangelism out of the death or approaching death of one beloved in the hope that the unsaved beloved is distorting the experience of the tragedy. Ignoring the suffering of death of one loved one because of the hope of evangelising another denies an outlet to express grief naturally, because natural human expression is cut off to focus on the “main event”.   

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a young woman's death was brushed off in such a callous manner, preferring to see it as a prosletysing opportunity than the tragedy it is.

In light of my above clarifications (at least I hope they serve as such), can this young woman's death not be regarded as both a tragedy and an opportunity for others' redemption

Yes! But that is not my issue. The very fact that it was not regarded as both is the very crux of my consternation! That one is told that there should be no sadness; one shouldn’t weep for the loss of the beloved is not allowing it to be both! It's distancing oneself from the reality of our human condition.

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Could it be that what you interpret to be "callous brushing off" is possibly simply undivided confidence and trust that God's Love and Goodness is at hand even in the midst of apparent tragedy, and a faithful determination to co-operate with that Love and Goodness at work?

No, I don’t believe so. Undivided confidence and trust that God’s Love and Goodness is at hand doesn’t set about to eliminate human grief; it accommodates it; encourages it as a healthy outlet. The death of a beloved isn’t some side plot to be disregarded in favour of the “main event”. Bishop Kallistos, in his book The Inner Kingdom says that death is unnatural.

“Death is not part of God’s primary purpose for His creation. He created us, not in order that we should die, but in order that we should live. What is more, He created us as an undivided unity. In the Jewish and Christian view, the human person is to be seen in thoroughly holistic terms: we are each of us, not a soul temporarily imprisioned in a body and longing to escape, but an integrated totality that embraces soul and body together… As the separation of body and soul, death is therefore a violent affront against the wholeness of our human nature. Death may be something that awaits us all, but it at the same time profoundly abnormal. It is monstrous and tragic. Confronted by the death of those close to us and by our own death, despite all our realism we are justified in feeling also a sense of desolation, of horror and even indignation…Jesus Himself wept beside the grave of His friend, Lazarus (Jn11:35) and in Gethsemane He was filled with anguish at the prospect of His own death (Mt26:38). St Paul regards death as an “enemy to be destroyed:” (1Cor 15:26). The fact that we are all going to die is a reflection of the fact that we are all living in a fallen world – in a world that is distorted and out of joint; crazy, ecrase.

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Speaking in particular of an Orthodox approach to tragedy, consider our response to the death of the Martyrs. Would you not consider someone being murdered, and so brutally at that, for doing nothing more than upholding their faith more tragic than someone dying of illness? But we know that the tragedy of the Martyrs *was* the foundation of the conversion of many, and we continue to commemorate and celebrate their heroism, even with evangelistic intent.

But weren't the martyrs mourned in a natural and healthy way? It seems to me, from my reading, that they were.

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Fr. Pishoy Kamel, a recently departed priest of our Church who is unanimously considered to have been a living Saint, died of cancer; in his final days he came to regard his cancer as the "sickness of heaven". In the manner of the Saints, he praised and glorified God amidst his suffering till his last breath; he regarded his illness a final token from God--a final opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ and receive greater glory in the Heavenly Kingdom. His example was appealed to by a certain deacon's spiritual adviser when I accompanied the latter on one of his hospital visits to the deacon. This deacon is and has always been a very holy and dedicated servant of the church and his spiritual adviser, whilst saddened by the sight of his spiritual son having lost his hair and looking weaker than ever due to the chemo, nevertheless saw it fit to raise this deacon’s focus in relation to his condition beyond the level of mere tragedy towards a higher, spiritual level--to acknowledge it as an opportunity for him to earn greater glory in heaven. The deacon didn't merely *suffer* from cancer; he *earned* the sickness of heaven.

Such an attitude in the face of death is equisite Gracefilled bravery. I hope and pray that when my time comes I might do the event some justice.  Still, I hope that my loved ones feel free to mourn while taking in the spiritual backdrop. 

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I realise how difficult, emotionally and psychologically, it is to adopt this higher level of thinking amidst tragedy—

I’m not sure that it is all that difficult given God’s grace. A balanced approach to life and death is surely the correct course for the Christian? But again it misses my point; that emotionally and psychologically there should be a balanced approach to tragedy; not the massacre of human grief. Such glib responses regarding tragedy as I have heard do more harm than good, I believe. In the hope to save one; they can create stumbling blocks for others. Perhaps our only response at times like this should be a heart-felt “Lord, have mercy!”

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I hope my intent has been made clear and that I have not offended or hurt you.

No, not at all! I thank you for commenting on my posts! You have given me more food for thought and I’m grateful that you took the time to share your opinion. That is what this forum is for.

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Glory to God for the wonderful outcome of your son's situation. I entreat the Saints to pray that God be with your nephew and all those who suffer with him; that He heal him for the glory of His Name, and that He make His power and glory known amidst such circumstances, for the peace, comfort, strength and salvation of all.

Amen and Amen. It’s a hard time for us all; I'm not going to pretend that it is otherwise.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on November 17, 2009, 08:02:00 PM
I ended up finding the Psalter and the many prayers for the dead it in, all on my own.

This is very sound advice, and most importantly I think its common ground which all branches of Christianity can agree on. Reading the Psalms is very comforting, in all different times of trouble.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 18, 2009, 05:29:35 AM
The discussion seems to have forked into three different threads:

1) Why are Evangelicals unfeeling?
2) What is a healthy Christian attitude to suffering?
3) Why do Evangelicals attempt to proselytise at times of suffering?

1) You Orthodox may be angered, saddened, grieved or just plain mystified by the unreal response to others’ suffering which you sometimes encounter from Evangelicals – a denial of the human side of the tragedy. We Evangelicals have to live with it when we encounter it! You are right – it is a strand of Evangelical piety. But why?

First let me say that not all Evangelicals are like that, and there are pastors and Christians who are deep, sensitive, warm, strong and compassionate at times when others suffer.

Secondly, let me say that I believe this lack of appropriate response to suffering is a fairly recent development, not an essential integral part of Evangelical spirituality. I do not think I have found it in the writings, biographical or otherwise, of the 17th and 18th centuries, but it seems to me to begin to creep in in the second half of the 19th century, and you get choruses asserting things like, “And now I am happy all the day.” (The original hymn was by Isaac Watts, but the chorus was, I believe, added many years later in the Moody and Sankey era). I never choose it when preaching, and I refuse to sing it when someone else does: it is unreal.

It seems that the idea has spread that a Christian should always be joyful, and that if he is not it somehow reflects badly on God or on Evangelicalism. Now of course “the joy of the Lord is your strength” and during my three years of worst personal suffering, 2002-5, it is true that I never lost “the joy of the Lord” like a sort of underground stream. That was graciously permanent, but the suffering was not lessened. People wrongly equate “joy” (a spiritual fruit) with “happiness” (a natural emotion deriving from good circumstances), and they think they should be happy all the time, otherwise it discredits God. So they deny suffering and pretend to themselves and others that they are permanently happy.

They also believe they should live permanently in a high state of faith, standing on the belief (quite right) that God works for good in all things. But the “faith” whereby they attempt to espy the hoped-for happy outcome can make them recoil from the very deep and real sufferings through which people are going. Again, it is living in a sort of denial.

Living in denial concerning the presence, strength and reality of suffering renders them insensitive to the sufferings of others, and their clumsy attempts at counsel come over as unreal, detached from reality, and unhelpful. Their words lack insight and compassion.

Then there is the fact that many of them have probably never suffered. We live in a cosseted society – wealth, prosperity, good medical care, plentiful nutritious diet, long life. Many people, Christian or not, have never yet experienced real trouble, and are unfitted to handle it when they encounter it in others.

Lastly, we also live in a society which denies suffering, or at least denies death. Instead of grieving deeply and painfully over the death of loved ones, people hold funerals in which poems are read out asserting fatuous nonsense like death being nothing at all, only going into the next room. Then they hive off to the pub or someone’s home and start chatting, gossiping, flirting, drinking, and putting the starkness of death and indeed of their own mortality out of their minds.

Evangelicals live in this luxurious, death-denying society and are (or can be), alas, affected by its Zeitgeist.

2) Concerning a more wholesome response to suffering, I need add nothing to the excellent posts from our Coptic brother.

3) Why do Evangelicals cash in on others’ times of suffering in order to proselytise?

First, let me say we do not see it as proselytising, and a less pejorative word would be appropriate. We give not a fig for what church a man belongs to, when he is happy, or suffering, or dying; we only care that he should put his faith in Christ and, by repentance and faith, be able (if alive and suffering) to lay hold of the presence and help which comes from the Lord, and (if dying) be able to go in peace to meet his Maker. Whether a person is Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist or whatever, we desire to do our best to be sure he lives and dies in personal faith in God’s Son. We do not see it as proselytising.

Why do we do it at times of suffering and death? Despite the denial of unpleasantness and mortality which pervades society, many people will briefly turn their minds to the possibility of God, heaven, judgement, hell, eternal life and like matters when starkly brought into contact with it – either by their own suffering, or perhaps the reality of death when a loved one dies – and it can be the only time their minds and hearts allow any openness to such important questions and matters. A funeral, for example, is often more or less the only time many people will go into a church, or contact a minister. Of course any attempt at evangelism at such times should, nay must, be undertaken in a spirit of sensitivity and compassion.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on November 18, 2009, 05:47:28 AM
The discussion seems to have forked into three different threads:

1) Why are Evangelicals unfeeling?
2) What is a healthy Christian attitude to suffering?
3) Why do Evangelicals attempt to proselytise at times of suffering?

1) You Orthodox may be angered, saddened, grieved or just plain mystified by the unreal response to others’ suffering which you sometimes encounter from Evangelicals – a denial of the human side of the tragedy. We Evangelicals have to live with it when we encounter it! You are right – it is a strand of Evangelical piety. But why?

First let me say that not all Evangelicals are like that, and there are pastors and Christians who are deep, sensitive, warm, strong and compassionate at times when others suffer.

Secondly, let me say that I believe this lack of appropriate response to suffering is a fairly recent development, not an essential integral part of Evangelical spirituality. I do not think I have found it in the writings, biographical or otherwise, of the 17th and 18th centuries, but it seems to me to begin to creep in in the second half of the 19th century, and you get choruses asserting things like, “And now I am happy all the day.” (The original hymn was by Isaac Watts, but the chorus was, I believe, added many years later in the Moody and Sankey era). I never choose it when preaching, and I refuse to sing it when someone else does: it is unreal.

It seems that the idea has spread that a Christian should always be joyful, and that if he is not it somehow reflects badly on God or on Evangelicalism. Now of course “the joy of the Lord is your strength” and during my three years of worst personal suffering, 2002-5, it is true that I never lost “the joy of the Lord” like a sort of underground stream. That was graciously permanent, but the suffering was not lessened. People wrongly equate “joy” (a spiritual fruit) with “happiness” (a natural emotion deriving from good circumstances), and they think they should be happy all the time, otherwise it discredits God. So they deny suffering and pretend to themselves and others that they are permanently happy.

They also believe they should live permanently in a high state of faith, standing on the belief (quite right) that God works for good in all things. But the “faith” whereby they attempt to espy the hoped-for happy outcome can make them recoil from the very deep and real sufferings through which people are going. Again, it is living in a sort of denial.

Living in denial concerning the presence, strength and reality of suffering renders them insensitive to the sufferings of others, and their clumsy attempts at counsel come over as unreal, detached from reality, and unhelpful. Their words lack insight and compassion.

Then there is the fact that many of them have probably never suffered. We live in a cosseted society – wealth, prosperity, good medical care, plentiful nutritious diet, long life. Many people, Christian or not, have never yet experienced real trouble, and are unfitted to handle it when they encounter it in others.

Lastly, we also live in a society which denies suffering, or at least denies death. Instead of grieving deeply and painfully over the death of loved ones, people hold funerals in which poems are read out asserting fatuous nonsense like death being nothing at all, only going into the next room. Then they hive off to the pub or someone’s home and start chatting, gossiping, flirting, drinking, and putting the starkness of death and indeed of their own mortality out of their minds.

Evangelicals live in this luxurious, death-denying society and are (or can be), alas, affected by its Zeitgeist.

2) Concerning a more wholesome response to suffering, I need add nothing to the excellent posts from our Coptic brother.

3) Why do Evangelicals cash in on others’ times of suffering in order to proselytise?

First, let me say we do not see it as proselytising, and a less pejorative word would be appropriate. We give not a fig for what church a man belongs to, when he is happy, or suffering, or dying; we only care that he should put his faith in Christ and, by repentance and faith, be able (if alive and suffering) to lay hold of the presence and help which comes from the Lord, and (if dying) be able to go in peace to meet his Maker. Whether a person is Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist or whatever, we desire to do our best to be sure he lives and dies in personal faith in God’s Son. We do not see it as proselytising.

Why do we do it at times of suffering and death? Despite the denial of unpleasantness and mortality which pervades society, many people will briefly turn their minds to the possibility of God, heaven, judgement, hell, eternal life and like matters when starkly brought into contact with it – either by their own suffering, or perhaps the reality of death when a loved one dies – and it can be the only time their minds and hearts allow any openness to such important questions and matters. A funeral, for example, is often more or less the only time many people will go into a church, or contact a minister. Of course any attempt at evangelism at such times should, nay must, be undertaken in a spirit of sensitivity and compassion.

David,

You make some points that I should have thought of myself and I would like to give a proper response, but it will have to wait until I get back from NZ, in a few days. (Lord, Willing!) I have to be up at 3 in the morning to catch an early flight and I'm just about to call it a night. 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 18, 2009, 10:43:56 AM
3) Why do Evangelicals cash in on others’ times of suffering in order to proselytise?

First, let me say we do not see it as proselytising, and a less pejorative word would be appropriate. We give not a fig for what church a man belongs to, when he is happy, or suffering, or dying; we only care that he should put his faith in Christ and, by repentance and faith, be able (if alive and suffering) to lay hold of the presence and help which comes from the Lord, and (if dying) be able to go in peace to meet his Maker. Whether a person is Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist or whatever, we desire to do our best to be sure he lives and dies in personal faith in God’s Son. We do not see it as proselytising.

An excellent and thoughtful post, on the whole, but I must disagree with the above, if only anecdotally. Having lived in the majority Protestant Evangelical Southern US all my life, it is my experience that Evangelicals most certainly do care what church a man belongs to. Also the only authentic religious experience or authentic saving faith that they recognize or believe is valid is one that fulfills their particular requirements. (Case in point: in the third grade, Angela Morris told me that I was going to hell because I was baptized as an infant and thus wasn't "saved." Of course I cried all the way home from school. This, by the way, is not an uncommon experience in my neck of the woods. People seem to take a perverse delight in informing others that they are not saved.)

I believe that it is indeed proselytizing (and worse, arrogant, unfeeling and downright insensitive) to assume that we know the state of someone's soul and their relationship with Christ. Why not use the time with them to assure them of God's infinite love and mercy, His desire to welcome them home, rather than exhorting them to say the so-called sinner's prayer and fulfill the Evangelical requirements for salvation?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 18, 2009, 11:20:42 AM
Angela Morris told me that I was going to hell because I was baptized as an infant and thus wasn't "saved."

I've no idea who Angela Morris is, but if she was a fellow student with you at the time, maybe her understanding was somewhat inchoate itself and ought not to be taken as expressing a usual Baptist belief.

There is a group who are a distant offshoot of the Baptists, often called Campbellites over here, I believe, or "The Church of Christ" (a different group from one of the same name in the USA, I'm told), and they do hold that baptism is essential to salvation. They are usually regarded as heretics for that very reason, and certainly not Evangelicals.

Most Evangelical Baptists and Evangelical paedobaptists over here work happily together. Is it not so in the USA?

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I believe that it is ... arrogant... to assume that we know the state of someone's soul and their relationship with Christ.

It depends. There are obviously people who fit Paul's descriptions of those who will not inherit eternal life, as listed thunderously in his epistles. They gladly and continuously live openly lives of godlessness and sin with no remorse or compunction. They must be exhorted to repent. I am sure our Catholic friends agree with that, for I am currently reading a biography of the Curé d'Ars produced by the Catholic Book Club: he was hot on repentance. There are others who are clearly filled with adoration and love towards Christ. I think in those categories we can presume to know their state of grace without arrogance.

But I concede readily that there are many in between, concerning whom we cannot know. I reckon that those who seek to ensure they do live and die in faith (or as you have it, who proselytise them) are not always presuming to know, but are seeking to ensure that they really are brought into the Lord's flock. They should of course do it sensitively, but I hope their motive is nonetheless good, being the safety in Christ of the person they are speaking with.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 18, 2009, 11:32:59 AM
...ought not to be taken as expressing a usual Baptist belief.
Nope. As I said before, it's a pretty common attitude (if you say so, a misunderstanding of usual Baptist belief) in these parts. That was only my first and most traumatic encounter with this attitude.  I have been told by various Evangelicals throughout my life that unless I follow their prescriptions and fulfill their particular requirements, I had better invest in some asbestos underwear.

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Most Evangelical Baptists and Evangelical paedobaptists over here work happily together. Is it not so in the USA?
Absolutely not. As I pointed out before, the Evangelical (or as a friend of mine refers to them, "Baptifundigelicals") belief is that if you don't do things their way, and have their kind of religious experience, baptism, beliefs, relationship with Christ (as they define all this) or go to one of their churches, you are going to end up you-know-where (and serves you right for being a sinner and unbeliever.)

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I believe that it is ... arrogant... to assume that we know the state of someone's soul and their relationship with Christ.

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I think in those categories we can presume to know their state of grace without arrogance.

Really? You're that good? You are can with confidence, know the human heart and someone's eventual eternal destination?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on November 18, 2009, 11:46:29 AM
There is a group who are a distant offshoot of the Baptists, often called Campbellites over here, I believe, or "The Church of Christ" (a different group from one of the same name in the USA, I'm told), and they do hold that baptism is essential to salvation. They are usually regarded as heretics for that very reason, and certainly not Evangelicals.

Most Evangelical Baptists and Evangelical paedobaptists over here work happily together. Is it not so in the USA?

Unfortunately it is not. Based on your past posts, I feel like the Baptists over here are a completely different breed than the Baptists over there.

Over here Evangelicals are quite concerned with which church you attend. I recall one friend's mother who was Methodist being quite upset when her daughter started attending a Baptist Church. The daughter now prays for the salvation of the mother, and the mother for the daughter. Both of them desiring the other to be "saved."  ::)

Also, when I was attending the Baptist Church, my pastor gave many sermons on how infant baptism was invalid, and that if one had been baptised as an infant, they had to be re-baptized. (Being raised in the Dutch Reformed Church and "sprinkled" as an infant, the Pastor himself was re-baptized.)

So although katherineofdixie's post may have recalled a childhood experience, her friend's understanding of baptism was not a youth's mis-understanding, but a belief that is spread within the Evangelical community.

While you and I may not doubt each other's faith and love in Christ, for some (not all) in the Evangelical community, if you do not belong to their particular brand of Christianity (some will take it down to their particular church building/pastor's following) they believe you are within danger of experiencing the fires of hell.

I think that's why its important to find common ground that we can all come around during times of grief; Liz's suggestion of the Psalms being an excellent one.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on November 18, 2009, 01:05:15 PM
Any Christian that is OK with death needs to pick up that Bible they are thumping.  Death came into this world because of sin, and it is unnatural.  Death is such a tragedy that Christ actually came and suffered death himself to free us from it.

This just made me remember something... I have an Orthodox friend who was confronted with an Evangelical who told him he shouldn't cry at his loved one's passing because it's all good with God.  At that point he looked the presumptuous Evangelical in the eye and said, "Christ cried at the death of his friend, Lazarus.  If He cried over death, why shouldn't I?"
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 18, 2009, 01:37:19 PM
Based on your past posts, I feel like the Baptists over here are a completely different breed than the Baptists over there.

I get the same impression. It's interesting to observe what happens to some American Evangelicals when they serve long-term in England or Albania. They start doing things like drinking alcohol and working together with 'breeds' like us. Reading your posts, and meeting some American Baptists or Pentecostals, I sometimes think that if I were in your country I would feel distinctly out of place among many of my fellow Evangelicals, and would probably not be accepted among them.
 :(

Quote
Also, when I was attending the Baptist Church, my pastor gave many sermons on how infant baptism was invalid, and that if one had been baptised as an infant, they had to be re-baptized.

Yes, that is normal (I mean the new baptism, not the giving of many sermons on the theme). I dare say you would do the same to one of us who transferred to Orthodoxy. I dare say I myself have baptised more than one who was baptised as an infant, and would do so again of course. That's in the nature of your and our beliefs regarding baptism: but it ought never to lead to animosity between different real Christians.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on November 18, 2009, 03:05:13 PM
I must agree with those who have said that Evangelicals generally expect that in order to be "saved" (i.e. go to heaven if you happen to drop dead in the next ten seconds) you must have said the "sinner's prayer" and agree with the little tract "Four Spiritual Laws". They may agree on some sort of intellectual level that there may be some sort of other option, but it is always suspect. Evangelicals around here - certainly in my community - include Baptists, Methodist heritage, Pentecostals, and more. Unlike in some parts of the US as it appears from this thread, denominational lines are somewhat blurred - it's more a matter of slightly different flavours of the same thing. Any who are somewhat exclusive are seen as odd in some way.

Now, before I appear to be bashing any group, let it be known that I still maintain good relationships with friends in my former church. Even my wife has not chosen to become Orthodox, so I'm reasonably well-informed about those Christians who label themselves as Evangelical.

Now that I'm out of that church, I'm seeing more and more how much Evangelicals seem to focus on death. The usual opener for any attempt at proselytizing is "If you were to die tonight, what would become of your soul?" Since I do attend Evangelical services on occasion (with my priest's blessing in order to maintain some degree of family stability) I've noticed that at least half the songs that are sung are all about Jesus on the cross. It's all about how He died for me. Since being Orthodox I've come to a greater appreciation of the Incarnation - that Jesus comes to me, that it's his life that opens up a relationship with him. Evangelicals generally do a good job of teaching the divinity of Christ, but fall short of teaching about His humanity, in spite of intellectual assent to that doctrine.

I guess the subject for this thread doesn't quite fit me. It probably should read "I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - guess I thought I used to, but never will again!"
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 18, 2009, 03:31:05 PM
Quote from: David Young link=topic=24376.msg376357#msg376357
Yes, that is normal (I mean the new baptism, not the giving of many sermons on the theme). I dare say you would do the same to one of us who transferred to Orthodoxy.
Actually, not. Although people have different opinions, if you had received a Trinitarian baptism, no matter what your age, you would not be re-baptized in the Orthodox Church. You would be anointed and sealed with Holy Chrism, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Quote
I dare say I myself have baptised more than one who was baptised as an infant, and would do so again of course. That's in the nature of your and our beliefs regarding baptism: but it ought never to lead to animosity between different real Christians.

And therein lies the whole point. According to Evangelicals, anyone who was baptized as an infant, or who did not say the sinner's prayer or who did not have a particular kind of religious experience or hold Evangelical beliefs or go to a particular kind of church is not a Real Christian[tm].
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on November 18, 2009, 03:31:25 PM
Guys, this thread is beginning to remind me about the old joke about conjugating the verb 'to be resolute'. It starts, 'I am firm; you are obstinate; he/she is pig-headed'.

The same could be said about proselytising.

I share the love of God; you inflict your opinion upon others; he/she promulgates heresy.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 18, 2009, 03:52:53 PM
Guys, this thread is beginning to remind me about the old joke about conjugating the verb 'to be resolute'. It starts, 'I am firm; you are obstinate; he/she is pig-headed'.

The same could be said about proselytising.

I share the love of God; you inflict your opinion upon others; he/she promulgates heresy.

With respect, I think it may be difficult for you and David to realize how truly toxic (some) Evangelical attitudes, especially here in the good ole Southern US, can be, since the English Baptists appear to be a different kettle of fish altogether. I have actually attended funerals where the pastor preached a hellfire and damnation sermon, asking us if we died right now, would we go to heaven, with nary a word about the deceased or the mercy and love of God and the hope of the Resurrection.
I have been told to my face that (and remember I am a former Protestant - though not Baptist and/or Evangelical) on more occasions than I care to remember that I am not a Real Christian[tm] and that I was going to hell. It may be a regional thing but people hereabouts have no compunction about coming up to total strangers and asking if they are saved. God help you if you give the wrong answer!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on November 18, 2009, 03:55:00 PM
Just to put in some food for thought - I'll give you an example of what I would consider a very Orthodox approach to sickness, death, mourning, and the completion...
May it shed light to those who need it.

My wife recently experienced the loss of her 98 yr. old Grandmother ( a JW by religion ). She lived the last three years or so of her life invalid due to a faulty Hip surgery after her husband passed away unexpectedly due to a Heart Attack. Since her husband had passed her mind began to gradually slip away and even wished for the end to come. She developed nervous tics and some dimensia.
My wife saw all of this and although it was sad, she felt it was acceptably understandable ie: broken heart, ripe old age. When the Grandmother was in her final three days of death all of the family gathered and mourned, expressed their discontent with her suffering and hope that she had found the Lord ( most of them are Evangelical but some are still JW's).
Though my wife, in her grief, was their for the entire time at bedside. She took no breaks, brought an icon of the Mother of God, and prayed for her Grandmother to pass peacefully and unto God, and for her pain to be lessened. When the Grandmother finally reposed, my gentle wife thought to tell the nurses that she wanted to wash and dress her Grandmother instead. So she did.
Later that week, to everyone's astonishment, my wife expressed what she had done. While these people had only expressed in voice their concern for their relative's soul and suffering, my wife had done something (reminiscent of the Myrrh Bearing Women) to express her gratitude, love and grief for her Grandmother.
This was a witness to her family and a way to come to terms with death at the same time, for my wife. She had no intent of it being a witness to the family, only as an expression of Love for her grandmother.  
It is of my opinion that we should all care for each other without a "goal" or intention in mind to expect something from it. This is the greatest witness of God, for He is loving to us in this way (unconditionally).
When I have been close to someone who passes, I hear it alot from my family (evangelicals) that we should not weep for it is a happy moment.
I believe we, if we can not contain our happiness, should go somewhere and rejoice. Allow those who grieve, to grieve and be together to find comfort in mutual grief. Yet we should not assume eachother to react the same way nor to divulge everything to each other...what might be going on inside one's self might not be easy to express, for either party concerned.
In Christ - Germanus
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: scamandrius on November 18, 2009, 04:09:23 PM
What's there to understand about the evangelical mindset?  They don't have a mind (when it comes to theology) and is rooted only in feelings and personal biases.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on November 18, 2009, 04:45:30 PM
oftentimes judgmental attitudes and presupposition.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on November 18, 2009, 04:53:21 PM
Guys, this thread is beginning to remind me about the old joke about conjugating the verb 'to be resolute'. It starts, 'I am firm; you are obstinate; he/she is pig-headed'.

The same could be said about proselytising.

I share the love of God; you inflict your opinion upon others; he/she promulgates heresy.

With respect, I think it may be difficult for you and David to realize how truly toxic (some) Evangelical attitudes, especially here in the good ole Southern US, can be, since the English Baptists appear to be a different kettle of fish altogether. I have actually attended funerals where the pastor preached a hellfire and damnation sermon, asking us if we died right now, would we go to heaven, with nary a word about the deceased or the mercy and love of God and the hope of the Resurrection.
I have been told to my face that (and remember I am a former Protestant - though not Baptist and/or Evangelical) on more occasions than I care to remember that I am not a Real Christian[tm] and that I was going to hell. It may be a regional thing but people hereabouts have no compunction about coming up to total strangers and asking if they are saved. God help you if you give the wrong answer!

I do sympathize, Katherine. We see a little of it here, but from what I've read it's much worse over there. Sorry if my levity sounded like unconcern.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 18, 2009, 05:27:59 PM
Evangelical attitudes, especially here in the good ole Southern US... English Baptists appear to be a different kettle of fish

Interestingly, the impression imposes itself in reverse as well. Reading some - not all - of the posts on many of these threads, I get a strong impression that many Orthodox people in America are "a different kettle of fish" from many Orthodox in Albania and Kosova/Old Serbia.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 18, 2009, 05:37:43 PM
[quote author=katherineofdixie link=topic=24376.msg376389#msg376389 many Orthodox people in America are "a different kettle of fish" from many Orthodox in Albania and Kosova/Old Serbia.

Just a guess, but perhaps the fact that we in the US have always been able to practice our religion freely, and have not suffered under a government that was actively trying to oppress and suppress believers and their religion "by any means necessary" might have something to do with a difference in attitude? Allowing for different cultures, too, of course.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: augustin717 on November 18, 2009, 05:47:30 PM

Quote
Interestingly, the impression imposes itself in reverse as well. Reading some - not all - of the posts on many of these threads, I get a strong impression that many Orthodox people in America are "a different kettle of fish" from many Orthodox in Albania and Kosova/Old Serbia.
My impression, as well. There is something very different about Orthodoxy i much of the New World.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on November 18, 2009, 06:12:09 PM

Quote
Interestingly, the impression imposes itself in reverse as well. Reading some - not all - of the posts on many of these threads, I get a strong impression that many Orthodox people in America are "a different kettle of fish" from many Orthodox in Albania and Kosova/Old Serbia.
My impression, as well. There is something very different about Orthodoxy i much of the New World.
please explain.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 18, 2009, 06:42:02 PM
perhaps the fact that we ... have not suffered under a government that was actively trying to oppress and suppress believers and their religion "by any means necessary" might have something to do with a difference in attitude?

Regarding Albania, yes; but not Serbia, where the sense of national identity and being Orthodox are very closely and deeply woven together.

My guess would focus more on the fact that in the USA (and Britain) you make a personal decision to become Orthodox because you are persuaded of the arguments for its being the true Faith and Church, whereas in Serbia it is an integral part of the culture and does not require that same step of obedience to personal conviction. But as you say, "just a guess".

In the USA it costs you something to be Orthodox; in Serbia it costs you a great deal not to be.

I think much of this is true of Greece too - GreekChef would know - but I cannot say firsthand, as my visits to Greece 1981-2009 have been either for holiday, or when religious have been amongst Evangelicals and Pentecostals, whom I have found to be warm, loving and hospitable people, which has contributed significantly to my love of that beautiful country.

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on November 18, 2009, 07:20:26 PM
perhaps the fact that we ... have not suffered under a government that was actively trying to oppress and suppress believers and their religion "by any means necessary" might have something to do with a difference in attitude?

Regarding Albania, yes; but not Serbia, where the sense of national identity and being Orthodox are very closely and deeply woven together.

My guess would focus more on the fact that in the USA (and Britain) you make a personal decision to become Orthodox because you are persuaded of the arguments for its being the true Faith and Church, whereas in Serbia it is an integral part of the culture and does not require that same step of obedience to personal conviction. But as you say, "just a guess".

In the USA it costs you something to be Orthodox; in Serbia it costs you a great deal not to be.

I think much of this is true of Greece too - GreekChef would know - but I cannot say firsthand, as my visits to Greece 1981-2009 have been either for holiday, or when religious have been amongst Evangelicals and Pentecostals, whom I have found to be warm, loving and hospitable people, which has contributed significantly to my love of that beautiful country.

I think there is some truth to this. Europe as a whole (Eastern and Western) has taken her Christian heritage for granted, and so I think there is less of a "zeal" to follow Christ. I think this is why you are seeing the spread of Islam throughout Europe. American religion on the whole is on a decline, and if we are not careful, we too shall see our Christian heritage threatened.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: augustin717 on November 18, 2009, 07:35:54 PM

Quote
Interestingly, the impression imposes itself in reverse as well. Reading some - not all - of the posts on many of these threads, I get a strong impression that many Orthodox people in America are "a different kettle of fish" from many Orthodox in Albania and Kosova/Old Serbia.
My impression, as well. There is something very different about Orthodoxy i much of the New World.
please explain.

Like, for instnce, an amount of self-consciousness about doing "Orthodox" stuff in an "Orthodox" way etc, that you wouldn't find in the Old World.
Actually, contrary to popular belief in Romania, at least, priests would talk, in churches, more about being a Christian than about being "Orthodox"
Here in America I hear a lot of " Unlike Protestants/Catholics we, the Orthodox should do this and that..."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 19, 2009, 04:11:07 AM
in Romania, at least, priests would talk, in churches, more about being a Christian than about being "Orthodox"

A question and a comment from this post and then the wider thread:

1) Romania (the above quote): What influence has "the Army of the Lord" had in Romanian Orthodoxy?

2) I joined the forum in order to learn more about Orthodoxy, but I seem to be getting a 'bonus' - learning a good deal more about American Evangelicalism as well!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 19, 2009, 10:21:16 AM
Regarding Albania, yes; but not Serbia, where the sense of national identity and being Orthodox are very closely and deeply woven together.

My guess would focus more on the fact that in the USA (and Britain) you make a personal decision to become Orthodox because you are persuaded of the arguments for its being the true Faith and Church, whereas in Serbia it is an integral part of the culture and does not require that same step of obedience to personal conviction. But as you say, "just a guess".

In the USA it costs you something to be Orthodox; in Serbia it costs you a great deal not to be.


According to wiki, it cost some Serbs a great deal to be Orthodox: "...the Serbian Orthodox Church suffered severely from persecutions by the occupying powers and the rabidly anti-Serbian Ustaše regime of Independent State of Croatia, which sought to create a "Croatian Orthodox Church" which Orthodox Serbs were forced to join. Many Serbs were killed during the war; bishops and priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church were singled out for persecution, and many Orthodox churches were damaged or destroyed.

After the war the Church was suppressed by the Socialist government of Josip Broz Tito, which viewed it with suspicion due to the Church's links with the exiled Serbian monarchy and the nationalist Chetnik movement. Along with other ecclesiastical institutions of all denominations, the Church was subject to strict controls by the Yugoslav state, which prohibited the teaching of religion in schools, confiscated Church property and discouraged religious activity among the population.

The gradual demise of Yugoslav socialism and the rise of rival nationalist movements during the 1980s also led to a marked religious revival throughout Yugoslavia, not least in Serbia."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 19, 2009, 11:25:00 AM
it cost some Serbs a great deal to be Orthodox... during the 1980s also led to a marked religious revival throughout Yugoslavia, not least in Serbia.

Yes. What I meant was that it costs Americans something to become (or zealously remain) Orthodox because it marks you out as different. Croatian nationalism and political Communism were alien systems which for a time wielded power over some or all Serbs, but surely that only drove them deeper into loyalty and identity with their "Pravoslavna Crkva", sometimes called the Serb religion. Any philosophy or religion, even atheism, which is oppressed by a powerful élite will attract hardship for its adherents. That's not the same as an American Protestant converting to Orthodoxy or an Orthodox Serb becoming Baptist. That's the kind of cost I was referring to: making a person different from the majority, not making him more solidly identified with it.

I guess what I wrote was somewhat elliptical. Sorry.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: augustin717 on November 19, 2009, 11:28:40 AM
in Romania, at least, priests would talk, in churches, more about being a Christian than about being "Orthodox"

A question and a comment from this post and then the wider thread:

1) Romania (the above quote): What influence has "the Army of the Lord" had in Romanian Orthodoxy?

2) I joined the forum in order to learn more about Orthodoxy, but I seem to be getting a 'bonus' - learning a good deal more about American Evangelicalism as well!
I would say that the most obvious influence "Oastea Domnului/The Lord's Army" has had on the Romanian Orthodoxy, at large, is the dissemination of their songs, mostly composed by Traian Dorz. I think one would hardly encounter a parish no, where some of their songs are not sung, either at Liturgy, at the moment of Communion,after the Liturgy or after Vespers.
I myself kind of grew up with Traian Dorz' songs and will always love many of them, especially the Paschal ones.
In some places thou, some unoficial factions of the Lord's Army have separated from the Orthodox Church and have been instrumental in leading people away from the Church into the sects.
But overall, I would say that they did a good work at presenting Orthodoxy in a simple manner to the peasantry, especially and alphabetizing people into the rudimens of the Christian faith.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on November 25, 2009, 05:58:33 AM
I think it was on this thread that we commented on the strange phenomenon of British people speaking or singing in a fake American accent when it's about religion. What do you think of this comment I got by e-mail this morning from an Albanian Evangelical? -

Albania is heavily influenced by the daft Americans ... And the church too (evangelicalism) is even more heavily influenced by its mostly American missionaries. In fact, so much so, that in many churches Albanians speak in English even among one-another, simply because they are taking to imitate their American "idols" only too monkeyishly.

(Forgive the word 'daft': I merely quote.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on November 25, 2009, 10:58:53 AM
I think it was on this thread that we commented on the strange phenomenon of British people speaking or singing in a fake American accent when it's about religion. What do you think of this comment I got by e-mail this morning from an Albanian Evangelical? -

Albania is heavily influenced by the daft Americans ... And the church too (evangelicalism) is even more heavily influenced by its mostly American missionaries. In fact, so much so, that in many churches Albanians speak in English even among one-another, simply because they are taking to imitate their American "idols" only too monkeyishly.

(Forgive the word 'daft': I merely quote.)


Reason #49582 why American Evangelicals should just stay home.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on November 25, 2009, 11:02:11 AM
I think it was on this thread that we commented on the strange phenomenon of British people speaking or singing in a fake American accent when it's about religion. What do you think of this comment I got by e-mail this morning from an Albanian Evangelical? -

Albania is heavily influenced by the daft Americans ... And the church too (evangelicalism) is even more heavily influenced by its mostly American missionaries. In fact, so much so, that in many churches Albanians speak in English even among one-another, simply because they are taking to imitate their American "idols" only too monkeyishly.

(Forgive the word 'daft': I merely quote.)


Reason #49582 why American Evangelicals should just stay home.

LOL!!!! :laugh:
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on November 25, 2009, 05:54:16 PM
^Brevity is the soul of wit (and wisdom).
Well done!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on November 25, 2009, 07:03:41 PM
Evangelical mindset: Get the "word" out regardless of the context or situation.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on November 25, 2009, 09:10:47 PM
In the USA it costs you something to be Orthodox; in Serbia it costs you a great deal not to be.

I'm going to have to agree.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on November 26, 2009, 12:10:46 AM
Here's something I don't understand about the Ev. Mindset...

How can an Ev. Website..source:http://www.alliancenet.org/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID307086_CHID798774_CIID1411364,00.html

Claim to the Ecumenical Councils and still not regard Orthodoxy as the spring from which they draw their water?!
You can't have it both ways you know! The same people at these Ecumenical Councils would have easily excommunicated these guys for starting up their own religions (denominations) if pursued.
Why would Calvinists, Baptists, Lutherans and such even bring up the Ecumenical councils in a declaration?! You can't chop down a tree, and plant a new one in its place without checking for roots!

Quote:
" Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith.

In the course of history words change. In our day this has happened to the word "evangelical." In the past it served as a bond of unity between Christians from a wide diversity of church traditions. Historic evangelicalism was confessional. It embraced the essential truths of Christianity as those were defined by the great ecumenical councils of the church. In addition, evangelicals also shared a common heritage in the "solas" of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation."

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on November 26, 2009, 02:45:19 AM
Claim to the Ecumenical Councils and still not regard Orthodoxy as the spring from which they draw their water?!
You can't have it both ways you know! The same people at these Ecumenical Councils would have easily excommunicated these guys for starting up their own religions (denominations) if pursued.

Don't the Orthodox selectively determine which councils are binding and authoritative in retrospect (for example, ignoring much of the Council of Jerusalem in 1672)?  How is what the evangelicals are doing any different?

Just so we are clear, I'm playing the devil's advocate.  I don't think that they are exactly the same, just an interesting point of consideration.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on November 26, 2009, 02:52:04 PM
Claim to the Ecumenical Councils and still not regard Orthodoxy as the spring from which they draw their water?!
You can't have it both ways you know! The same people at these Ecumenical Councils would have easily excommunicated these guys for starting up their own religions (denominations) if pursued.

Don't the Orthodox selectively determine which councils are binding and authoritative in retrospect (for example, ignoring much of the Council of Jerusalem in 1672)?  How is what the evangelicals are doing any different?

Just so we are clear, I'm playing the devil's advocate.  I don't think that they are exactly the same, just an interesting point of consideration.
The Council of Jerusalem was not one of the 7 - It was not Ecumenical.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on November 26, 2009, 08:38:49 PM
The Council of Jerusalem was not one of the 7 - It was not Ecumenical.

Really?!?  You're going to play that card?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on November 26, 2009, 11:06:46 PM
The Council of Jerusalem was not one of the 7 - It was not Ecumenical.

Really?!?  You're going to play that card?
Alveus, you bring up an interesting point, but yah, that's my thought. And I think Ortyhodoxy has a perogative that the EV. don't. We have the roots, the Fathers, the Tradition - all of which lead the Church to make decisions that are more in step with preservation of the faith. The Ev. Mindset is such that preservation is not their motive. "Hunting and Pecking" is.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on November 27, 2009, 04:19:52 PM
We have the roots, the Fathers, the Tradition - all of which lead the Church to make decisions that are more in step with preservation of the faith. The Ev. Mindset is such that preservation is not their motive. "Hunting and Pecking" is.

I will agree with this, but falling back on the "seven infallible councils" is as much a cop out as anything else, as Orthodox Christians selectively apply the canons of those councils, and they also argue over how many councils are ecumenical.  Some consider certain non-ecumenical councils binding to the whole Church.  There's still a lot of picking and choosing going on, but I also agree that the main difference is that Orthodoxy is in a constant dialogue with the past, trying her best to preserve the Truth once delivered.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 05, 2009, 07:22:09 PM

Reason #49582 why American Evangelicals should just stay home.

Gee this sounds so familiar somehow.   ;D :laugh:

(Miss you, handmaiden!  Can't wait to see you soon!!!)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 05, 2009, 07:29:07 PM
Since this thread is about the American Evangelical mindset, I must say that on our recent trip to Chicago, I was SHOCKED by the number of STUPID evangelical billboards along the highway.  They were everything from anti-abortion to following the ten commandments to a horrendous one about creationism that was SO STUPID that my poor (patient) husband had to listen to me complain (for at least 120 miles) about how it's this kind of crap that makes Christians look like idiots in this country!

Now honestly, how can anyone seriously think that a billboard is going to change someone's mind about abortion, evolution, or following the ten commandments?  I mean really?  I just don't understand that mentality.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 06, 2009, 04:57:39 AM
how can anyone seriously think that a billboard is going to change someone's mind about abortion, evolution, or following the ten commandments?  

Give a few more details about the wording or artwork of the billboards, and I may be able to go some way to explaining it. (Note: I did not say 'justifying' it or 'agreeing with' it.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 09, 2009, 11:55:23 AM
how can anyone seriously think that a billboard is going to change someone's mind about abortion, evolution, or following the ten commandments?  

Give a few more details about the wording or artwork of the billboards, and I may be able to go some way to explaining it. (Note: I did not say 'justifying' it or 'agreeing with' it.)

While I can certainly relate to Presbytera's frustrations (you should see some of the bumper stickers people have on their cars!! "If car is found vacant it's because the rapture has come" Puh-lease! ::)) I think the people who post them have good intentions.

And who knows, maybe a woman driving to get an abortion clinic may think twice if she sees the right billboard with the right message.

I must admit, I do like the Billboards that say "Don't make me come down there!" -God"

They make me chuckle.  :laugh:
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 09, 2009, 11:56:09 AM
(Miss you, handmaiden!  Can't wait to see you soon!!!)

I just saw this today -- miss you too! Only three more weeks!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 09, 2009, 04:34:56 PM
Ugh!

Okay, so I just received an email from a friend of mine who is Baptist asking for prayers for her father who fell and broke his hip and needs surgery. (His name is Fred, may the Lord have mercy on him!)

While I have no problem praying for her father, this is what got me: "Dad is Roman Catholic, please pray that he knows God in his heart."

Now I happen to know her parents go to Mass every week, and are devout in their faith. This last line just urks me to no end! Who is she to judge that God is NOT in his heart?!

Sorry, just had to let off some steam.

Maureen
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 09, 2009, 04:45:07 PM
Ugh!

Okay, so I just received an email from a friend of mine who is Baptist asking for prayers for her father who fell and broke his hip and needs surgery. (His name is Fred, may the Lord have mercy on him!)

While I have no problem praying for her father, this is what got me: "Dad is Roman Catholic, please pray that he knows God in his heart."

Now I happen to know her parents go to Mass every week, and are devout in their faith. This last line just urks me to no end! Who is she to judge that God is NOT in his heart?!

Sorry, just had to let off some steam.

Maureen
Why don't you write a nice letter back, saying you will pray for him for his ailments and pray for her hardness of heart. ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rosehip on December 09, 2009, 04:57:35 PM
Ugh!

Okay, so I just received an email from a friend of mine who is Baptist asking for prayers for her father who fell and broke his hip and needs surgery. (His name is Fred, may the Lord have mercy on him!)

While I have no problem praying for her father, this is what got me: "Dad is Roman Catholic, please pray that he knows God in his heart."

Now I happen to know her parents go to Mass every week, and are devout in their faith. This last line just urks me to no end! Who is she to judge that God is NOT in his heart?!

Sorry, just had to let off some steam.

Maureen

This attitude drives me crazy too. I once invited someone from my former faith to my parish for a service. Afterwards he said to me, "All this is well and good-but as I looked around me, I couldn't help but wonder how many of these people are actually living the life of a true Christian?"  ::)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on December 09, 2009, 07:10:26 PM
Ugh!

Okay, so I just received an email from a friend of mine who is Baptist asking for prayers for her father who fell and broke his hip and needs surgery. (His name is Fred, may the Lord have mercy on him!)

While I have no problem praying for her father, this is what got me: "Dad is Roman Catholic, please pray that he knows God in his heart."

Now I happen to know her parents go to Mass every week, and are devout in their faith. This last line just urks me to no end! Who is she to judge that God is NOT in his heart?!

Sorry, just had to let off some steam.

Maureen

This attitude drives me crazy too. I once invited someone from my former faith to my parish for a service. Afterwards he said to me, "All this is well and good-but as I looked around me, I couldn't help but wonder how many of these people are actually living the life of a true Christian?"  ::)

My Protestant friends and colleagues often ask the same question about their own congregations. I would bet that many of their preachers actually sermonize on this very issue. IMHO, the problem is not their concern with this but the way they express it: instead of asking "how many of these people are trying to live the life of a true Christian" they ask how many are "actually living" a Christian life--a true one to boot. They cannot help themselves because often their view of salvation is skewed; they look at it as a past event rather than a process. I think remarks like this are an outstanding opportunity to gently steer our Protestant brothers toward the True Faith.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 09, 2009, 07:21:27 PM
Well Orthodox don't express their faith during services like most protestants are used to. What they see as visible (signing of the cross, bowing, etc.) seems to them as non-spontaneous (forced?) and overtly ritualistic. For many of them, a "true" sign of the Spirit is raising of the hands, dancing, clapping, or shouting.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on December 09, 2009, 07:22:27 PM
Well Orthodox don't express their faith during services like most protestants are used to. What they see as visible (signing of the cross, bowing, etc.) seems to them as non-spontaneous (forced?) and overtly ritualistic. For many of them, a "true" sign of the Spirit is raising of the hands, dancing, clapping, or shouting.
I KNOW!!!! I just had this conversation with a protestant collegue today.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: DavidH on December 09, 2009, 08:17:50 PM
Well Orthodox don't express their faith during services like most protestants are used to. What they see as visible (signing of the cross, bowing, etc.) seems to them as non-spontaneous (forced?) and overtly ritualistic. For many of them, a "true" sign of the Spirit is raising of the hands, dancing, clapping, or shouting.

Coming from a charismatic background I can attest to this. It is hard for my old charismatic friends to believe I mean as much in signing myself as I did when I used to raise my hands simply because there is not as much overt emotion I suppose.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rosehip on December 09, 2009, 08:43:19 PM
Well Orthodox don't express their faith during services like most protestants are used to. What they see as visible (signing of the cross, bowing, etc.) seems to them as non-spontaneous (forced?) and overtly ritualistic. For many of them, a "true" sign of the Spirit is raising of the hands, dancing, clapping, or shouting.

No, this isn't the type of faith in which I was raised. What the friend meant was, judging by the appearance of the people in church, he wouldn't be surprised if they smoked, drank, fornicated, and, in general, lived very loosely away from church and then just put on a pious show during the service. He meant that he was afraid the service seemed fine (even though it was far more ritualistic than what he was used to), but he was afraid the people didn't actually live a pure and holy way during the week...
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 09, 2009, 08:49:38 PM
Well Orthodox don't express their faith during services like most protestants are used to. What they see as visible (signing of the cross, bowing, etc.) seems to them as non-spontaneous (forced?) and overtly ritualistic. For many of them, a "true" sign of the Spirit is raising of the hands, dancing, clapping, or shouting.

No, this isn't the type of faith in which I was raised. What the friend meant was, judging by the appearance of the people in church, he wouldn't be surprised if they smoked, drank, fornicated, and, in general, lived very loosely away from church and then just put on a pious show during the service. He meant that he was afraid the service seemed fine (even though it was far more ritualistic than what he was used to), but he was afraid the people didn't actually live a pure and holy way during the week...
That's the mindset that drove me far from the church of my youth. (1st Baptist)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: sprtslvr1973 on December 09, 2009, 09:21:20 PM


No, this isn't the type of faith in which I was raised. What the friend meant was, judging by the appearance of the people in church, he wouldn't be surprised if they smoked, drank, fornicated, and, in general, lived very loosely away from church and then just put on a pious show during the service. He meant that he was afraid the service seemed fine (even though it was far more ritualistic than what he was used to), but he was afraid the people didn't actually live a pure and holy way during the week...
[/quote]

I see this mindset quite a bit in individuals and sometimes groups. I would like to ask them first why'd they make such offhanded blanket remark. Second, why should anyone else assume that people like your friend are so pious.

On youtube there is a guying gaining a degree of online fame by recording and posting his street preaching. Now let me say that his targets often do need to hear the Gospel (drunks, people at gay pride ralleys) but others are just un assuming passerby. He seems to think that by yelling at people he is serving the Lord.

Now back to my earlier point. This guy is considerably overweight. However he never seems to consider that he isn't treating his body like a temple.

It is so easy to blame other people. Archbishop made the point once that when we claim to having received God's punishment, we often mean that it's those 'other' people. 911 and Huricane Katrina happened because of those "other" people's sins. Never our own.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rosehip on December 09, 2009, 09:27:35 PM
^^ I agree. My friend's church is a proponent of the idea that the church should be "pure", i.e. membership is only for those who are serious and 'sold out' to Jesus and live a life "victorious" over sin, which means: no smoking, no drinking, no fornication, no adultery,no divorce, no remarriage, and, a good, consistent Christian witness, etc. They simply cannot grasp the concept of a church which practises infant baptism and allows all sorts of loose and immoral people to be part of the membership. They are totally against "nominal" christians.

What I replied to my friend at the time was simply this: but shouldn't our first concern be our own life, our own sins? He did agree, but I knew in my heart he will never change his mindset. Never in a million years.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: sprtslvr1973 on December 09, 2009, 09:33:50 PM
But again how does he knows who is genuine and who is just putting on a show?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 09, 2009, 11:51:14 PM
Well Orthodox don't express their faith during services like most protestants are used to. What they see as visible (signing of the cross, bowing, etc.) seems to them as non-spontaneous (forced?) and overtly ritualistic. For many of them, a "true" sign of the Spirit is raising of the hands, dancing, clapping, or shouting.

No, this isn't the type of faith in which I was raised. What the friend meant was, judging by the appearance of the people in church, he wouldn't be surprised if they smoked, drank, fornicated, and, in general, lived very loosely away from church and then just put on a pious show during the service. He meant that he was afraid the service seemed fine (even though it was far more ritualistic than what he was used to), but he was afraid the people didn't actually live a pure and holy way during the week...

I wonder what gives people this impression?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 09, 2009, 11:54:08 PM
^^ I agree. My friend's church is a proponent of the idea that the church should be "pure", i.e. membership is only for those who are serious and 'sold out' to Jesus and live a life "victorious" over sin, which means: no smoking, no drinking, no fornication, no adultery,no divorce, no remarriage, and, a good, consistent Christian witness, etc.

Wow, sounds like a hall of saints to me!  ::)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rosehip on December 09, 2009, 11:57:53 PM
Quote
I wonder what gives people this impression?


It was a special service. The church was jammed with people, many of whom don't often frequent the church. Oftentimes, alcohol or cigarette smoke can be smelled on people's breath in church, especially when you're standing together very closely. Some of the guys looked "wild" no doubt-long hair etc. I don't think about these things very much anymore, but I grew up in this world, and so I knew exactly to what and how my friend was reacting.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 10, 2009, 10:52:35 AM
her parents go to Mass every week...Who is she to judge that God is NOT in his heart?!
Maureen

Surely praying that someone should know the Lord is not the same thing as assuming they don't. And surely it is entirely possible to attend any church regularly without actually knowing the Lord of the Church. The prayer seems entirely proper - and indeed I often pray (especially when I am going to preach somewhere) that I will be able to be a step in people's coming to know the Lord where that is needed, without assuming beforehand that they do not already. The thought behind the prayer is, "Lord, if they do not already know you..."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 10, 2009, 11:00:35 AM
I would bet that many of their preachers actually sermonize on this very issue.

I plead guilty to that!

Quote
IMHO, the problem is... their view of salvation ... they look at it as a past event rather than a process.

You are near the truth here. The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory. What we Evangelical preachers are (to use your word) 'sermonizing' about is whether people have already experienced the past event. It does not mean we see no need for the other two aspects of salvation (process; finalisation), but you can't have the second two parts without the first. We want to ensure that people have taken that first step, or experienced that first work in their souls. (And of course we want them also to persist in a life of discipleship and sanctification, but those are different themes, which in fact we also sermonize about.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Asteriktos on December 10, 2009, 11:01:23 AM
her parents go to Mass every week...Who is she to judge that God is NOT in his heart?!
Maureen

Surely praying that someone should know the Lord is not the same thing as assuming they don't. And surely it is entirely possible to attend any church regularly without actually knowing the Lord of the Church. The prayer seems entirely proper - and indeed I often pray (especially when I am going to preach somewhere) that I will be able to be a step in people's coming to know the Lord where that is needed, without assuming beforehand that they do not already. The thought behind the prayer is, "Lord, if they do not already know you..."

Here's the issue, though: the person specifically mentioned being Roman Catholic, as though that by itself was a reason to question the person's salvation. Oh no, not... [cue scary music] Catholic! I mean, it would be strange if someone said "Dad is a shoe salesman, please pray that he knows God in his heart" or "Dad likes to garden, please pray that he knows God in his heart."  But when someone says "Dad is Roman Catholic, please pray that he knows God in his heart," it means something, and that something is the implication that the person might not "be saved" (whatever that means) because they are Catholic. That's how I take it anyway, as a former Protestant who spent time in a very anti-Catholic/Orthodox Church.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 10, 2009, 11:04:10 AM
the person specifically mentioned being Roman Catholic, as though that by itself was a reason to question the person's salvation. ... the implication that the person might not "be saved" (whatever that means) because they are Catholic.

I think you are right in this.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 10, 2009, 12:42:46 PM
the person specifically mentioned being Roman Catholic, as though that by itself was a reason to question the person's salvation. ... the implication that the person might not "be saved" (whatever that means) because they are Catholic.

I think you are right in this.

This is EXACTLY what it means, which is why I got so frustrated. My friend has often expressed to me her desire that her parents be "saved" since they "tsk, tsk" are CATHOLIC! (cue dramatic music)

I think it's very sad that this woman, who was raised Catholic, views her parents and the rest of her family, as heathens because they are Catholic. She views them as statue-worshipping idoloters who don't know the Lord.
This is very sad to me.  :(
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rosehip on December 10, 2009, 01:47:30 PM
I have evangelical friends who work in an Orthodox country, and on Pascha they write, "Please pray for these poor Orthodox as they go to their Pascha services, that they may someday know the TRUE meaning of Pascha." This is yet another example of the insulting patronizing tone to which Handmaiden refers.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on December 10, 2009, 01:51:28 PM
I have evangelical friends who work in an Orthodox country, and on Pascha they write, "Please pray for these poor Orthodox as they go to their Pascha services, that they may someday know the TRUE meaning of Pascha." This is yet another example of the insulting patronizing tone to which Handmaiden refers.
Never mind the fact that its plain stupid. The depth of understanding of Pascha found in Eastern Orthodoxy complete dwarfs the shallow understanding found in Evangelical Protestantism.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 10, 2009, 04:32:30 PM
it's very sad that this woman, who was raised Catholic, views her parents and the rest of her family, as heathens because they are Catholic. She views them as statue-worshipping idoloters who don't know the Lord.

Now let us begin by admitting that I know neither your friend, nor the local Catholic congregation in which she was raised (I mean, brought up - I'm starting to sound like an American  :(); so anything I write may for those reasons be very wide of the mark. However, to wade in:

1) There are plenty of Baptist congregations where you could be raised, and grow up thinking, mutatis mutandis, very much like your friend does about Catholics: that they are clinging to a tradition which has lost its inner meaning, and that they do not know the Lord for themselves. As I have written before, there are even Baptist congregations here whose services are held in Welsh, a language which the 'worshippers' do not understand, and so neither the hymns, nor the prayers, nor any other part of the services, hold any meaning for them beyond the repetitious enactment of an inherited tradition. If I (who do not speak Welsh) am ever invited to preach in such a church, I do indeed pray that they may come to know the Lord.

Now is it not possible that there are individual local Catholic congregations who are equally devoted to their traditions, but whose adherents are strangers to the grace of God? Could your friend's childhood church have been such?

2) Does not your friend's attitude resemble the attitude of some of the Orthodox who post on these threads, who used to be Protestants? If it is wrong for your friend, is it not also wrong for them?

3) IS IN THE NEXT POST: COMPUTER'S GONE FUNNY.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 10, 2009, 04:41:48 PM
3) Most of us have very little contact with Catholics, and equally little knowledge of their piety. We see the worst aspects of the religion on the telly and elsewhere, and, as you say, we assume they are worshipping Mary, or a wafer,or praying to statues, or whatever. Back in the early 1970s I taught French for a couple of years at a Catholic school, and sometimes fell into conversation with the nun who was the religion teacher. It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord. Thirty or so years later, at a Christmas when I was alone, I spent some days at Hyning Monastery, and again I felt the Lord was there, and even (sinister music, please, Handmaiden) attended their services. I have also taken to reading mediæval Catholic writings, and have found them full of Christ. I also became friendly with a Baptist minister who is deeply into such writings those of as Thérèse of Lisieux, and have had many hours of fellowship with him. My views changed - and are still changing. But not many Baptists teach in Catholic schools, spend Christmas at a monastery, or read Catholic devotional books. My fellows simply do not know that there are such believers among them. It is perhaps not surprising if your friend is absorbing regrettable ideas.

4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 10, 2009, 04:48:20 PM
It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord.

Quote
4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

If this is any representation of the opinions/beliefs of Baptists, I think I that my Baptist brothers and sisters are in serious need of prayer themselves. I will earnestly pray that they are delivered from their arrogance and spiritual pride.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: FormerReformer on December 10, 2009, 05:16:01 PM
Quote
) Most of us have very little contact with Catholics, and equally little knowledge of their piety. We see the worst aspects of the religion on the telly and elsewhere, and, as you say, we assume they are worshipping Mary, or a wafer,or praying to statues, or whatever.

My first questions about Catholicism came about at the age of three or four whilst my dad was stationed at an (since closed) American air force base in England.  Our chaplains shared offices, so once upon a time I was dragged along on a visit and noticed that there was something very funny about the cross in office: It actually had Christ upon it being crucified.  Upon asking my mother about the significance of this her reply was on the lines of: "Roman Catholics don't preach salvation through Christ, so to them He is always on the cross being crucified."   From that point on my head was full of all sorts of funny ideas regarding Catholics and salvation (the Orthodox were a mystery to us, save that they were too bound up in "tradition").

Regarding a few digs at American Evangelicals and missionary activities- There are two conflicting schools of thought in this area.  The majority tends to view missionary activity as a form of American colonialism- the people should learn "English", dress in slacks and button-ups, and become democratic.  The most successful American missionaries, however, have realized what William Carey and Amy Carmichael figured out over a century ago- we aren't supposed to convert people to the "American" or "British" ways of life, but bring the gospel.  My own grandparents came back from India with a great love and understanding of the Indian culture, and on occasion the women of my family have even been known to break out prayer shawls! 

As a quick aside, while for the most part I prefer my tea or coffee as-is, without sugar or cream, I do occasionally enjoy "Indian tea", a super sweet concoction that is brewed in a mixture of milk and water.  Liquid candy!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 10, 2009, 05:49:12 PM
my Baptist brothers and sisters are in serious need of prayer ... I will earnestly pray

Please do.
 :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on December 10, 2009, 07:25:18 PM
"Roman Catholics don't preach salvation through Christ, so to them He is always on the cross being crucified."   

Geesh!!! Where do people get ideas like this? I am always amazed at what protestants think about Catholics. Growing up as a Catholic, the main message that I was taught was salvation through Christ.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: FormerReformer on December 10, 2009, 08:37:06 PM
Quote
Geesh!!! Where do people get ideas like this?

Meh, if you go back to the time of the Reformation, it might actually have been a true statement (not the reason behind crucifixes, the statement itself).  The illiteracy of many priests, and many popes being far more worried about getting their taxes from the European monarchs than the spiritual administration of the Church, led to a very confused state amongst the laity of the period regarding salvation.  It wasn't til those pesky Protestants started nailing pamphlets to doors that the See of Rome realized there might be something rotten in Denmark (and Saxony, and England, and Switzerland, ad infinitum).

Add to this the fact that the American South has been largely Protestant (and split between Methodist and Baptist til the last hundred years or so, when Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and the like started to move in[I am, of course, kidding.  The Episcopalians have been losing members in the South since before the Revolution]) since they drove the native tribes out.  Catholicism didn't start penetrating into the South until Italians from New York and New Jersey started to retire in Boca, circa 1950, a few years later a wave of Catholic immigration hit Miami when Castro took power in Cuba.  So, living, breathing Catholics are something very new to the Southern Evangelical, most of whom are only armed with vague notions of the disputes of the Roman and Protestant sects.  Northern Evangelicals, being more familiar with Roman Catholics, will often be less noticeably biased (compare the attitudes of Southern white males and Northern white males as regards "black people"), though there often lurks at the back of their mind many unstated prejudices (same comparison).


Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Jetavan on December 10, 2009, 08:49:01 PM
Northern Evangelicals, being more familiar with Roman Catholics, will often be less noticeably biased (compare the attitudes of Southern white males and Northern white males as regards "black people"), though there often lurks at the back of their mind many unstated prejudices (same comparison).
Show'em a black Catholic -- that'll really get their heads spinnin'. ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 10, 2009, 09:16:32 PM
"Roman Catholics don't preach salvation through Christ, so to them He is always on the cross being crucified."   

Geesh!!! Where do people get ideas like this? I am always amazed at what protestants think about Catholics. Growing up as a Catholic, the main message that I was taught was salvation through Christ.

Here is where one big problem is. We approach Christ  from different directions. For Protestants like David it is what you are bringing to the Table. Your beliefs. Your understanding. Your feelings. You you you you you...Therefore, what is actually on the Table is of little impotence. It's YOUR relationship that is the focus. That is why he cant understand how anyone can benefit from a Mass in a language they don't understand... It's what is in your head that counts most, not what is happening before you.

Orthodox and Catholics have the opposite mind set. What is on the Table is of the greatest import to us. It is God who is reaching out to us. Our job is to be prepared and to receive his gifts humbly. That is why we would think it pious for a believer to commune with the Lord in a Church where he does not know the language. David thinks it's a waste of time because the person didn't "Learn' anything.

We have far different ideas of what is salvation. 
 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 10, 2009, 10:06:19 PM
Now let us begin by admitting that I know neither your friend, nor the local Catholic congregation in which she was raised (I mean, brought up - I'm starting to sound like an American

Careful David, you spend too much time here and you may just convert... not to Orthodoxy, but to being an American! LOL :laugh:

(If you feel the need to drop the "u" from "colour" or spell the thrice-holy dunking that St. John the Forerunner did for Christ in the River Jordan with a "z" instead of an "s", you may be an American! lol)


1) There are plenty of Baptist congregations where you could be raised, and grow up thinking, mutatis mutandis, very much like your friend does about Catholics: that they are clinging to a tradition which has lost its inner meaning, and that they do not know the Lord for themselves. As I have written before, there are even Baptist congregations here whose services are held in Welsh, a language which the 'worshippers' do not understand, and so neither the hymns, nor the prayers, nor any other part of the services, hold any meaning for them beyond the repetitious enactment of an inherited tradition. If I (who do not speak Welsh) am ever invited to preach in such a church, I do indeed pray that they may come to know the Lord.

Having been raised in a parish where I did not understand the majority of the Liturgy, I can assure you that one does not need to understand the service to "know the Lord."

Now is it not possible that there are individual local Catholic congregations who are equally devoted to their traditions, but whose adherents are strangers to the grace of God? Could your friend's childhood church have been such?

2) Does not your friend's attitude resemble the attitude of some of the Orthodox who post on these threads, who used to be Protestants? If it is wrong for your friend, is it not also wrong for them?

3) Most of us have very little contact with Catholics, and equally little knowledge of their piety. We see the worst aspects of the religion on the telly and elsewhere, and, as you say, we assume they are worshipping Mary, or a wafer,or praying to statues, or whatever. Back in the early 1970s I taught French for a couple of years at a Catholic school, and sometimes fell into conversation with the nun who was the religion teacher. It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord. Thirty or so years later, at a Christmas when I was alone, I spent some days at Hyning Monastery, and again I felt the Lord was there, and even (sinister music, please, Handmaiden) attended their services. I have also taken to reading mediæval Catholic writings, and have found them full of Christ. I also became friendly with a Baptist minister who is deeply into such writings those of as Thérèse of Lisieux, and have had many hours of fellowship with him. My views changed - and are still changing. But not many Baptists teach in Catholic schools, spend Christmas at a monastery, or read Catholic devotional books. My fellows simply do not know that there are such believers among them. It is perhaps not surprising if your friend is absorbing regrettable ideas.

4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

While all of these are reasonable suggestions, I think the majority of it comes from the particular Baptist Church my friend attends has a tendency to hold 7 week lecture series professing the "evils" of Catholicism, and how they do not know the Lord. (I know, I used to attend said church.)

Why they decide to dedicate so much time on bashing another faith rather than lifting up their own, I don't know.

I think the "take-away" lesson from all of this is that no one should assume judgement on anyone's soul based on a particular faith group they may belong to. For as you said, "only the Lord knows who are his."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 10, 2009, 10:29:44 PM
The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  :o
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 10, 2009, 10:37:29 PM
It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord.

Quote
4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

If this is any representation of the opinions/beliefs of Baptists, I think I that my Baptist brothers and sisters are in serious need of prayer themselves. I will earnestly pray that they are delivered from their arrogance and spiritual pride.

I was raised to believe that Catholics weren't Christians, none of them were "saved", and that they were all going to hell.  :-[
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Jetavan on December 10, 2009, 10:52:25 PM
The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  :o
...or at least outside of the South. 8)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 10, 2009, 11:03:12 PM
The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  :o
...or at least outside of the South. 8)

Well the funny thing was, I was a SB in the Mid-west, so whatever that tells ya...  :P
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: FormerReformer on December 10, 2009, 11:07:23 PM
Quote
Posted by: Jetavan
Insert Quote
Quote from: Ortho_cat on Today at 10:29:44 PM
Quote from: David Young on Today at 11:00:35 AM
The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  Shocked
...or at least outside of the South. Cool

Nope.  I can say from experience that some Independent Baptists hold this same thought process (though apparently if you speak in tongues after saying the prayer you're going to hell  :P ).

And may I say, nay, confess ashamedly that this particular teaching of the Southern Baptists is the one that has done me the greatest harm over the past twelve years?  Continuously falling to sin again and again, but "I'm saved, and my walk with God is the same as it's ever been."  

Beware if your walk with God is the "same as it's ever been."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GabrieltheCelt on December 10, 2009, 11:59:46 PM
Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!
Have you read "Functional and Dysfunctional Christianity" (http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/1885652070.html) by Fr. Philotheos Faros? It actually deals with these very issues and the "neurosis" in a lot of "western" Christianity. If you haven't read it, I have a copy I can give you.

Can I borrow it when Riddikulus is done? ;)  Actually, I just ordered a copy from Holy Cross Bookstore.  I'm really intrigued by the contents and hope I can use them to help with Orthopraxis and phronema.  Thanks for the heads up, George!  :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 11, 2009, 05:51:50 AM
the opinions/beliefs of Baptists... their arrogance and spiritual pride.

It is good and right that you assess our beliefs, even as it is good that I attempt to assess yours (even if some would say that is all too suipapal of me). It is not good that you attempt to assess our hearts. There is, I think, nothing more arrogant about our conviction that our sins are fully forgiven on the ground of our faith in Christ, than in your belief that you are the only true Church. Whilst I readily concede that there are Baptists who are guilty of denominational "arrogance and spiritual pride" because they feel they have the truth, and perhaps a long family line of holding it, and the heritage of the imprisonments, deaths and other sufferings Baptists have undergone for their faith in past generations, similarly I strongly suspect that there are Orthodox who are guilty of exactly the same "arrogance and spiritual pride" because they, their families, or their nation belong to the only true Church and have survived intact the fires of Ottoman and Communist rule.

But there are also Baptists who are humbly grateful to God for granting them an undeserved revelation of his grace in Christ and for implanting faith in their spirits by the Holy Ghost; similarly, I have little doubt there are Orthodox who are humbly grateful to God because they have found Christ in Orthodoxy, and have come to know and love him.

One can hold one's beliefs and experiences in either pride or humility. But surely it is the beliefs we discuss on the forum.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 11, 2009, 06:06:33 AM
he cant understand how anyone can benefit from a Mass in a language they don't understand

That's not quite what I said. Remember that Baptist churches have Communion usually once or twice a month, so most services (of the eight or ten, if there are two a Sunday) will be without the Table. There seems little point in singing the glorious Welsh hymns, which are full of Christ, repentance, faith, strong aspiration etc etc (I know enough Welsh to know that, though I cannot converse in the language)... little point in singing these hymns if you have no idea what the words are saying. Similarly, the sermon is a large chunk of any service - maybe half the time - and there seems little point in attending preaching in a language one does not understand. Prayers are extemporary, so you will not know in advance, as you might in a liturgical church, what will be prayed, and cannot therefore enter into its meaning.

If I were (for example) in Macedonia (sorry, Greeks! - in FYROM) and took Communion at a Macedonian church, I think I would indeed be able to benefit from the Table, even though I speak no Macedonian, because I do know what is happening at Communion services. I was privileged to worship once at the Methodist Church in Bitola/Monastir, and it was a sweet experience, and they even invited me to preach through interpretation, but I do not recall whether we had Communion that Sunday.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 11, 2009, 06:09:40 AM
Say a prayer...done deal.

Such teaching is as alien to us in Britain as it is to you. Possibly more so, as it is a distortion of our beliefs and therefore is being purveyed under our name.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 11, 2009, 10:30:21 AM
It is not good that you attempt to assess our hearts.
Hoist by your own petard, David. For that is exactly what I was referring to - the belief/opinion/assumption of Baptists, according to you, that they know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God, based on the knowledge or assumption that a person belongs to a different faith community or is not Baptist, or has not had a particular kind of religious experience, which Baptists believe is essential to salvation.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 11, 2009, 12:32:08 PM
he cant understand how anyone can benefit from a Mass in a language they don't understand

That's not quite what I said. Remember that Baptist churches have Communion usually once or twice a month, so most services (of the eight or ten, if there are two a Sunday) will be without the Table. There seems little point in singing the glorious Welsh hymns, which are full of Christ, repentance, faith, strong aspiration etc etc (I know enough Welsh to know that, though I cannot converse in the language)... little point in singing these hymns if you have no idea what the words are saying. Similarly, the sermon is a large chunk of any service - maybe half the time - and there seems little point in attending preaching in a language one does not understand. Prayers are extemporary, so you will not know in advance, as you might in a liturgical church, what will be prayed, and cannot therefore enter into its meaning.

If I were (for example) in Macedonia (sorry, Greeks! - in FYROM) and took Communion at a Macedonian church, I think I would indeed be able to benefit from the Table, even though I speak no Macedonian, because I do know what is happening at Communion services. I was privileged to worship once at the Methodist Church in Bitola/Monastir, and it was a sweet experience, and they even invited me to preach through interpretation, but I do not recall whether we had Communion that Sunday.

I guess my central point is that since you regard the Eucharist as symbolic, the focus is on you rather than on it.

As far as Welsh Services, I miss understood you to be referring to a Catholic Mass served in Welsh. One does not have to know the language of the service to fully commune and benefit from it. But yes, if you are speaking of a Protestant Service where the emphasis with on learning something or at least being inspired, you must know the language.

Your emphasis is on individual salvation. What you believe, what you know what you continue to learn. Our emphasis is mystical transformation that brings us into oneness with the community and oneness with God in a concrete sense by  eating his flesh and drinking his blood
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 11, 2009, 01:44:30 PM
Your emphasis is on individual salvation. What you believe, what you know what you continue to learn. Our emphasis is mystical transformation that brings us into oneness with the community and oneness with God in a concrete sense by  eating his flesh and drinking his blood

If I may add to Marc's post, THIS is how Christ's prayer "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" comes to fruition. Through the Eucharist.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on December 11, 2009, 03:53:10 PM
Say a prayer...done deal.
Such teaching is as alien to us in Britain as it is to you. Possibly more so, as it is a distortion of our beliefs and therefore is being purveyed under our name.

That's not what the beliefs are "on the books" or "officially."  There are some brilliant Baptist theologians.  But what Ortho_cat described is the way it usually pans out on the ground.

It's sort of like the differences between Orthodoxy on paper and in the real world!  ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Asteriktos on December 11, 2009, 04:01:21 PM
I remember when I "got saved" in a Wesleyan Holiness church. All I had to do was "walk the Romans road" ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 11, 2009, 09:17:21 PM
Say a prayer...done deal.
Such teaching is as alien to us in Britain as it is to you. Possibly more so, as it is a distortion of our beliefs and therefore is being purveyed under our name.

That's not what the beliefs are "on the books" or "officially."  There are some brilliant Baptist theologians.  But what Ortho_cat described is the way it usually pans out on the ground.

It's sort of like the differences between Orthodoxy on paper and in the real world!  ;)

Shhh...I'm still living on paper, let me enjoy it a while longer! ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 12, 2009, 06:26:43 AM
I remember when I "got saved" in a Wesleyan Holiness church.

I too 'got saved' in a Wesleyan context. Amen.

I ought to explain a little more fully, lest my earlier post be misunderstood. "One prayer and the deal is done" could in fact describe what we do believe and practise, but not (I think) in the way you quote my American brethren as using it, and I have heard in Britain from American lips.

We do, of course, believe that one prayer of repentance and faith uttered by the sinner brings reconciliation with God, the new birth, the forgiveness of all past sin, and the reception of the indwelling Spirit - in short, salvation. In that sense, yes - one prayer and the deal is done. The sinner is saved.

But the only evidence that the prayer was genuine, was understood, truly meant, and offered under the influence of the Spirit of God in true repentance and faith, is that it is followed by a changed life. We are told, after all, that if any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature (or creation), and this will make itself manifest in a developing life of growth in holiness and dedication.

It is all too easy to say a prayer one doesn't really understand or mean, for a number of reasons, including parental or cultural pressure. Such a mouthing of words, whether accompanied with going to the front of a church at an appeal or whatever, or whether offered in any other place and way, is not the prayer which brings eternal life to the soul, once and for all.

We would not, of course, refer to it as "a deal". Rather, it is an undeserved gift, offered by God to the sinner on the basis only of the work of Christ.  Let it rather be expressed "one prayer, and the gift is received", ever assuming that the prayer is a genuine cry to God for mercy and for grace to start anew.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 12, 2009, 10:42:52 AM
Hoist by your own petard, ... Baptists, according to you, ... know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God

Oh dear! I understand a petard is a small bomb. Alas!

But seriously, I think this is verification of the title of this thread "I don't understand the Evangelical mindset" (though I hope not of the conclusion, "never will!" I'll do what I can to help.  :)

I suspect that we each come over to each other as proud and arrogant: we to you for the reason given in your post; you to us for the claim that you are the only true Church, and its converse that we are heretics, schismatics and sons of Judas Iscariot. In reality, if one takes the trouble to understand why Orthodox make that astonishing claim, it makes sense, and one can understand without agreeing. (Of course, it can produce Orthodox pride, but that is another matter.)

Similarly, I think if you can come to understand how we 'tick', you may continue to disagree, but you may at least concede that our thoughts do not arise from pride or arrogance.

For one thing, you only have to look at our hymnbooks, which sort-of function as a liturgy, to see the many many expressions of astonishment along the lines of, How can God possibly love and forgive such a guilty and wretched sinner as me? In itself that ought to give you a clue that something other than pride is operative here.

You often talk about 'mystical' matters, and I may find it hard to put into words, but there is an indefinable something that enables those who are born of God to recognise the 'family relationship', the onesss in Christ, the brotherhood as children of God, which transcends denominational barriers. It is recognising instinctively that "this person knows and loves the same Lord as I do", whether "this person" is Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox.

Of course this Christian instinct, though (I believe) God-given, is not infallible, and of course we sometimes believe someone is 'saved' when he is not, and sometimes think someone isn't when he is. None of us is inerrant. But in general terms, if a person is born of God, there is something about his spirit, his conversation, his awareness of Christ, that marks him out as such.

It has nothing to do with pride or arrogance, but rather with brothers and sisters in Christ normally recognising each other as such. Such may be very wealthy Brits, or very poor Albanian gypsies, or anything else: but the sense of fraternity in Christ is there.

"Why" you might ask "do we not recognise it so often and so easily in Catholics and Orthodox?" Probably partly (as I wrote earlier) because we have little contact with them; but partly because you do not (if I understand aright) encourage assurance of salvation, and therefore you talk about your spiritual experience in different terms from ours, and we misunderstand one another. But this can be, and often is, overcome, when people sit down together and talk face to face, get to know each other, and discover that Christ has been made real to each.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 12, 2009, 11:20:02 AM
Hoist by your own petard, ... Baptists, according to you, ... know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God

Oh dear! I understand a petard is a small bomb. Alas!


It is. The phrase means, 'blown into the air by your own cannon'. But since we speak of heaven, perhaps you have the last laugh?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 14, 2009, 12:12:45 PM
Hoist by your own petard, ... Baptists, according to you, ... know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God

Oh dear! I understand a petard is a small bomb. Alas!

But seriously, I think this is verification of the title of this thread "I don't understand the Evangelical mindset" (though I hope not of the conclusion, "never will!" I'll do what I can to help.  :)

I suspect that we each come over to each other as proud and arrogant: we to you for the reason given in your post; you to us for the claim that you are the only true Church, and its converse that we are heretics, schismatics and sons of Judas Iscariot. In reality, if one takes the trouble to understand why Orthodox make that astonishing claim, it makes sense, and one can understand without agreeing. (Of course, it can produce Orthodox pride, but that is another matter.)

Similarly, I think if you can come to understand how we 'tick', you may continue to disagree, but you may at least concede that our thoughts do not arise from pride or arrogance.

For one thing, you only have to look at our hymnbooks, which sort-of function as a liturgy, to see the many many expressions of astonishment along the lines of, How can God possibly love and forgive such a guilty and wretched sinner as me? In itself that ought to give you a clue that something other than pride is operative here.

You often talk about 'mystical' matters, and I may find it hard to put into words, but there is an indefinable something that enables those who are born of God to recognise the 'family relationship', the onesss in Christ, the brotherhood as children of God, which transcends denominational barriers. It is recognising instinctively that "this person knows and loves the same Lord as I do", whether "this person" is Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox.

Of course this Christian instinct, though (I believe) God-given, is not infallible, and of course we sometimes believe someone is 'saved' when he is not, and sometimes think someone isn't when he is. None of us is inerrant. But in general terms, if a person is born of God, there is something about his spirit, his conversation, his awareness of Christ, that marks him out as such.

It has nothing to do with pride or arrogance, but rather with brothers and sisters in Christ normally recognising each other as such. Such may be very wealthy Brits, or very poor Albanian gypsies, or anything else: but the sense of fraternity in Christ is there.

"Why" you might ask "do we not recognise it so often and so easily in Catholics and Orthodox?" Probably partly (as I wrote earlier) because we have little contact with them; but partly because you do not (if I understand aright) encourage assurance of salvation, and therefore you talk about your spiritual experience in different terms from ours, and we misunderstand one another. But this can be, and often is, overcome, when people sit down together and talk face to face, get to know each other, and discover that Christ has been made real to each.

First of all, as a former Protestant and one who has lived in the mostly-Baptist American South for all of her life, I am fairly well-acquainted with the theology and praxis of at least the Southern Baptist expression of the Baptist faith (though I understand from your posts that the English version is considerably different).

The point that I made about spiritual pride was that Baptists (and many other Protestants of the Evangelical variety) have a tendency to assume that they are the only Real Christians(tm), and that Roman Catholics and Orthodox (and even other Protestants like Episcopalians, Lutherans etc.) are not.

This seems to be because these other faiths are not Baptist and consequently have not had the particular sort of faith experience (for example, the sinner's prayer, "personal relationship with Christ,"- as they define it - and believer's baptism) that would make them Real Christians(tm).

This is the attitude that I object to most strenuously. It would never occur to me to criticize your personal faith or to denigrate your relationship with God or to pray that you will come to know Christ. I will criticize your theology, or your knowledge of history or myriad other subjects, but never your salvation or your relationship with Christ. I would never assume that, simply because you have mistaken beliefs (in my opinion, of course) that you are not and will not be saved.

Baptists, in my personal experience, make this assumption all the time. They assume that because someone has had a different experience of Christ, then that person is not saved.

And that is why I told you that I will pray that they be delivered from their spiritual pride and arrogance.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 14, 2009, 04:10:37 PM
that is why I told you that I will pray that they be delivered from their spiritual pride and arrogance.

I wonder whether, rather than interpreting it as motivated by pride, you might pray that their eyes will be opened to recognise the Christ whom they know in others who also know him, even if it is expressed in different theological jargon?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Tzimis on December 14, 2009, 04:29:58 PM
that is why I told you that I will pray that they be delivered from their spiritual pride and arrogance.

I wonder whether, rather than interpreting it as motivated by pride, you might pray that their eyes will be opened to recognise the Christ whom they know in others who also know him, even if it is expressed in different theological jargon?
Personally, I like to think of Protestants in the same light as I think of stub hub. They may take all of your money but you should thank them because eventually you should end up at the real game or at the real church. ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 15, 2009, 10:38:40 AM
Quote from: David Young link=topic=24376.msg385827#msg385827
I wonder whether, rather than interpreting it as motivated by pride, you might pray that their eyes will be opened to recognise the Christ whom they know in others who also know him, even if it is expressed in different theological jargon?

A distinction without a difference, don't you think? If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm), the only kind who knows Christ, and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition, something that is hindering my relationship not only with Christ, but with other people as well.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 11:12:45 AM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 15, 2009, 11:27:20 AM
Perhaps. But has anyone actually told you that you are going to hell or that you aren't saved or that you don't have a relationship with Christ because you are not Orthodox?

If you have had this experience, then you know what I am talking about. This is actually quite a common occurrence here in the Southern Baptist/Evangelical-dominated South. It has happened to me, many times. I have been told to my face (at my front door, no less, the front door that, btw, has a three-foot wrought iron cross hanging beside it)  that, because I was baptized as an infant, and have not prayed the sinner's prayer or had a single conversion experience, I don't know Christ and am going to hell. This is a conversation that I would never have with anyone.

And right back at ya: "I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are not Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever...There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace."

Hoist in your own petard again, btw. Since you are objecting to people being treated exactly the way Baptists and Evangelicals have treated me.

(tm) means "trademark."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 11:45:10 AM
has anyone actually told you that you are going to hell or that you aren't saved or that you don't have a relationship with Christ because you are not Orthodox?

Not face to face. The only Orthodox I have repeated contact with are Fr Theodhori in Gjirokastër, and a widow in her 80s in Korçë whom I visit and pray with on all of my visits to that city, partly because she is lonely, but also because when she was younger and fitter, some seventeen years ago, she said to me that I should stay at her home whenever I needed a bed in the town. (Which I did on a number of occasions.) On the other hand, my colleagues in Korçë, and all who help them with hospitality (including my widow) have been cursed from the pulpit, and ourselves publicly denounced as sons of Judas Iscariot.

Some of the people who post of this forum seem to me to be quite definite that "there is no salvation outside the church", where the church = the Orthodox Church, and seem fairly sure that I and all my kind are on our way to the eternal fires. But I assume they really believe it as an objective truth: I do not assume they are saying it out of pride.

Quote
my front door... has a three-foot wrought iron cross hanging beside it

That probably reinforces their idea that you follow a warped distortion of Christianity. (I am not saying I agree with them: indeed, I wonder what my own visitors think of my icon of 'o deipnos o mystikos' prominently displayed in my study.)

Quote
 that, because I was baptized as an infant, and have not prayed the sinner's prayer or had a single conversion experience, I don't know Christ and am going to hell.

They probably think you are relying on your baptism rather than on Christ; and whilst it is usual for a Christian in Evangelical circles to be able to point to the time of his conversion, there have always been those who cannot recall a particular moment or day, but today they know they are (by grace) saved persons, probably having believed from their mother's knee onwards. It is odd if there are no such people in the churches of Dixie.

I must try to remember your post and ask my American Baptist friends (the wife's name is Dixie) to explain this mindset to me next time we have dinner together.

Quote
your own petard again

I wish people would stop throwing little bombs at me!  ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 15, 2009, 12:27:26 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 15, 2009, 12:36:01 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)


Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 15, 2009, 12:46:58 PM
They probably think you are relying on your baptism rather than on Christ;

An unwarranted and arrogant assumption. For example, I might think, in turn, that they are relying on their particular understanding/theology, to their detriment. But it wouldn't make make me question their sincerity, salvation or relationship with Christ. It would make me question their theology and manners.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 12:49:56 PM
you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood

What definition of salvation? Writing very briefly on a subject about which many books have been composed, I would say that salvation might be looked at in three ways:

- past, that is the moment in time when I was justified, forgiven, adopted into God's family, united with Christ by the Holy Spirit, born again
- present, that is the ongoing, life-long work of growth in grace and holiness
- future, the final perfection at the resurrection of body and soul in glory, when we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

How is this different from what has been understood apostolically?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 12:57:52 PM
An unwarranted and arrogant assumption.

Unwarranted - yes.
Arrogant - not necessarily: maybe a genuine misunderstanding. I am sure there are some people in sacerdotal churches who rely on the sacraments and miss Christ himself. It would be strange if there weren't, for such people pepper the pages of Holy Writ and have always been present in religious circles. Just as there are doubtless Southern Baptists who rely on their one-off "sinner's prayer" (as you (and presumably they) term it) and have little or no concept of the need for ongoing faith, obedience, repentance and sanctity. How do I know that you are not indeed one such, and how do you know that I am not, given that (like those who come to your door) we have never met, and also that it is "the Lord" who "knows those who are his"?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 02:27:15 PM
my front door, no less, the front door that, btw, has a three-foot wrought iron cross hanging beside it

There is possibly also something cultural here. There is a large wooden cross on the inside front wall of the Evangelical Church in Corfu, and a cross outside on the roof of the ones in Alexandroupolis and Ioannina.

A particularly pleasant cultural cross-fertilisation is the lamb roast outdoors on a spit, washed down with home-made wine, enjoyed by the Corfu congregation at Easter.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 15, 2009, 02:31:32 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 15, 2009, 02:43:40 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 15, 2009, 03:19:33 PM
An unwarranted and arrogant assumption.

Unwarranted - yes.
Arrogant - not necessarily: maybe a genuine misunderstanding. I am sure there are some people in sacerdotal churches who rely on the sacraments and miss Christ himself. It would be strange if there weren't, for such people pepper the pages of Holy Writ and have always been present in religious circles. Just as there are doubtless Southern Baptists who rely on their one-off "sinner's prayer" (as you (and presumably they) term it) and have little or no concept of the need for ongoing faith, obedience, repentance and sanctity. How do I know that you are not indeed one such, and how do you know that I am not, given that (like those who come to your door) we have never met, and also that it is "the Lord" who "knows those who are his"?

Still arrogance, I'm afraid.  The fact that these people think they have the right to have an opinion or an understanding (or even a misunderstanding) about my salvation is nothing but pure arrogance.  What business is it of theirs?  None.  If they want to be true Christians and true Evangelicals, then their job is to spread the Gospel-- tell me of Christ's saving work and ministry, show me His love, not to judge whether or not I need to be saved.  It is for ME to work out my salvation in fear and trembling, not for THEM to work out.  And whether I have indeed worked it out is for God to decide, not them.  They have no right to even have an opinion about such a matter!  It shocks and appalls me that anyone would think to themselves, "well she's going straight to hell, since she's Orthodox," or any such nonsense.  And no matter how you sugar coat it in nice words, or change the wording around so it's not so harsh, it is essentially that kind of judgment. 

Nor do I have a right to have an opinion about their salvation or their relationship with Christ.  My spiritual father will work his hardest to ensure that I achieve salvation, but even he (who has probed the depths of my heart and searched out all of the little sins that keep me from salvation) makes no judgments about whether I am saved.  He would never presume to say that I am saved or not saved.  That is not his place.  His place is to lead me there as best he can.  The judging he leaves for Christ.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 03:27:05 PM
this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship....  This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I assume you are referring to the continuity of the organisation (if that be the right word) of the Orthodox Church, tracing it back to the apostles. If so, you are entirely right in your post. I do not know anyone who would question it. The real question is, is this relevant? Our view, of course, is that it is not (otherwise clearly we'd all become Orthodox); your view is that it matters vitally. But that your Church's continuity stretches back to the apostles is not something I question.

I suspect that the Nestorians, Jacobites, Copts, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, if not indeed others, would make the same claim; and even we, if we were so minded, might trace our descent via the Waldenses to the apostolic churches. Some - maybe all - of these claims would be true: but we do not see it as spiritually important, though of course humanly, culturally, it is very delightful and satisfying.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 15, 2009, 03:40:21 PM
It shocks and appalls me that anyone would think to themselves, "well she's going straight to hell, since she's Orthodox,"

My spiritual father ... makes no judgments ... The judging he leaves for Christ.

I hope I am not one of those Evangelicals who have the effect upon which which you recorded from your visit to Chicago. If so, you'd better tell me. But of course, I am going to disagree with you again!

But first, I do wonder how much more pacifically and smoothly it would go if we could all sit down together round a table and - hopefully - enjoy one of your eponymous meals, and perhaps some of my elderberry wine, simultaneously with our discussions; then we could see each other's facial expression, and our gestures, and hear our tones of voice. Ah well, that will have to wait till the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (There are definitely some of you I'd like to meet there.) Anyway:

1) I agree with you and Katherine of Dixie that an assumption of salvation or lack of it, based purely on denominational affiliation, is quite daft. It is misguided and out of place among those who 'name the name of Christ'.

2) I don't know whether your post is deliberately or accidentally very clever, but its use of the word "judge" points people's reactions in a certain direction. To judge can mean something as harmless as to assess; or it can mean to pass a moral judgement as from a superior position. Of course we should attempt to assess ('judge') the spiritual needs of those with whom we are talking; to judge them in a condemning, superior sense, like the Pharisee in our Lord's parable, is quite another matter. No-one has the right to judge in the second sense; we all have the duty to do it in the former sense, in order to offer the best help, advice or guidance.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 15, 2009, 04:18:37 PM
The fact that these people think they have the right to have an opinion or an understanding (or even a misunderstanding) about my salvation is nothing but pure arrogance.  What business is it of theirs?  None.  If they want to be true Christians and true Evangelicals, then their job is to spread the Gospel-- tell me of Christ's saving work and ministry, show me His love, not to judge whether or not I need to be saved.  It is for ME to work out my salvation in fear and trembling, not for THEM to work out.  And whether I have indeed worked it out is for God to decide, not them.  They have no right to even have an opinion about such a matter!  It shocks and appalls me that anyone would think to themselves, "well she's going straight to hell, since she's Orthodox," or any such nonsense.  And no matter how you sugar coat it in nice words, or change the wording around so it's not so harsh, it is essentially that kind of judgment. 

Nor do I have a right to have an opinion about their salvation or their relationship with Christ...

In a nutshell.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 15, 2009, 05:22:51 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?  The Truths that He gave us are for ALL times, 1st century, 4th, 21st, 31st, 10000th.  Why would we change that?  He is clear in His teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.  Should we compromise the faith and abandoned the Truths that He commanded we keep for the sake of political correctness or hurting someone's feelings?  

I know I'm making this rather more simple than it is, but in a sense it is simple, as far as I'm concerned.  What He taught us was simple.  It is how we react to His teaching by placing our pride and arrogance first that complicates matters exponentially.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 15, 2009, 05:27:19 PM
^ THANK YOU!! ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 15, 2009, 05:38:52 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?  The Truths that He gave us are for ALL times, 1st century, 4th, 21st, 31st, 10000th.  Why would we change that?  He is clear in His teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.  Should we compromise the faith and abandoned the Truths that He commanded we keep for the sake of political correctness or hurting someone's feelings? 

I know I'm making this rather more simple than it is, but in a sense it is simple, as far as I'm concerned.  What He taught us was simple.  It is how we react to His teaching by placing our pride and arrogance first that complicates matters exponentially.

My basic point is that historical continuity does not necessarily prove a continuity of faith or practice. That's more important (as a point of logic) than anything else I could say.

However, there are I suppose two different answers to what you ask. One would be to observe that Christ was quick to show people how the Pharisees had become bogged down in the letter of the law, and had forgotten the spirit - and how laws that might once have been sensible adaptations to the lifestyle of the people had become chains. We can see that adaptation of the laws still happens. For example, in a hot country and in a nomadic lifestyle, it isn't a good idea to eat pork, as pigs don't like heat and travel and tend to get sick. But modern Christians don't abide by that Old Testament law any more. Similarly, we no longer take literally Christ's command to 'render unto Cesar that which is Cesar's', because we no longer have Roman rulers. We have adapted, and take the more general sense of Christ's instruction. For the Apostles, this command would still have had a literal meaning, but it no longer does for us.

These examples would be by way of suggesting that there is progress and change implicit in Christ's ministry and in subsequent teachings of the Church.

The other way to look at it would be to look at the attitude of Christ, and to consider the context in which He lived and in which the early Fathers lived. Christ chose to become man for our sins; He chose to do so at a particular time and in a particular place. I would submit that it is wrong, and arrogant, to ignore the temporality in which He placed Himself, whether we do this by pretending He chose to become incarnate in 21st century England/America, or whether we do it by pretending that there is really no difference between 21st century England and Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the first century.

I agree we should not bow to political correctness, btw!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 15, 2009, 05:46:30 PM
It shocks and appalls me that anyone would think to themselves, "well she's going straight to hell, since she's Orthodox,"

My spiritual father ... makes no judgments ... The judging he leaves for Christ.

I hope I am not one of those Evangelicals who have the effect upon which which you recorded from your visit to Chicago. If so, you'd better tell me. But of course, I am going to disagree with you again!
Don't worry, I'll let you know if you become one.  :)

Quote
But first, I do wonder how much more pacifically and smoothly it would go if we could all sit down together round a table and - hopefully - enjoy one of your eponymous meals, and perhaps some of my elderberry wine, simultaneously with our discussions; then we could see each other's facial expression, and our gestures, and hear our tones of voice. Ah well, that will have to wait till the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (There are definitely some of you I'd like to meet there.) Anyway:
I'm sure you are right.  I'm sure our conversations would be somewhat different, though I try to hold myself to a standard on forums such as this-- I write only what I would be willing to say in person.

Quote
1) I agree with you and Katherine of Dixie that an assumption of salvation or lack of it, based purely on denominational affiliation, is quite daft. It is misguided and out of place among those who 'name the name of Christ'.
I think you have shown us on this forum that you do agree, based on how our discussions have gone.  But as we have told you many times, you are not the average Evangelical Protestant, and our experiences with them have been many and quite different from our experiences with you.

Quote
2) I don't know whether your post is deliberately or accidentally very clever, but its use of the word "judge" points people's reactions in a certain direction. To judge can mean something as harmless as to assess; or it can mean to pass a moral judgement as from a superior position. Of course we should attempt to assess ('judge') the spiritual needs of those with whom we are talking; to judge them in a condemning, superior sense, like the Pharisee in our Lord's parable, is quite another matter. No-one has the right to judge in the second sense; we all have the duty to do it in the former sense, in order to offer the best help, advice or guidance.

Ahhh, you caught me.  I did use the word "judge" purposely.  And really, I meant it in both senses.  Assessing a person's spiritual needs is fine when you are in a position of moral authority to do so.  But even then it has limits.  For instance, using the example of a spiritual father again... My spiritual father may assess that my spiritual need (based on something I've confessed) is to refrain from receiving Holy Communion for a week (God forbid-- it is a heavy thing to be barred from the chalice).  But he is in a position to make that assessment.  And ONLY he is in that position.  I would never presume to make such an assessment about him.  Nor would I ever presume to make such an assessment about a friend or co-worker.  I have no moral authority to do so.  Being a "Christian" (TM) does not automatically put a person in such authority, despite what the majority of Evangelicals seem to think. 

Now we're not talking about an assessment such as "oh she needs a little encouragement today."  When I am approached by friends and parishioners, I make a point to try to ask myself, "what does this person need?  How can I help this person and fill that need?"  That type of assessment is not what we're talking about.  That is helpful and harmless.

Attempting to assess the state of someone else's salvation or relationship with Christ is harmful (to both the one assessing and the one assessed) and unhelpful.  I say "attempting" because of course we can NEVER know the heart of another person and their relationship with Christ.  That is between them and Christ.

In my opinion, the second type of judgment which you mention-- that of superiority and condemnation, is par for the course with Evangelicals in my experience (having grown up in the same area of the world as KatherineofDixie).  It is also inherent in the type of assessment that we are discussing.  Attempting to assess a person's state of salvation and relationship with Christ IS patronizing and superior.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 15, 2009, 06:17:05 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?  The Truths that He gave us are for ALL times, 1st century, 4th, 21st, 31st, 10000th.  Why would we change that?  He is clear in His teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.  Should we compromise the faith and abandoned the Truths that He commanded we keep for the sake of political correctness or hurting someone's feelings? 

I know I'm making this rather more simple than it is, but in a sense it is simple, as far as I'm concerned.  What He taught us was simple.  It is how we react to His teaching by placing our pride and arrogance first that complicates matters exponentially.

My basic point is that historical continuity does not necessarily prove a continuity of faith or practice. That's more important (as a point of logic) than anything else I could say.
Yes but how does one with NO historical continuity claim a continuity of faith or practice?  The word "continuity" implies that there is at the least a past and a present, with a succession (there's that word again) in between which it is uninterrupted.  If there is no historical continuity, there can be physically no continuity of faith or practice.  It's not possible.  You can make it up, or attempt to go back to the beginning (which is what I think Protestants have tried to do), but either way the continuity is broken.

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However, there are I suppose two different answers to what you ask. One would be to observe that Christ was quick to show people how the Pharisees had become bogged down in the letter of the law, and had forgotten the spirit - and how laws that might once have been sensible adaptations to the lifestyle of the people had become chains. We can see that adaptation of the laws still happens. For example, in a hot country and in a nomadic lifestyle, it isn't a good idea to eat pork, as pigs don't like heat and travel and tend to get sick. But modern Christians don't abide by that Old Testament law any more. Similarly, we no longer take literally Christ's command to 'render unto Cesar that which is Cesar's', because we no longer have Roman rulers. We have adapted, and take the more general sense of Christ's instruction. For the Apostles, this command would still have had a literal meaning, but it no longer does for us.
This is slippery slope logic, and doesn't work.  Eating pork doesn't change the spirit of the law.  Allowing homosexual relationships and women priests does.

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These examples would be by way of suggesting that there is progress and change implicit in Christ's ministry and in subsequent teachings of the Church.


The other way to look at it would be to look at the attitude of Christ, and to consider the context in which He lived and in which the early Fathers lived. Christ chose to become man for our sins; He chose to do so at a particular time and in a particular place. I would submit that it is wrong, and arrogant, to ignore the temporality in which He placed Himself, whether we do this by pretending He chose to become incarnate in 21st century England/America, or whether we do it by pretending that there is really no difference between 21st century England and Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the first century.
Yes, we must consider the context.  But we must also consider what He did within that context.  The reason they crucified Christ was because He broke social and cultural norms and laws.  He wasn't bound by societal laws.  He showed us many times the important place that women held, but if He had wanted women priests, there was nothing stopping Him from ordaining them Himself.  Yet He did not.  He chose men.  He did not disallow women to follow Him, and relied on them greatly in His ministry.  But He did not ordain them.  Further, He blessed the marriage at Cana of a man and women.  Homosexuality was just as rampant (if not moreso) then than it is now.  With Roman society dominating over the Jews, there would have been absolutely nothing to stop Him from blessing a homosexual union.  Again, He did not.  Yes, context is very important.  But it must be viewed properly.

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I agree we should not bow to political correctness, btw!
But is that not what you are suggesting?  To bow to political correctness?  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 15, 2009, 06:23:25 PM
this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship....  This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I assume you are referring to the continuity of the organisation (if that be the right word) of the Orthodox Church, tracing it back to the apostles. If so, you are entirely right in your post. I do not know anyone who would question it. The real question is, is this relevant? Our view, of course, is that it is not (otherwise clearly we'd all become Orthodox); your view is that it matters vitally. But that your Church's continuity stretches back to the apostles is not something I question.

I suspect that the Nestorians, Jacobites, Copts, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, if not indeed others, would make the same claim; and even we, if we were so minded, might trace our descent via the Waldenses to the apostolic churches. Some - maybe all - of these claims would be true: but we do not see it as spiritually important, though of course humanly, culturally, it is very delightful and satisfying.

There's a difference between the Orthodox and the Nestorians, Jacobites, Anglicans and Roman Catholics.  The difference is the UNBROKEN line.  There may be a line with the others, but it is broken.  They were condemned by the people, thrown out, in schism, rejected, pick a term.  Meanwhile, the faith as it originally was continued.  There was never a breaking of communion within Orthodoxy.  Those groups broke communion and went away.  Their subsequent priests, etc. were ordained by bishops who were no longer being commemorated by the other bishops in the Church (like the Pope-- no longer commemorated by all the other bishops except those who fall under him.  Those of formerly equal rank do not recognize him).  They were on there own, solitary, isolated.  They were no longer part of the community and body of Christ.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  "Line" is not the key word.  "Unbroken" is.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 15, 2009, 06:28:15 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


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It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?  The Truths that He gave us are for ALL times, 1st century, 4th, 21st, 31st, 10000th.  Why would we change that?  He is clear in His teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.  Should we compromise the faith and abandoned the Truths that He commanded we keep for the sake of political correctness or hurting someone's feelings? 

I know I'm making this rather more simple than it is, but in a sense it is simple, as far as I'm concerned.  What He taught us was simple.  It is how we react to His teaching by placing our pride and arrogance first that complicates matters exponentially.

My basic point is that historical continuity does not necessarily prove a continuity of faith or practice. That's more important (as a point of logic) than anything else I could say.
Yes but how does one with NO historical continuity claim a continuity of faith or practice?  The word "continuity" implies that there is at the least a past and a present, with a succession (there's that word again) in between which it is uninterrupted.  If there is no historical continuity, there can be physically no continuity of faith or practice.  It's not possible.  You can make it up, or attempt to go back to the beginning (which is what I think Protestants have tried to do), but either way the continuity is broken.

No historical continuity? Christians brought their faith from Jerusalem, across the world, to places like Britain. In England, in the late middle ages, people became increasingly worried that, while many had remained faithful, some - even in the hierarchy of the Church - had not. They reformed themselves, attempting to keep and to strengthen the ancient and true faith, so that it should not be buried under what I am sure they could have called 'political correctness' - the Catholic Church's contemporary stance.

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However, there are I suppose two different answers to what you ask. One would be to observe that Christ was quick to show people how the Pharisees had become bogged down in the letter of the law, and had forgotten the spirit - and how laws that might once have been sensible adaptations to the lifestyle of the people had become chains. We can see that adaptation of the laws still happens. For example, in a hot country and in a nomadic lifestyle, it isn't a good idea to eat pork, as pigs don't like heat and travel and tend to get sick. But modern Christians don't abide by that Old Testament law any more. Similarly, we no longer take literally Christ's command to 'render unto Cesar that which is Cesar's', because we no longer have Roman rulers. We have adapted, and take the more general sense of Christ's instruction. For the Apostles, this command would still have had a literal meaning, but it no longer does for us.
This is slippery slope logic, and doesn't work.  Eating pork doesn't change the spirit of the law.  Allowing homosexual relationships and women priests does.

You may well be right, but unless you can demonstrate this is so without recourse to the teachings of the One True Church (since that truth, and the identity of that Church, are what we seek to establish), I can only hold this as your personal opinion.


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These examples would be by way of suggesting that there is progress and change implicit in Christ's ministry and in subsequent teachings of the Church.


The other way to look at it would be to look at the attitude of Christ, and to consider the context in which He lived and in which the early Fathers lived. Christ chose to become man for our sins; He chose to do so at a particular time and in a particular place. I would submit that it is wrong, and arrogant, to ignore the temporality in which He placed Himself, whether we do this by pretending He chose to become incarnate in 21st century England/America, or whether we do it by pretending that there is really no difference between 21st century England and Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the first century.
Yes, we must consider the context.  But we must also consider what He did within that context.  The reason they crucified Christ was because He broke social and cultural norms and laws.  He wasn't bound by societal laws.  He showed us many times the important place that women held, but if He had wanted women priests, there was nothing stopping Him from ordaining them Himself.  Yet He did not.  He chose men.  He did not disallow women to follow Him, and relied on them greatly in His ministry.  But He did not ordain them.  Further, He blessed the marriage at Cana of a man and women.  Homosexuality was just as rampant (if not moreso) then than it is now. 

Christ came to a faithful who were few. It was important that they build families and churches. Now, however, there is surely no need for us to overpopulate the world. Surely this is crucial?

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With Roman society dominating over the Jews, there would have been absolutely nothing to stop Him from blessing a homosexual union. 

I don't quite understand. I know of no Roman society that ever considered sanctioning monogamous homosexual relationships in general. Homosexual affairs were tolerated and even celebrated, but as far as I know, the first duty of a man (or woman) of good standing was to produce children, something they could not do within a monogamous homosexual relationship.

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Again, He did not.  Yes, context is very important.  But it must be viewed properly.

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I agree we should not bow to political correctness, btw!
But is that not what you are suggesting?  To bow to political correctness?  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...

When did I suggest we bow to political correctness? Please point me to the passage that made you think this?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 15, 2009, 06:28:53 PM
this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship....  This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I assume you are referring to the continuity of the organisation (if that be the right word) of the Orthodox Church, tracing it back to the apostles. If so, you are entirely right in your post. I do not know anyone who would question it. The real question is, is this relevant? Our view, of course, is that it is not (otherwise clearly we'd all become Orthodox); your view is that it matters vitally. But that your Church's continuity stretches back to the apostles is not something I question.

I suspect that the Nestorians, Jacobites, Copts, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, if not indeed others, would make the same claim; and even we, if we were so minded, might trace our descent via the Waldenses to the apostolic churches. Some - maybe all - of these claims would be true: but we do not see it as spiritually important, though of course humanly, culturally, it is very delightful and satisfying.

There's a difference between the Orthodox and the Nestorians, Jacobites, Anglicans and Roman Catholics.  The difference is the UNBROKEN line.  There may be a line with the others, but it is broken.  They were condemned by the people, thrown out, in schism, rejected, pick a term.  Meanwhile, the faith as it originally was continued.  There was never a breaking of communion within Orthodoxy.  Those groups broke communion and went away.  Their subsequent priests, etc. were ordained by bishops who were no longer being commemorated by the other bishops in the Church (like the Pope-- no longer commemorated by all the other bishops except those who fall under him.  Those of formerly equal rank do not recognize him).  They were on there own, solitary, isolated.  They were no longer part of the community and body of Christ.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  "Line" is not the key word.  "Unbroken" is.

'The Great Schism' comes to mind.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: LBK on December 16, 2009, 02:39:43 AM
With respect, Liz, the Great Schism, far from diluting GreekChef's argument, actually strengthens it. It was Rome that fell away from apostolic Christianity, not Orthodoxy. Once we get to further divisions which split off from Rome during the Reformation and beyond, these churches become further distanced in doctrine, theology and practice, from the Church founded in AD33. Them's the facts, I'm afraid.  :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: LBK on December 16, 2009, 02:41:24 AM
There's a difference between the Orthodox and the Nestorians, Jacobites, Anglicans and Roman Catholics.  The difference is the UNBROKEN line.  There may be a line with the others, but it is broken.  They were condemned by the people, thrown out, in schism, rejected, pick a term.  Meanwhile, the faith as it originally was continued.  There was never a breaking of communion within Orthodoxy.  Those groups broke communion and went away.  Their subsequent priests, etc. were ordained by bishops who were no longer being commemorated by the other bishops in the Church (like the Pope-- no longer commemorated by all the other bishops except those who fall under him.  Those of formerly equal rank do not recognize him).  They were on there own, solitary, isolated.  They were no longer part of the community and body of Christ.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  "Line" is not the key word.  "Unbroken" is.

Bravo! Post of the Month nominee!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: augustin717 on December 16, 2009, 02:48:27 AM
I met an Evangelical today that called my an atheist just because I said that I have no desire to change and I am at peace in my fore-fathers' religion. I called him a heretic and a sectarian.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 04:23:52 AM
With respect, Liz, the Great Schism, far from diluting GreekChef's argument, actually strengthens it. It was Rome that fell away from apostolic Christianity, not Orthodoxy. Once we get to further divisions which split off from Rome during the Reformation and beyond, these churches become further distanced in doctrine, theology and practice, from the Church founded in AD33. Them's the facts, I'm afraid.  :)

Look, it's one thing to be proud of your Church, and another thing to claim something as fact when you know that there is a considerable lack of consensus. I have met plenty of Catholics who are happy to tell me it's a 'fact' that the Orthodox Church split off from the Catholic Church, not the other way around.

'Historical fact' is a very tricky category of knowledge. It is a fact that the world is round. However, it is not a fact that, prior to the circumnavigation of the globe, everyone believed that the world was flat. Sailors had been aware of the curvature of the horizon for centuries. Moreover, as an exercise, the circumnavigation was not conclusive proof that the world was a sphere. You would need to do more trips, looking at the constellations more, before you could say for certain that you were standing on a sphere.

What we are dealing with here is far more complex and less amenable to proof than whether or not the world is round. It is very difficult to use the historical facts (eg., 'There has been an Orthodox Church on this site and in use for /// years') to prove what people have believed over a period of time.

As to continuity, England has been a monarchy for over a thousand years. Even during the Protectorate, the dead king's son was still alive to take the throne. Unbroken continuity! How amazing! And yet, though all sorts of inanimate objects and rituals and customs have passed down through the ages, both the nature of kingship and the ruling families have changed several times.

I don't disagree that Orthodoxy's claim to be the historical Church is an impressive claim; I'm certainly not hoping to convince anyone who believes it that the Orthodox Church is not the historical Church founded at Pentecost. But I do think it's important to acknowledge that historical facts about continuity do not in themselves constitute proof positive that the Church has remained true in spirit to Her beginnings at Pentecost and in Christ's ministry.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 16, 2009, 05:00:13 AM

I don't disagree that Orthodoxy's claim to be the historical Church is an impressive claim; I'm certainly not hoping to convince anyone who believes it that the Orthodox Church is not the historical Church founded at Pentecost. But I do think it's important to acknowledge that historical facts about continuity do not in themselves constitute proof positive that the Church has remained true in spirit to Her beginnings at Pentecost and in Christ's ministry.

Agreed, the preservation of truth as handed down by the apostles cannot be definitively proven. What we do have to support our case is the writings from the Church fathers/saints, history, and the Holy Scriptures. We must use what we have available to see for ourselves whether they agree with the present day claims and practice of the Church.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 05:08:47 AM

I don't disagree that Orthodoxy's claim to be the historical Church is an impressive claim; I'm certainly not hoping to convince anyone who believes it that the Orthodox Church is not the historical Church founded at Pentecost. But I do think it's important to acknowledge that historical facts about continuity do not in themselves constitute proof positive that the Church has remained true in spirit to Her beginnings at Pentecost and in Christ's ministry.

Agreed, the preservation of truth as handed down by the apostles cannot be definitively proven. What we do have to support our case is the writings from the Church fathers/saints, history, and the Holy Scriptures. We must use what we have available to see for ourselves whether they agree with the present day claims and practice of the Church.

Certainly. With this, I strongly agree.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 16, 2009, 07:18:58 AM
I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost ... could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?

Great! A moment to savour! I agree 100% with GreekChef. The scriptures clearly forbid homosexual relations, telling us plainly that such perversion is an abomination to God and that those who do such things will not enter the kingdom (unless of course they repent, for "such were some of you"). Also, the NT clearly forbids women to preach or exercise authority over the church.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 16, 2009, 07:34:48 AM
using the example of a spiritual father again...

Sadly the concept of a "spiritual father" is something rather rare in Evangelical circles, and I think we are impoverished as a result. Some are blessed enough to 'happen' to know a person who is both qualified and willing to fill such a rôle, but this is rare; some seek out such a person. Those who seek out such an adviser/mentor/father tend, I think, to be on the 'softer' end of the Evangelical spectrum and to have been touched to some degree by the Charismatic movement, and they are likely to seek out a monk (or perhaps a nun), Catholic or Anglican. I believe Liz, being in the Anglican Church, could tell us more about this practice.

This is one reason why I wish that you Orthodox would not tell us that we cannot treat your Church like a cafeteria (or buffet), taking what we want and leaving other parts - for I feel fairly sure that many would be more drawn to an Orthodox 'spiritual father' than a Catholic one. You would be in a position to bless us; but as things stand at present you would feel constrained to tell us we must become Orthodox, whereas the Catholics presumably do not overtly seek to draw those they mentor into the Roman fold.

This is one area where the individualism of Protestantism has gone too far, and has only recently begun to be corrected.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 07:36:29 AM
I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost ... could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?

Great! A moment to savour! I agree 100% with GreekChef. The scriptures clearly forbid homosexual relations, telling us plainly that such perversion is an abomination to God and that those who do such things will not enter the kingdom (unless of course they repent, for "such were some of you"). Also, the NT clearly forbids women to preach or exercise authority over the church.

I am savouring the moment! But, there's still all the old chestnuts about the NT also saying things like 'give Cesar's coins back to Cesar' (I don't see anyone encouraging the British Museum to return old coins to Italy or to search for descendants of Constantine), and the minor point that the doctrine of the Trinity is nowhere explicitly stated in the Bible at all. Doctrine has to be developed and consolidated, or none of us would be where we are today.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 16, 2009, 07:53:07 AM
how does one with NO historical continuity claim a continuity of faith or practice?  ... If there is no historical continuity, there can be physically no continuity of faith or practice.  It's not possible.  

We've got on to ecclesiology. To us (I write now as a Baptist, not just a Protestant or Evangelical), what constitutes a church is a body of believers, baptised by immersion after coming to faith, meeting regularly for worship including the Lord's Supper, and the preaching and teaching of the Faith. Ideally (it is not always practically possible, but should be aimed for at the earliest opportunity) such a church should also have its own elders, who are sometimes appointed from within, and sometimes (one at least) invited from elsewhere. The practice of a church having one elder, called a pastor and usually paid, has grown up but is not an intrinsic part of what constitutes a church. How such a church came into being, and what historical links it has with other churches of like faith and order, is not part of the question. You write of "continuity of faith and practice" with "no historical continuity", and you are right - this is how we believe. The Faith we hold, and the practice I have just described, define our churches; there does not need to be a historical continuity, but there is of course spiritual union with all Christ's churches down through the ages.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 16, 2009, 11:19:30 AM
With respect, Liz, the Great Schism, far from diluting GreekChef's argument, actually strengthens it. It was Rome that fell away from apostolic Christianity, not Orthodoxy. Once we get to further divisions which split off from Rome during the Reformation and beyond, these churches become further distanced in doctrine, theology and practice, from the Church founded in AD33. Them's the facts, I'm afraid.  :)

Look, it's one thing to be proud of your Church, and another thing to claim something as fact when you know that there is a considerable lack of consensus. I have met plenty of Catholics who are happy to tell me it's a 'fact' that the Orthodox Church split off from the Catholic Church, not the other way around.


Well, here are the facts, Liz. What does it sound like to you?

Humbert of Mourmoutiers, the cardinal-bishop of Silva Candida, was sent with legatine powers to Constantinople to resolve the dispute between Pope Leo and Patriarch Michael.  When the papal party arrived in April 1054, they did not receive a warm welcome and in fact, “they stormed out of the palace, leaving the papal response with Patriarch Michael, who was even more angered by their actions, and refused to recognize their authority or, practically, their existence.” With the death of Pope Leo soon after the papal party’s arrival, technically their authority was null and void, but “they effectively ignored this technicality.”

“One summer afternoon in the year 1054, as a service was about to begin in the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) at Constantinople, Cardinal Humbert and two other legates of the Pope entered the building and made their way up to the sanctuary. They had not come to pray. They placed a Bull of Excommunication upon the altar and marched out once more. As he passed through the western door, the Cardinal shook the dust from his feet with the words: 'Let God look and judge.' A deacon ran out after him in great distress and begged him to take back the Bull. Humbert refused; and it was dropped in the street.” The Orthodox Church, Bp. Kallistos Ware
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 16, 2009, 11:28:07 AM
I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests.

But that is your opinion and interpretation. You may be right, (of course, I don't think so, but I'm willing to accept the theoretical possibility!  ;)) but there is no evidence to say that Christ and the Apostles were ok with monogamous homosexual relationships or women priests. There is, however, evidence to the contrary, including centuries of Church teaching and praxis.

What you are saying, it seems to me, is that the Christ you believe in certainly must and should agree with your opinions on such issues. Again, it seems to me, that this is not always the case. He constantly radically challenges our own opinions and assumptions.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 11:42:50 AM
I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests.

But that is your opinion and interpretation. You may be right, (of course, I don't think so, but I'm willing to accept the theoretical possibility!  ;)) but there is no evidence to say that Christ and the Apostles were ok with monogamous homosexual relationships or women priests. There is, however, evidence to the contrary, including centuries of Church teaching and praxis.

What you are saying, it seems to me, is that the Christ you believe in certainly must and should agree with your opinions on such issues. Again, it seems to me, that this is not always the case. He constantly radically challenges our own opinions and assumptions.

No, I'm not saying that the Church should agree with me! I merely want to demonstrate that historical facts do not in themselves prove spiritual continuity. All I a really looking for is that 'theoretical possibility' you mention - that's what matters.

I am knowingly giving rather dramatic examples counter-examples, and I'm quite happy to accept that, if it's got us to the point where we can talk about the 'theoretical possibility'. I think the Orthodox Church has an excellent and persuasive case for being the True Church founded at Pentecost; I think there is good strong evidence for most of Her teachings. All I want to say is that this strong case is not proof.

In the same way that it's not right for someone to say, 'You've not been baptized into new life in my church; you'll go to hell', it is also not right to make 'historical fact' deputize for theological truth.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 16, 2009, 11:55:29 AM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?  The Truths that He gave us are for ALL times, 1st century, 4th, 21st, 31st, 10000th.  Why would we change that?  He is clear in His teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.  Should we compromise the faith and abandoned the Truths that He commanded we keep for the sake of political correctness or hurting someone's feelings?  

I know I'm making this rather more simple than it is, but in a sense it is simple, as far as I'm concerned.  What He taught us was simple.  It is how we react to His teaching by placing our pride and arrogance first that complicates matters exponentially.

My basic point is that historical continuity does not necessarily prove a continuity of faith or practice. That's more important (as a point of logic) than anything else I could say.

However, there are I suppose two different answers to what you ask. One would be to observe that Christ was quick to show people how the Pharisees had become bogged down in the letter of the law, and had forgotten the spirit - and how laws that might once have been sensible adaptations to the lifestyle of the people had become chains. We can see that adaptation of the laws still happens. For example, in a hot country and in a nomadic lifestyle, it isn't a good idea to eat pork, as pigs don't like heat and travel and tend to get sick. But modern Christians don't abide by that Old Testament law any more. Similarly, we no longer take literally Christ's command to 'render unto Cesar that which is Cesar's', because we no longer have Roman rulers. We have adapted, and take the more general sense of Christ's instruction. For the Apostles, this command would still have had a literal meaning, but it no longer does for us.

These examples would be by way of suggesting that there is progress and change implicit in Christ's ministry and in subsequent teachings of the Church.

The other way to look at it would be to look at the attitude of Christ, and to consider the context in which He lived and in which the early Fathers lived. Christ chose to become man for our sins; He chose to do so at a particular time and in a particular place. I would submit that it is wrong, and arrogant, to ignore the temporality in which He placed Himself, whether we do this by pretending He chose to become incarnate in 21st century England/America, or whether we do it by pretending that there is really no difference between 21st century England and Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the first century.

I agree we should not bow to political correctness, btw!

Yes indeed, you are faced with just two choices. You can say that The Church disbanded at some point ( you would need to provide names and dates) or you need to say that the Church has a different faith than whatever you feel is normative. We can discuss both or these if you want.

Your example of The Church's view of Homosexual "Marriage" is a good case in point. Your personal feeling seems to be that this should be allowed. We don't base what the Church teaches on what we feel at any given moment, even if that feeling seems compassionate or fair. We look at the entire span of Christian History to see if there has been a clear and consistent teaching. In the case of Marriage we find such consistency. Marriage is strictly between one Man and one Woman. We are bound by this. At no point did The Church declare that we are free to alter the teachings of the Christian Faith to the degree that would be needed to call the Union between two Men or Two Women a "Marriage". That is why we are called Orthodox, and not a new entity that is not bound by the historical teachings and morals of Christianity.

Oh and, we "Condemn" no one. We are just stating what is. Marriage has been understood as between one Man and one Woman for the entire span of Christian history..
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 16, 2009, 12:00:10 PM
^ Plain and simple, It is not lawful for a man to lay with a man, or a woman to do likewise. The scripture doesn't mince words on this. To change this principle is to go against the very words of the Bible. This would not be Christian. It would be something entirely different.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 12:11:17 PM
If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think :)



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.

I don't think it is a matter of education. I find it impossible to accept that the same Church founded at Pentecost with Christ's parables of how to treat one another and His example, could possibly be a Church that condemns monogamous homosexual relations in the 21st century and refuses to allow woman priests. The fact that the Orthodox Church records no momentous occasion, does not mean that She has not gradually pulled away from the true spirit of Christ's Church. I say this not to provoke retaliation (please!), but to try and explain why what you see as simple historical fact, is far from being so simple.

With all due respect, because I know these are hot topics, where did Christ tell us that we should change with the times and remain politically correct?  The Truths that He gave us are for ALL times, 1st century, 4th, 21st, 31st, 10000th.  Why would we change that?  He is clear in His teachings in both the Old and New Testaments.  Should we compromise the faith and abandoned the Truths that He commanded we keep for the sake of political correctness or hurting someone's feelings? 

I know I'm making this rather more simple than it is, but in a sense it is simple, as far as I'm concerned.  What He taught us was simple.  It is how we react to His teaching by placing our pride and arrogance first that complicates matters exponentially.

My basic point is that historical continuity does not necessarily prove a continuity of faith or practice. That's more important (as a point of logic) than anything else I could say.

However, there are I suppose two different answers to what you ask. One would be to observe that Christ was quick to show people how the Pharisees had become bogged down in the letter of the law, and had forgotten the spirit - and how laws that might once have been sensible adaptations to the lifestyle of the people had become chains. We can see that adaptation of the laws still happens. For example, in a hot country and in a nomadic lifestyle, it isn't a good idea to eat pork, as pigs don't like heat and travel and tend to get sick. But modern Christians don't abide by that Old Testament law any more. Similarly, we no longer take literally Christ's command to 'render unto Cesar that which is Cesar's', because we no longer have Roman rulers. We have adapted, and take the more general sense of Christ's instruction. For the Apostles, this command would still have had a literal meaning, but it no longer does for us.

These examples would be by way of suggesting that there is progress and change implicit in Christ's ministry and in subsequent teachings of the Church.

The other way to look at it would be to look at the attitude of Christ, and to consider the context in which He lived and in which the early Fathers lived. Christ chose to become man for our sins; He chose to do so at a particular time and in a particular place. I would submit that it is wrong, and arrogant, to ignore the temporality in which He placed Himself, whether we do this by pretending He chose to become incarnate in 21st century England/America, or whether we do it by pretending that there is really no difference between 21st century England and Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the first century.

I agree we should not bow to political correctness, btw!

Yes indeed, you are faced with just two choices. You can say that The Church disbanded at some point ( you would need to provide names and dates) or you need to say that the Church has a different faith than whatever you feel is normative. We can discuss both or these if you want.

I think I would only have to do the first of your suggestions if I wanted to prove that there is another, more correct, Church than the Orthodox Church. I don't want to try to prove that; I don't believe it's possible. All I want to do is to demonstrate that historical continuity does not ensure spiritual continuity.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'normative' faith?

Quote
Your example of The Church's view of Homosexual "Marriage" is a good case in point. Your personal feeling seems to be that this should be allowed. We don't base what the Church teaches on what we feel at any given moment, even if that feeling seems compassionate or fair. We look at the entire span of Christian History to see if there has been a clear and consistent teaching. In the case of Marriage we find such consistency. Marriage is strictly between one Man and one Woman. We are bound by this. At no point did The Church declare that we are free to alter the teachings of the Christian Faith to the degree that would be needed to call the Union between two Men or Two Women a "Marriage". That is why we are called Orthodox, and not a new entity that is not bound by the historical teachings and morals of Christianity.

I understand your perspective here. I didn't want to say, 'let's rehash the debate on homosexuality', but rather, I wanted to show that it's perfectly possible to observe things that are said in the NT or by the early Fathers, which the Orthodox Church today would not understand in the same way (the Cesar example), and it's not easy to say why these are qualitatively different from those things retained by the Orthodox Church. However, this statement was mainly in response to questioning as to why I (or someone else) might believe the Orthodox Church has deviated from the True Church of Christ.

Quote
Oh and, we "Condemn" no one. We are just stating what is. Marriage has been understood as between one Man and one Woman for the entire span of Christian history..

What of divorce, then? In the Catholic Church, marriage has been understood as between one man and one woman since Christ founded the Church, and that belief continues to the present day. A Catholic might see both your and our interpretations of marriage as heresy.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 16, 2009, 12:45:31 PM
No historical continuity? Christians brought their faith from Jerusalem, across the world, to places like Britain. In England, in the late middle ages, people became increasingly worried that, while many had remained faithful, some - even in the hierarchy of the Church - had not. They reformed themselves, attempting to keep and to strengthen the ancient and true faith, so that it should not be buried under what I am sure they could have called 'political correctness' - the Catholic Church's contemporary stance.
The key words here are "in the late middle ages."  You're talking about over a thousand years later!  You are also talking about post-schism.  The hierarchy that they were so concerned about was that of the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church, not the Orthodox.  That's two strikes against continuity- both historical and that of faith and practice. 


Quote
You may well be right, but unless you can demonstrate this is so without recourse to the teachings of the One True Church (since that truth, and the identity of that Church, are what we seek to establish), I can only hold this as your personal opinion.
I'm afraid the burden of proof is on you.  I can present plenty of scriptural evidence AGAINST homosexual unions, can you present any FOR them?

The argument that you present of "context" (though I would say of context mis-interpreted) is one that I hear often, but as far as I'm concerned, doesn't hold water.  If we summarily dismiss the teachings of Christ as outdated simply because the historical context was different from our modern context, then where do we end up?  Oh, that's right, we end up as Protestants, picking and choosing what to accept and what not to accept.   ;)

As I said before, the teachings of Christ ARE for ALL times and ALL places and ALL people.  We must conform ourselves to be as He as asked us and do as He has asked us.  We should NOT attempt to reform what He has taught in order to fit ourselves so that we may live more comfortably.  God gives us all struggles, homosexuality is just one of them, and we should give Him glory for ALL of them, that we may undertake the struggles as a martyrdom for Him!  I know, easy for me to say.  But while I acknowledge that the struggle of homosexuality is a serious, difficult one that at times I'm sure can be overwhelming, I also acknowledge that there are other struggles in life that are just as great, just as difficult for other people.

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Christ came to a faithful who were few. It was important that they build families and churches. Now, however, there is surely no need for us to overpopulate the world. Surely this is crucial?
There are two problems here.
1. Are we overpopulating the world?  I don't think so, personally.  Every life is precious in God's eyes, none is a burden.  In addition, we should consider that in "western" countries like the US, Britain, etc. overpopulation is not an issue.  Not only is it not an issue, but we are seeing a DECLINE in population in predominantly Christian countries (which are the ones, btw, where homosexual unions are socially acceptable).  And we are seeing a RISE in population among predominantly Muslim countries.  At the rate we are going, if we DON'T start lifting up the family and populating at higher rates, countries like Canada and France will be Muslim in a few short years, with Britain and the US and others not far behind. 
2. You are reducing the purpose of marriage to simply procreation.  This is a very Roman Catholic view.  Marriage is not simply for the purpose of pro-creation.  All the way back to Genesis we see that there are other purposes for marriage (it is not good for man to be alone-- a help-mate).  And that's just Genesis.  I would go on throughout the rest of Scripture, but I think it would be tangential.  You get my point.  God had other reasons for marital union, yet He was STILL quite clear that it was ONLY for man and woman.

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I don't quite understand. I know of no Roman society that ever considered sanctioning monogamous homosexual relationships in general. Homosexual affairs were tolerated and even celebrated, but as far as I know, the first duty of a man (or woman) of good standing was to produce children, something they could not do within a monogamous homosexual relationship.
"Homosexual affairs were tolerated and even celebrated."  Your words.  Considering that this was normal in Roman Society, it would not have been a huge leap if Christ had blessed a homosexual union.  Yet He did not. 

Quote
When did I suggest we bow to political correctness? Please point me to the passage that made you think this?
The whole suggestion of accepting homosexual unions despite the clear and obvious admonitions against them in Scripture is political correctness, as is allowing women priests.

I don't want to start another tangent here, but on the subject of women priests, I just want to be clear that I am NOT against women performing the roles that have been traditionally ascribed to them-- chanting, reading, teaching, ordained deaconess, etc.  Those I am personally okay with, as they have been part of the tradition of the Church.  I am not, however, an advocate of women in the priesthood.  This, I think, is going too far.  We have to keep the gentle balance that Christ left for us, not blow it out of the water to accommodate our prides.

I think we are getting away from the basic point, though, with this.  Your point was that historical continuity does not equal theological continuity.  Your examples were homosexual unions, women priests, and rending unto Caesar (which, btw, I think is just messing with words, the basic point is still the same).

My point was that continuity of faith cannot exist WITHOUT historical continuity.  It's not physically possible.  "Continuity" is a word that relies on physical time, and in this case, physical people.  When that bond of time and people is broken (as it was in the Great Schism and thereafter), then the continuity has been broken. From that point you can try to make it up, or try to return to the original.  Either way, the continuity is lost.

To look at it from another angle:  We'll call this "vice versa."
Does historical continuity=continuity of faith?  You say no because you are looking in as an outsider whose beliefs are different but you believe are just as valid, so you see a continuity that, frankly (no offense), doesn't exist.  We say yes, they do equate, because we are looking from the inside out, seeing that a break in historical continuity has ALWAYS equaled a break in continuity of faith.  If there was no break in continuity of faith, the break in historical continuity would never have happened.  Historically, if the faith was the same, those now in schism would never have been rejected.  They broke faith, and as a result were rejected by the body of Christ and thus the historical bond was broken.  Here's the "vice versa..."  Is continuity of faith reliant upon historical continuity?  Yes.  Otherwise it cannot physically be "continuity."  But historical continuity is also reliant upon continuity of faith.  That just fried my noodle.  I need a nap now.  :)

Now... that was really long.  Sorry.  How many times did I say "continuity" in one post?  That must be a record. :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 16, 2009, 01:07:15 PM
^ Continuously.  Actually, 19 times! ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: SolEX01 on December 16, 2009, 01:23:11 PM
Liz, do some of your views coincide with the last verses of the Gospel of John:

Quoting John 21:24-25 (NKJV)

Quote
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Perhaps you feel that among these "other things that Jesus did" include blessing of homosexual couples and relations, ordination of women as Priestesses and Apostles, et al.  just because they were never mentioned in Canonical Scripture?  Others can expound on the passage better than I can; however, I want to throw it out there as one possible reason the Anglican Church (and others) believe in what they believe?   ???

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 02:02:01 PM
No historical continuity? Christians brought their faith from Jerusalem, across the world, to places like Britain. In England, in the late middle ages, people became increasingly worried that, while many had remained faithful, some - even in the hierarchy of the Church - had not. They reformed themselves, attempting to keep and to strengthen the ancient and true faith, so that it should not be buried under what I am sure they could have called 'political correctness' - the Catholic Church's contemporary stance.
The key words here are "in the late middle ages."  You're talking about over a thousand years later! 

Sorry, when I said 'brought their faith from Jerusalem, across the world to places like Britain', my implication was that this faith didn't disappear. I don't believe it did disappear. Obviously, many things happened before the late middle ages, but that's the next 'important point' in most accounts of the Anglican Church.

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You are also talking about post-schism.

No, Christianity came to Britain well before the schism.

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The hierarchy that they were so concerned about was that of the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church, not the Orthodox.  That's two strikes against continuity- both historical and that of faith and practice. 


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You may well be right, but unless you can demonstrate this is so without recourse to the teachings of the One True Church (since that truth, and the identity of that Church, are what we seek to establish), I can only hold this as your personal opinion.
I'm afraid the burden of proof is on you.  I can present plenty of scriptural evidence AGAINST homosexual unions, can you present any FOR them?

Could we deal with homosexual unions as a separate issue? As I said above, I'm using this as an example of how people disagree on where to innovate and where to retain the exact, literal teachings of Christ as they are set down in the Bible and the early Fathers. Teachings on issues like suicide (friend Heorhji's favourite example, I know), and like the example I gave ('return unto Cesar'). I'm not so concerned about arguing which interpretation is correct, but rather, about demonstrating that even the Orthodox Church does sometimes choose to innovate, and sometimes chooses not to.

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The argument that you present of "context" (though I would say of context mis-interpreted) is one that I hear often, but as far as I'm concerned, doesn't hold water.  If we summarily dismiss the teachings of Christ as outdated simply because the historical context was different from our modern context, then where do we end up?  Oh, that's right, we end up as Protestants, picking and choosing what to accept and what not to accept.   ;)

As I said before, the teachings of Christ ARE for ALL times and ALL places and ALL people.  We must conform ourselves to be as He as asked us and do as He has asked us.  We should NOT attempt to reform what He has taught in order to fit ourselves so that we may live more comfortably.  God gives us all struggles, homosexuality is just one of them, and we should give Him glory for ALL of them, that we may undertake the struggles as a martyrdom for Him!  I know, easy for me to say.  But while I acknowledge that the struggle of homosexuality is a serious, difficult one that at times I'm sure can be overwhelming, I also acknowledge that there are other struggles in life that are just as great, just as difficult for other people.

I don't disagree that we must conform to Christ, not the Church to us. But while we agree on this, you don't seem to want to admit that some teachings of the Orthodox Church are innovations on what we know of the earliest form of the faith in Christ's ministry and the Apostles' teachings.

[/quote]
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Christ came to a faithful who were few. It was important that they build families and churches. Now, however, there is surely no need for us to overpopulate the world. Surely this is crucial?
There are two problems here.
1. Are we overpopulating the world?  I don't think so, personally.  Every life is precious in God's eyes, none is a burden.  In addition, we should consider that in "western" countries like the US, Britain, etc. overpopulation is not an issue.  Not only is it not an issue, but we are seeing a DECLINE in population in predominantly Christian countries (which are the ones, btw, where homosexual unions are socially acceptable).  And we are seeing a RISE in population among predominantly Muslim countries.  At the rate we are going, if we DON'T start lifting up the family and populating at higher rates, countries like Canada and France will be Muslim in a few short years, with Britain and the US and others not far behind. 
[/quote]

What is your point? As far as I know, no Christian denomination believes that race or former religious affiliation has a bearing on one's capacity to convert, and since there are millions of Christians across the world and excellent opportunities to travel and communicate across the globe, I don't see the problem. We're not living in the first century AD, where it would have been impossible to travel and reach out to people further afield.

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2. You are reducing the purpose of marriage to simply procreation.  This is a very Roman Catholic view.  Marriage is not simply for the purpose of pro-creation.  All the way back to Genesis we see that there are other purposes for marriage (it is not good for man to be alone-- a help-mate).  And that's just Genesis.  I would go on throughout the rest of Scripture, but I think it would be tangential.  You get my point.  God had other reasons for marital union, yet He was STILL quite clear that it was ONLY for man and woman.

No, I don't think the purpose of marriage is simply procreation. But again, I think we're straying into discussing homosexuality per se, rather than as an example of how Church teaching may or may not retain the literal sense of the Bible.

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I don't quite understand. I know of no Roman society that ever considered sanctioning monogamous homosexual relationships in general. Homosexual affairs were tolerated and even celebrated, but as far as I know, the first duty of a man (or woman) of good standing was to produce children, something they could not do within a monogamous homosexual relationship.
"Homosexual affairs were tolerated and even celebrated."  Your words.  Considering that this was normal in Roman Society, it would not have been a huge leap if Christ had blessed a homosexual union.  Yet He did not. 

I am sure it would have been a huge leap. An affair is quite different from a monogamous union. Affairs might be tolerated, but a union between two men or two women, barring them from reproducing? I don't think so!

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When did I suggest we bow to political correctness? Please point me to the passage that made you think this?
The whole suggestion of accepting homosexual unions despite the clear and obvious admonitions against them in Scripture is political correctness, as is allowing women priests.

I don't want to start another tangent here, but on the subject of women priests, I just want to be clear that I am NOT against women performing the roles that have been traditionally ascribed to them-- chanting, reading, teaching, ordained deaconess, etc.  Those I am personally okay with, as they have been part of the tradition of the Church.  I am not, however, an advocate of women in the priesthood.  This, I think, is going too far.  We have to keep the gentle balance that Christ left for us, not blow it out of the water to accommodate our prides.

I think we are getting away from the basic point, though, with this.  Your point was that historical continuity does not equal theological continuity.  Your examples were homosexual unions, women priests, and rending unto Caesar (which, btw, I think is just messing with words, the basic point is still the same).

My point was that continuity of faith cannot exist WITHOUT historical continuity.  It's not physically possible.  "Continuity" is a word that relies on physical time, and in this case, physical people.  When that bond of time and people is broken (as it was in the Great Schism and thereafter), then the continuity has been broken. From that point you can try to make it up, or try to return to the original.  Either way, the continuity is lost.

As I hope I've explained better this time, above, I don't believe there is necessarily a break in continuity of faith amongst those outside the Orthodox Church. I am also uncertain about whether faith is solely a property of physical things - it's a strange concept to me.

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To look at it from another angle:  We'll call this "vice versa."
Does historical continuity=continuity of faith?  You say no because you are looking in as an outsider whose beliefs are different but you believe are just as valid, so you see a continuity that, frankly (no offense), doesn't exist.  We say yes, they do equate, because we are looking from the inside out, seeing that a break in historical continuity has ALWAYS equaled a break in continuity of faith.  If there was no break in continuity of faith, the break in historical continuity would never have happened.  Historically, if the faith was the same, those now in schism would never have been rejected.  They broke faith, and as a result were rejected by the body of Christ and thus the historical bond was broken.  Here's the "vice versa..."  Is continuity of faith reliant upon historical continuity?  Yes.  Otherwise it cannot physically be "continuity."  But historical continuity is also reliant upon continuity of faith.  That just fried my noodle.  I need a nap now.  :)

You are looking at this assuming that I basically want to prove that the Anglican Church has continuity, and therefore is somehow 'better' or 'more true' than the Orthodox Church. That's not my aim. My problem was with this tendency of some Orthodox posters to see the Orthodox Church's spiritual 'Truth' as a matter of 'fact', as if one could use accounts of the Church's continued historical presence as proof of the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit.

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Now... that was really long.  Sorry.  How many times did I say "continuity" in one post?  That must be a record. :)

:) No worries. It is a long topic, we have two millenia of history here!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 02:05:43 PM
Liz, do some of your views coincide with the last verses of the Gospel of John:

Quoting John 21:24-25 (NKJV)

Quote
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Perhaps you feel that among these "other things that Jesus did" include blessing of homosexual couples and relations, ordination of women as Priestesses and Apostles, et al.  just because they were never mentioned in Canonical Scripture?  Others can expound on the passage better than I can; however, I want to throw it out there as one possible reason the Anglican Church (and others) believe in what they believe?   ???



No, I don't think that Jesus blessed homosexual couples but the Gospel writers didn't mention it. :)

If you don't mind, I won't get into the discussion of 'Is homosexual union ever right', because we've done it over. PM me if you like, of course. What I wanted to do with that example was to say, 'Yes, there are things where I believe the Orthodox Church, rather like the Pharisees, has follow the letter of the law and not the spirit'. I tried to choose things that were genuinely important topics, but to choose a more mundane example, I have often wondered why the Orthodox Church decided that unaccompanied voices were the best way to sing to God - there may be a passage defending this in the Bible, but it seems a strange impoverishment to me (despite the beautiful music I've heard from Orthodox choirs).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 16, 2009, 02:18:46 PM
This is good entertainment, who needs the movies!  ;D <sits back and munches popcorn>
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 02:21:42 PM
This is good entertainment, who needs the movies!  ;D <sits back and munches popcorn>

 ;D Now that made me laugh when I probably should be apologizing for filling the forum with such badly-structured argument! At least someone's amused ...
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: SolEX01 on December 16, 2009, 02:31:32 PM
Liz, do some of your views coincide with the last verses of the Gospel of John:

Quoting John 21:24-25 (NKJV)

Quote
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Perhaps you feel that among these "other things that Jesus did" include blessing of homosexual couples and relations, ordination of women as Priestesses and Apostles, et al.  just because they were never mentioned in Canonical Scripture?  Others can expound on the passage better than I can; however, I want to throw it out there as one possible reason the Anglican Church (and others) believe in what they believe?   ???


No, I don't think that Jesus blessed homosexual couples but the Gospel writers didn't mention it. :)

If you don't mind, I won't get into the discussion of 'Is homosexual union ever right', because we've done it over. PM me if you like, of course.

Alas, we're debating Evangelical mindsets and not homosexual unions.  If the Evangelical mindset believes that Jesus blessed homosexual unions and relations, outside of what is written in Scripture, and the Evangelical rejection of Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, then what I quoted blends in well with this thread.   :)

What I wanted to do with that example was to say, 'Yes, there are things where I believe the Orthodox Church, rather like the Pharisees, has follow the letter of the law and not the spirit'. I tried to choose things that were genuinely important topics, but to choose a more mundane example,

Like eating pork?  Maybe Jesus ate pork as the late American comedian George Carlin famously stated, "Jesus, where's the pork chops?"

I have often wondered why the Orthodox Church decided that unaccompanied voices were the best way to sing to God - there may be a passage defending this in the Bible, but it seems a strange impoverishment to me (despite the beautiful music I've heard from Orthodox choirs).

King David, author of the Pslams, prefigured Christ.  The Psalms emulate the Cherubim's constant song before God.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 02:34:59 PM
Liz, do some of your views coincide with the last verses of the Gospel of John:

Quoting John 21:24-25 (NKJV)

Quote
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Perhaps you feel that among these "other things that Jesus did" include blessing of homosexual couples and relations, ordination of women as Priestesses and Apostles, et al.  just because they were never mentioned in Canonical Scripture?  Others can expound on the passage better than I can; however, I want to throw it out there as one possible reason the Anglican Church (and others) believe in what they believe?   ???


No, I don't think that Jesus blessed homosexual couples but the Gospel writers didn't mention it. :)

If you don't mind, I won't get into the discussion of 'Is homosexual union ever right', because we've done it over. PM me if you like, of course.

Alas, we're debating Evangelical mindsets and not homosexual unions.

True ... once again, I digressed. I am bad like that. Mind you, I think we were discussing Orthodox understandings of Evangelical mindsets, and hierarchies of arrogance therein.

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If the Evangelical mindset believes that Jesus blessed homosexual unions and relations, outside of what is written in Scripture, and the Evangelical rejection of Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, then what I quoted blends in well with this thread.   :)

What I wanted to do with that example was to say, 'Yes, there are things where I believe the Orthodox Church, rather like the Pharisees, has follow the letter of the law and not the spirit'. I tried to choose things that were genuinely important topics, but to choose a more mundane example,

Like eating pork?  Maybe Jesus ate pork as the late American comedian George Carlin famously stated, "Jesus, where's the pork chops?"

I have often wondered why the Orthodox Church decided that unaccompanied voices were the best way to sing to God - there may be a passage defending this in the Bible, but it seems a strange impoverishment to me (despite the beautiful music I've heard from Orthodox choirs).

King David, author of the Pslams, prefigured Christ.  The Psalms emulate the Cherubim's constant song before God.

Sure, but no instruments? Shame. I tend to picture David with a harp and all. :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: SolEX01 on December 16, 2009, 02:39:50 PM
Liz, do some of your views coincide with the last verses of the Gospel of John:

Quoting John 21:24-25 (NKJV)

Quote
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Perhaps you feel that among these "other things that Jesus did" include blessing of homosexual couples and relations, ordination of women as Priestesses and Apostles, et al.  just because they were never mentioned in Canonical Scripture?  Others can expound on the passage better than I can; however, I want to throw it out there as one possible reason the Anglican Church (and others) believe in what they believe?   ???


No, I don't think that Jesus blessed homosexual couples but the Gospel writers didn't mention it. :)

If you don't mind, I won't get into the discussion of 'Is homosexual union ever right', because we've done it over. PM me if you like, of course.

Alas, we're debating Evangelical mindsets and not homosexual unions.

True ... once again, I digressed. I am bad like that. Mind you, I think we were discussing Orthodox understandings of Evangelical mindsets, and hierarchies of arrogance therein.

Amidst this discussion cropped up continuity, the Great Schism, et al.

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If the Evangelical mindset believes that Jesus blessed homosexual unions and relations, outside of what is written in Scripture, and the Evangelical rejection of Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, then what I quoted blends in well with this thread.   :)

What I wanted to do with that example was to say, 'Yes, there are things where I believe the Orthodox Church, rather like the Pharisees, has follow the letter of the law and not the spirit'. I tried to choose things that were genuinely important topics, but to choose a more mundane example,

Like eating pork?  Maybe Jesus ate pork as the late American comedian George Carlin famously stated, "Jesus, where's the pork chops?"

I have often wondered why the Orthodox Church decided that unaccompanied voices were the best way to sing to God - there may be a passage defending this in the Bible, but it seems a strange impoverishment to me (despite the beautiful music I've heard from Orthodox choirs).

King David, author of the Pslams, prefigured Christ.  The Psalms emulate the Cherubim's constant song before God.

Sure, but no instruments? Shame. I tend to picture David with a harp and all. :)

Not in Orthodox iconography.   :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 16, 2009, 02:42:59 PM
Liz, do some of your views coincide with the last verses of the Gospel of John:

Quoting John 21:24-25 (NKJV)

Quote
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Perhaps you feel that among these "other things that Jesus did" include blessing of homosexual couples and relations, ordination of women as Priestesses and Apostles, et al.  just because they were never mentioned in Canonical Scripture?  Others can expound on the passage better than I can; however, I want to throw it out there as one possible reason the Anglican Church (and others) believe in what they believe?   ???


No, I don't think that Jesus blessed homosexual couples but the Gospel writers didn't mention it. :)

If you don't mind, I won't get into the discussion of 'Is homosexual union ever right', because we've done it over. PM me if you like, of course.

Alas, we're debating Evangelical mindsets and not homosexual unions.

True ... once again, I digressed. I am bad like that. Mind you, I think we were discussing Orthodox understandings of Evangelical mindsets, and hierarchies of arrogance therein.

Amidst this discussion cropped up continuity, the Great Schism, et al.

*Hangs head*

What can I say? Have you heard an Anglican preacher lately? We get brought up to ramble - that's my excuse.  ;)

I did think the discussion between David and Katherine of Dixie was getting into interesting territory about authority, though.

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If the Evangelical mindset believes that Jesus blessed homosexual unions and relations, outside of what is written in Scripture, and the Evangelical rejection of Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, then what I quoted blends in well with this thread.   :)

What I wanted to do with that example was to say, 'Yes, there are things where I believe the Orthodox Church, rather like the Pharisees, has follow the letter of the law and not the spirit'. I tried to choose things that were genuinely important topics, but to choose a more mundane example,

Like eating pork?  Maybe Jesus ate pork as the late American comedian George Carlin famously stated, "Jesus, where's the pork chops?"

I have often wondered why the Orthodox Church decided that unaccompanied voices were the best way to sing to God - there may be a passage defending this in the Bible, but it seems a strange impoverishment to me (despite the beautiful music I've heard from Orthodox choirs).

King David, author of the Pslams, prefigured Christ.  The Psalms emulate the Cherubim's constant song before God.

Sure, but no instruments? Shame. I tend to picture David with a harp and all. :)

Not in Orthodox iconography.   :)

Aah, that's interesting! But does the iconography predate the interpretation, or does the interpretation govern the iconography?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: LBK on December 16, 2009, 04:35:23 PM
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Aah, that's interesting! But does the iconography predate the interpretation, or does the interpretation govern the iconography?

The latter.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: SolEX01 on December 17, 2009, 12:02:25 AM
I ought to correct myself in stating that King David can be depicted with a harp in Orthodox iconography.  Other icons depict King David with a scroll.   :-[
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 17, 2009, 07:44:16 AM
I ought to correct myself in stating that King David can be depicted with a harp in Orthodox iconography.  Other icons depict King David with a scroll.   :-[

Ah well ... there must be some reason for that. But, though this is fascinating (I really mean that: I love iconography), I think we have definitely wandered off-topic!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 17, 2009, 03:43:07 PM
Sorry, when I said 'brought their faith from Jerusalem, across the world to places like Britain', my implication was that this faith didn't disappear. I don't believe it did disappear. Obviously, many things happened before the late middle ages, but that's the next 'important point' in most accounts of the Anglican Church.
Gotcha.  I feel sure the faith didn't disappear altogether, otherwise there would have been no Christianity.  The question that remains is how different a faith it was/is.  Was the continuity broken?  We say yes.  Is it the same faith?  We say no.  Does it matter?  We say yes.  I guess that's what it boils down to.

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No, Christianity came to Britain well before the schism.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it didn't.  I was just saying that the time period you were talking about (late middle ages) is post schism.  Yes, it came before the schism, you are of course correct.  However, after the schism, it came to be governed predominantly by the Catholic Church, as that is the tradition that was already present.  Would you agree?

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Could we deal with homosexual unions as a separate issue?
Absolutely.  My apologies.  I was attempting to address your points without becoming too tangential.  But I think we definitely strayed into tangential anyway...

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As I said above, I'm using this as an example of how people disagree on where to innovate and where to retain the exact, literal teachings of Christ as they are set down in the Bible and the early Fathers. Teachings on issues like suicide (friend Heorhji's favourite example, I know), and like the example I gave ('return unto Cesar'). I'm not so concerned about arguing which interpretation is correct, but rather, about demonstrating that even the Orthodox Church does sometimes choose to innovate, and sometimes chooses not to.
I think I've lost track a little bit of where this was going.  Forgive me.  Can you give me some examples of the Orthodox Church choosing to innovate?


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I don't disagree that we must conform to Christ, not the Church to us. But while we agree on this, you don't seem to want to admit that some teachings of the Orthodox Church are innovations on what we know of the earliest form of the faith in Christ's ministry and the Apostles' teachings.
You are right, I won't admit that, because I'm not aware of any.  Again, feel free to give me some examples that we can discuss and I'm happy to entertain the possibility.

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What is your point? As far as I know, no Christian denomination believes that race or former religious affiliation has a bearing on one's capacity to convert, and since there are millions of Christians across the world and excellent opportunities to travel and communicate across the globe, I don't see the problem. We're not living in the first century AD, where it would have been impossible to travel and reach out to people further afield.
Absolutely, we should be evangelizing and bringing Christ to everyone.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I was only addressing the idea of overpopulation because you brought it up.  You made it sound as though we, as Christians, are overpopulating the world by not allowing homosexual unions.  I was demonstrating that, in fact, the predominantly Christian countries that are "Westernized" that DO allow homosexual unions are UNDERpopulating.  That's all.

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No, I don't think the purpose of marriage is simply procreation. But again, I think we're straying into discussing homosexuality per se, rather than as an example of how Church teaching may or may not retain the literal sense of the Bible.
I agree, we are straying.  However, I will say that such a liberal interpretation of Christian history and faith as you seem to be presenting (that of allowing homosexual unions) based on the idea that it is an innovation to NOT allow homosexual unions, or is somehow a misinterpretation of the Spirit of the law, is a dangerous one.  I would say that that type of interpretation and thought IS a barrier to Christian unity, which is what this thread was about to begin with.  *whew*  :)  There needs to be a "my brain is tired" emoticon.

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I am sure it would have been a huge leap. An affair is quite different from a monogamous union. Affairs might be tolerated, but a union between two men or two women, barring them from reproducing? I don't think so!
Well, again, we're getting into tangents.  But your last words ("I don't think so") make it quite clear that this is your opinion.  The fact remains that Christ was not bound by social norms, laws, etc. and if He had wanted to bless a homosexual union, He was free to have done so.  He didn't.

I definitely want to get away from this tangent though.  Besides derailing the discussion, I hate discussing homosexuality because, while it is easy to spout theology on the subject (which I know I am guilty of), it is another thing entirely to try and live by that theology when one is in that position.  I don't want anyone to think I am casting aspersions or judging.  I certainly am not.  I am only discussing the theology. 

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As I hope I've explained better this time, above, I don't believe there is necessarily a break in continuity of faith amongst those outside the Orthodox Church. I am also uncertain about whether faith is solely a property of physical things - it's a strange concept to me.
This was my point-- you don't THINK there was a break.  This is your opinion.  In our opinion, which we say is BOLSTERED (not reliant upon, but bolstered) by historical fact, we say that there WAS and IS a break-- a break which bars unity in the chalice.

I wouldn't say faith is solely a property of physical things, but the transmission of the faith has been reliant upon the people who hold that faith passing it down, so it does exist in time and space, not outside of it.  If we are talking about correctness of faith and the continuity of that faith, then we have to consider the historical aspect. 


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You are looking at this assuming that I basically want to prove that the Anglican Church has continuity, and therefore is somehow 'better' or 'more true' than the Orthodox Church. That's not my aim. My problem was with this tendency of some Orthodox posters to see the Orthodox Church's spiritual 'Truth' as a matter of 'fact', as if one could use accounts of the Church's continued historical presence as proof of the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were trying to prove that.  I was trying to look at it from every angle.  I wouldn't say that the Church's continued historical presence is a proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit, otherwise we'd be Buddhist (since they are a far older faith than we).  It's not a matter of the Church's mere presence, it's a matter of what that presence has done, or provided, or what it has allowed us to do (however you want to put it).  Our continued presence is not just an existence, it is a preservation, a passing down, of what Christ gave us. 

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:) No worries. It is a long topic, we have two millenia of history here!
No kidding!!!  ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 17, 2009, 04:33:29 PM
Sorry, when I said 'brought their faith from Jerusalem, across the world to places like Britain', my implication was that this faith didn't disappear. I don't believe it did disappear. Obviously, many things happened before the late middle ages, but that's the next 'important point' in most accounts of the Anglican Church.
Gotcha.  I feel sure the faith didn't disappear altogether, otherwise there would have been no Christianity.  The question that remains is how different a faith it was/is.  Was the continuity broken?  We say yes.  Is it the same faith?  We say no.  Does it matter?  We say yes.  I guess that's what it boils down to.

Sure, but this is the same kind of opinion/judgment call that we have to make about the Orthodox Church, too. Did the faith stay the same, or move away from the truth? More to the point, do the historical facts give us enough to be able to make this judgment? I would say they don't - not for you, not for us. We must just trust.

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No, Christianity came to Britain well before the schism.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it didn't.  I was just saying that the time period you were talking about (late middle ages) is post schism.  Yes, it came before the schism, you are of course correct.  However, after the schism, it came to be governed predominantly by the Catholic Church, as that is the tradition that was already present.  Would you agree?

Oops, sorry ... I misread you there. Yes, I agree that the church was Catholic after the Schism. However, there are some very interesting things that make the faith as practiced (even by some priests and monastics) particularly 'English' and different from European Catholicism. One of my favourite examples is that, when the Catholic Carthusian monks were told by their General Chapter that they shouldn't be so closely involved with lay people, the English Carthusians instead made sure that they found a proper way for lay people to interact with their spiritual fathers in the monasteries. This was happening in the late middle ages, just before the Reformation - I feel it suggests how the character of faith remained somewhat different from Roman Catholicism, and - I would hope - very true to the origins of the Church.

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Could we deal with homosexual unions as a separate issue?
Absolutely.  My apologies.  I was attempting to address your points without becoming too tangential.  But I think we definitely strayed into tangential anyway...

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As I said above, I'm using this as an example of how people disagree on where to innovate and where to retain the exact, literal teachings of Christ as they are set down in the Bible and the early Fathers. Teachings on issues like suicide (friend Heorhji's favourite example, I know), and like the example I gave ('return unto Cesar'). I'm not so concerned about arguing which interpretation is correct, but rather, about demonstrating that even the Orthodox Church does sometimes choose to innovate, and sometimes chooses not to.
I think I've lost track a little bit of where this was going.  Forgive me.  Can you give me some examples of the Orthodox Church choosing to innovate?

I have not heard of any Orthodox petitions to return Imperial Roman coinage to Rome. And is Heorhji wrong about the suicide example? More importantly, though, there are surely far too many things that Orthodox Churches do now, which have no basis in the Church founded at Pentecost. Where did the Apostles decide that one or other calendar was important? When did they decide that priests should wear vestments of the particular type worn in Orthodox Churches? When and why did they decide that unaccompanied singing was best? That men should wear beards?

Who gets to decide which of these are 'trivial' (and therefore, it seems, allowed), and which are 'crucial' innovations?

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I don't disagree that we must conform to Christ, not the Church to us. But while we agree on this, you don't seem to want to admit that some teachings of the Orthodox Church are innovations on what we know of the earliest form of the faith in Christ's ministry and the Apostles' teachings.

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You are right, I won't admit that, because I'm not aware of any.  Again, feel free to give me some examples that we can discuss and I'm happy to entertain the possibility.
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What is your point? As far as I know, no Christian denomination believes that race or former religious affiliation has a bearing on one's capacity to convert, and since there are millions of Christians across the world and excellent opportunities to travel and communicate across the globe, I don't see the problem. We're not living in the first century AD, where it would have been impossible to travel and reach out to people further afield.
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Absolutely, we should be evangelizing and bringing Christ to everyone.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I was only addressing the idea of overpopulation because you brought it up.  You made it sound as though we, as Christians, are overpopulating the world by not allowing homosexual unions.  I was demonstrating that, in fact, the predominantly Christian countries that are "Westernized" that DO allow homosexual unions are UNDERpopulating.  That's all.

Ah, yes, I see. No, I didn't mean that. I always feel sad that homosexual couples are so often unable to have their own children - and I don't mean any political point about adopting, I just mean it's sad that some people don't end up in a situation where they can have their own babies with their partner. But, I don't think we need to populate as the early Christians did - they could only spread the word slowly, whereas we are fortunate in having many ways of communicating across huge distances.


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No, I don't think the purpose of marriage is simply procreation. But again, I think we're straying into discussing homosexuality per se, rather than as an example of how Church teaching may or may not retain the literal sense of the Bible.

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I agree, we are straying.  However, I will say that such a liberal interpretation of Christian history and faith as you seem to be presenting (that of allowing homosexual unions) based on the idea that it is an innovation to NOT allow homosexual unions, or is somehow a misinterpretation of the Spirit of the law, is a dangerous one.  I would say that that type of interpretation and thought IS a barrier to Christian unity, which is what this thread was about to begin with.  *whew*  :)  There needs to be a "my brain is tired" emoticon.

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I am sure it would have been a huge leap. An affair is quite different from a monogamous union. Affairs might be tolerated, but a union between two men or two women, barring them from reproducing? I don't think so!

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Well, again, we're getting into tangents.  But your last words ("I don't think so") make it quite clear that this is your opinion.  The fact remains that Christ was not bound by social norms, laws, etc. and if He had wanted to bless a homosexual union, He was free to have done so.  He didn't.

I agree that Christ could have done so had He chosen to do. I don't believe He did (see other posts on this thread). But it is (in my humble opinion, shared by a few professors of Classics) not correct to suggest that Christ would have been in accordance with social norms had he blessed homosexual unions.

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I definitely want to get away from this tangent though.  Besides derailing the discussion, I hate discussing homosexuality because, while it is easy to spout theology on the subject (which I know I am guilty of), it is another thing entirely to try and live by that theology when one is in that position.  I don't want anyone to think I am casting aspersions or judging.  I certainly am not.  I am only discussing the theology. 

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As I hope I've explained better this time, above, I don't believe there is necessarily a break in continuity of faith amongst those outside the Orthodox Church. I am also uncertain about whether faith is solely a property of physical things - it's a strange concept to me.
This was my point-- you don't THINK there was a break.  This is your opinion.  In our opinion, which we say is BOLSTERED (not reliant upon, but bolstered) by historical fact, we say that there WAS and IS a break-- a break which bars unity in the chalice.
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That is fine - as long as we don't end up confusing 'bolstered' with 'proven', as I think is sometimes easy to do.

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I wouldn't say faith is solely a property of physical things, but the transmission of the faith has been reliant upon the people who hold that faith passing it down, so it does exist in time and space, not outside of it.  If we are talking about correctness of faith and the continuity of that faith, then we have to consider the historical aspect. 


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You are looking at this assuming that I basically want to prove that the Anglican Church has continuity, and therefore is somehow 'better' or 'more true' than the Orthodox Church. That's not my aim. My problem was with this tendency of some Orthodox posters to see the Orthodox Church's spiritual 'Truth' as a matter of 'fact', as if one could use accounts of the Church's continued historical presence as proof of the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were trying to prove that.  I was trying to look at it from every angle.  I wouldn't say that the Church's continued historical presence is a proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit, otherwise we'd be Buddhist (since they are a far older faith than we).  It's not a matter of the Church's mere presence, it's a matter of what that presence has done, or provided, or what it has allowed us to do (however you want to put it).  Our continued presence is not just an existence, it is a preservation, a passing down, of what Christ gave us. 

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:) No worries. It is a long topic, we have two millenia of history here!
No kidding!!!  ;D

Can I say how much I have been enjoying this discussion? I hope that isn't rude, and maybe it is very tedious for you, but I have had to think and question and work things out all the way - it's a great Advent question and has me constantly thinking about the nature of faith. So, I do hope it's not too obvious for you - I owe you a great deal for your patient and perceptive comments, even if I may not always agree! :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 17, 2009, 05:07:54 PM
I hate discussing homosexuality because, while it is easy to spout theology on the subject (which I know I am guilty of), it is another thing entirely to try and live by that theology when one is in that position.  
Surely no harder than for a normal bachelor, spinster, widow or widower to remain chaste.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 17, 2009, 05:19:18 PM
Sure, but this is the same kind of opinion/judgment call that we have to make about the Orthodox Church, too. Did the faith stay the same, or move away from the truth? More to the point, do the historical facts give us enough to be able to make this judgment? I would say they don't - not for you, not for us. We must just trust.
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!

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Oops, sorry ... I misread you there. Yes, I agree that the church was Catholic after the Schism. However, there are some very interesting things that make the faith as practiced (even by some priests and monastics) particularly 'English' and different from European Catholicism. One of my favourite examples is that, when the Catholic Carthusian monks were told by their General Chapter that they shouldn't be so closely involved with lay people, the English Carthusians instead made sure that they found a proper way for lay people to interact with their spiritual fathers in the monasteries. This was happening in the late middle ages, just before the Reformation - I feel it suggests how the character of faith remained somewhat different from Roman Catholicism, and - I would hope - very true to the origins of the Church.
This is exactly what I mean.  The faith was different...

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I have not heard of any Orthodox petitions to return Imperial Roman coinage to Rome.
I think there's a difference though in what we're talking about.  Retaining the law and literal interpretations of Scripture are two different things with two different results.  That's why I disagree with your example of "rending unto Caesar."  That is a matter of literal interpretation, not retaining of the law.  If the issue there were of retaining the law, then the question would NOT be "is there a petition about returning imperial coinage to Rome," it would be, "do we pay taxes to the government?"  In other words I don't think you are using the proper example to demonstrate what you are trying to say.  "Returning imperial coinage to Rome" means we have literally interpreted the Scriptures, not retained a useless law.  Does this make sense?

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And is Heorhji wrong about the suicide example?
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this example.  Or maybe I've just forgotten.  Was this something that was discussed while I've been away from the forum?  Feel free to fill me in... :)

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More importantly, though, there are surely far too many things that Orthodox Churches do now, which have no basis in the Church founded at Pentecost.
I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific... I will address the ones you give below, though.

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Where did the Apostles decide that one or other calendar was important?
They didn't, which is what gave the Church the freedom to decide on a more scientifically accurate calculation of the calendar, and why the Churches who didn't accept it are now in schism for retaining the law.  (No offense meant by that to anyone.  Don't want to drag up the debate again, just trying to give a succinct response...)

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When did they decide that priests should wear vestments of the particular type worn in Orthodox Churches?
The vestments are descendant from those that the Jewish priests wore.  I'll have to get my husband on this.  He's the vestment guru.  Any of the guys on here who know him will attest to that.  He'll tell you the history, development, and purpose of each piece.  Suffice it to say that they are descendant from the Jewish vestments (which makes sense to me, considering that the apostles and early Christians would have worshiped in the way that they were comfortable and accustomed to).  They developed further because of their purposes.  Each piece had a reason for being. 

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When and why did they decide that unaccompanied singing was best? That men should wear beards?
Again, descendant from the Jewish cantor tradition.  The early Christians retained much of their Jewish roots, worshiping in the familiar way, and we have not changed much of that.  As far as instruments, though I am a musician trained in both Western music (years of classical and Broadway style training, currently studying Opera with a voice professor at the University of Georgia) and Byzantine music, I am thoroughly opposed to instruments in the Church.  Not because I don't like them.  I also play the piano a little.  I love instruments.  But I believe they have their place.  The Church is not the place for performance.  It is the place for worship.  Nor is it the place for instruments alone.  The purpose of the music itself is only to carry the words.  The music is a vehicle for the words, that we may pray to and praise God.  When we remove the words, all we have is pointless noise (it might be pretty, but it is still pointless noise).

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Who gets to decide which of these are 'trivial' (and therefore, it seems, allowed), and which are 'crucial' innovations?
That's why the historical continuity and continuity of the faith are essential.  That's why retaining the hierarchy is essential.  That's why remaining a conciliar Church is essential.  That's why receiving the sacraments is essential.  The CHURCH decides. 


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Ah, yes, I see. No, I didn't mean that. I always feel sad that homosexual couples are so often unable to have their own children - and I don't mean any political point about adopting, I just mean it's sad that some people don't end up in a situation where they can have their own babies with their partner.
Not to be critical at all, because I do understand (intimately) the sorrow that comes from desiring a child that one cannot have.  However, it's one thing to be unable to have children because something in your body isn't working right.  It's another thing to not be able to have children because God never intended for you to have them that way.  This, to me, is like saying I'm sorry that I can't fly (sans airplane).  God never intended it.  Why are we sorry that God didn't create us differently?  Isn't that an incredible amount of hubris to essentially say that God was wrong in His creation?  I don't mean that in an accusatory way, just trying to make a point.

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I agree that Christ could have done so had He chosen to do.
That's all my point was.  Whether homosexuality was normative or not is really neither here nor there.

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I don't believe He did (see other posts on this thread). But it is (in my humble opinion, shared by a few professors of Classics) not correct to suggest that Christ would have been in accordance with social norms had he blessed homosexual unions.
See above.

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That is fine - as long as we don't end up confusing 'bolstered' with 'proven', as I think is sometimes easy to do.
LOL!  :)  Okay, I think we've come full circle!   :laugh:

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Can I say how much I have been enjoying this discussion? I hope that isn't rude, and maybe it is very tedious for you, but I have had to think and question and work things out all the way - it's a great Advent question and has me constantly thinking about the nature of faith. So, I do hope it's not too obvious for you - I owe you a great deal for your patient and perceptive comments, even if I may not always agree! :)

I, too, have quite enjoyed this.  I actually was thinking before I read your post that I appreciated your patience with my lengthy responses.  I'm nothing if not long-winded, I guess (am I right, KoD?).  You owe me nothing.  Please pray for me.  :)

It's nice to be back on the forum and discussing away...
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 17, 2009, 05:44:15 PM
Nevermind....
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 17, 2009, 05:44:32 PM
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 ;D


Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 17, 2009, 06:00:13 PM
Sure, but this is the same kind of opinion/judgment call that we have to make about the Orthodox Church, too. Did the faith stay the same, or move away from the truth? More to the point, do the historical facts give us enough to be able to make this judgment? I would say they don't - not for you, not for us. We must just trust.
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!

I do accept that. But I think many of the Protestants you refer to were trying to convince you that their Church was right, or at least, equally good. I'm just trying to say that the question of whether or not the Orthodox Church has remained faithful to the first Church is a matter of faith, not fact-proven-by-history.


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Oops, sorry ... I misread you there. Yes, I agree that the church was Catholic after the Schism. However, there are some very interesting things that make the faith as practiced (even by some priests and monastics) particularly 'English' and different from European Catholicism. One of my favourite examples is that, when the Catholic Carthusian monks were told by their General Chapter that they shouldn't be so closely involved with lay people, the English Carthusians instead made sure that they found a proper way for lay people to interact with their spiritual fathers in the monasteries. This was happening in the late middle ages, just before the Reformation - I feel it suggests how the character of faith remained somewhat different from Roman Catholicism, and - I would hope - very true to the origins of the Church.
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This is exactly what I mean.  The faith was different...

Earlier, you objected to my point, saying that in describing an English Church in the late Middle Ages, I was referring to orthodox Roman Catholicism. Now, you object when I say that Christian faith in England shows many differences from late-medieval Roman Catholicism (because it was retaining an older truth). I am confused!


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I have not heard of any Orthodox petitions to return Imperial Roman coinage to Rome.
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I think there's a difference though in what we're talking about.  Retaining the law and literal interpretations of Scripture are two different things with two different results.  That's why I disagree with your example of "rending unto Caesar."  That is a matter of literal interpretation, not retaining of the law.  If the issue there were of retaining the law, then the question would NOT be "is there a petition about returning imperial coinage to Rome," it would be, "do we pay taxes to the government?"  In other words I don't think you are using the proper example to demonstrate what you are trying to say.  "Returning imperial coinage to Rome" means we have literally interpreted the Scriptures, not retained a useless law.  Does this make sense?

It does make sense, but there is no easy way of defining what is literal interpretation, and what is retaining the law. Above, you assume that 'return to Cesar that which is Cesar's' has as a modern-day equivalent the command, 'pay taxes to the government'. But how do I know that the modern-day equivalent of 'marriage is between one man and one woman' isn't 'marriage is a monogamous relationship between persons of various genders'?


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And is Heorhji wrong about the suicide example?
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I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this example.  Or maybe I've just forgotten.  Was this something that was discussed while I've been was way from the forum?  Feel free to fill me in... :)

Well, he can explain better than I can. But his argument (as I understand it) is that, whereas it used to be the custom to condemn suicide as a sin, and to refuse certain customary funeral rites to a suicide, it is not considered appropriate to act with compassion, and to assume that the deceased was not so much sinning, as struggling.


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More importantly, though, there are surely far too many things that Orthodox Churches do now, which have no basis in the Church founded at Pentecost.
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I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific... I will address the ones you give below, though.
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Where did the Apostles decide that one or other calendar was important?
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They didn't, which is what gave the Church the freedom to decide on a more scientifically accurate calculation of the calendar, and why the Churches who didn't accept it are now in schism for retaining the law.  (No offense meant by that to anyone.  Don't want to drag up the debate again, just trying to give a succinct response...)

So, you are saying that it's ok to add in new material on issues that haven't been discussed? Is silence automatically assumed to be a carte blanche, an omission by the Spirit?

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When did they decide that priests should wear vestments of the particular type worn in Orthodox Churches?
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The vestments are descendant from those that the Jewish priests wore.  I'll have to get my husband on this.  He's the vestment guru.  Any of the guys on here who know him will attest to that.  He'll tell you the history, development, and purpose of each piece.  Suffice it to say that they are descendant from the Jewish vestments (which makes sense to me, considering that the apostles and early Christians would have worshiped in the way that they were comfortable and accustomed to).  They developed further because of their purposes.  Each piece had a reason for being. 

And where did this decision to wear Jewish vestments come from? This sounds really interesting! And why are the modern vestments (that I have seen) now not the same as modern Jewish garb? Who changed?


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When and why did they decide that unaccompanied singing was best? That men should wear beards?
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Again, descendant from the Jewish cantor tradition.  The early Christians retained much of their Jewish roots, worshiping in the familiar way, and we have not changed much of that.  As far as instruments, though I am a musician trained in both Western music (years of classical and Broadway style training, currently studying Opera with a voice professor at the University of Georgia) and Byzantine music, I am thoroughly opposed to instruments in the Church.  Not because I don't like them.  I also play the piano a little.  I love instruments.  But I believe they have their place.  The Church is not the place for performance.  It is the place for worship.  Nor is it the place for instruments alone.  The purpose of the music itself is only to carry the words.  The music is a vehicle for the words, that we may pray to and praise God.  When we remove the words, all we have is pointless noise (it might be pretty, but it is still pointless noise).

Thanks, that is interesting. However, while we too have a tradition of intoned words without accompaniment, I don't understand the specific prohibition - surely the OT has examples of accompanied music?



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Who gets to decide which of these are 'trivial' (and therefore, it seems, allowed), and which are 'crucial' innovations?
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That's why the historical continuity and continuity of the faith are essential.  That's why retaining the hierarchy is essential.  That's why remaining a conciliar Church is essential.  That's why receiving the sacraments is essential.  The CHURCH decides. 

Yes, but I came in to this asking why members of the Orthodox Church claim that the truth of their Church is fact (rather than claiming it to be faith). If you end up justifying the factual truth of your Church by citing the Church within the proof, you've invalidated your own proof.


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Ah, yes, I see. No, I didn't mean that. I always feel sad that homosexual couples are so often unable to have their own children - and I don't mean any political point about adopting, I just mean it's sad that some people don't end up in a situation where they can have their own babies with their partner.
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Not to be critical at all, because I do understand (intimately) the sorrow that comes from desiring a child that one cannot have.  However, it's one thing to be unable to have children because something in your body isn't working right.  It's another thing to not be able to have children because God never intended for you to have them that way.  This, to me, is like saying I'm sorry that I can't fly (sans airplane).  God never intended it.  Why are we sorry that God didn't create us differently?  Isn't that an incredible amount of hubris to essentially say that God was wrong in His creation?  I don't mean that in an accusatory way, just trying to make a point.

Of course. I didn't explain well - I guess I just feel sorry myself because I am quite broody for children one day, and feel sad that this isn't something others can do. I know how silly that is, because my cousin was a nun and I am sure she would have explained it much better. It just seems to me that, sometimes (not always, I know there are people who genuinely would never want children in any circumstance), it's not so much that people want to be different and resent the way they were created, it's that they have to put all the energy and love they would have dedicated to children, to something else. In the case of my cousin, it went towards God (and towards us - she was the most loving person). But, I don't think it's an easy path always.


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I agree that Christ could have done so had He chosen to do.
That's all my point was.  Whether homosexuality was normative or not is really neither here nor there.

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I don't believe He did (see other posts on this thread). But it is (in my humble opinion, shared by a few professors of Classics) not correct to suggest that Christ would have been in accordance with social norms had he blessed homosexual unions.
See above.

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That is fine - as long as we don't end up confusing 'bolstered' with 'proven', as I think is sometimes easy to do.
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LOL!  :)  Okay, I think we've come full circle!   :laugh:
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Can I say how much I have been enjoying this discussion? I hope that isn't rude, and maybe it is very tedious for you, but I have had to think and question and work things out all the way - it's a great Advent question and has me constantly thinking about the nature of faith. So, I do hope it's not too obvious for you - I owe you a great deal for your patient and perceptive comments, even if I may not always agree! :)
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I, too, have quite enjoyed this.  I actually was thinking before I read your post that I appreciated your patience with my lengthy responses.  I'm nothing if not long-winded, I guess (am I right, KoD?).  You owe me nothing.  Please pray for me.  :)

It's nice to be back on the forum and discussing away...

Thanks so much for your 'lengthy responses' (hmm ... inevitably, my replies are lengthier!).

God bless you!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 17, 2009, 06:12:16 PM
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 ;D




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 17, 2009, 07:05:04 PM
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 ;D




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 17, 2009, 07:24:40 PM
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.
[/quote]

Where I came in to this, Katherine of Dixie and others were making a good point about the arrogance of certain Baptist/ Evangelical groups they'd come across. These Baptists, apparently, claimed that anyone not a baptized into 'new life' with them was excluded from salvation. This is an arrogant point of view. However, the contrasting claim that the Orthodox Church can be proven to be the identical Church of Pentecost, seems to me equally arrogant. I think we all have blind spots, areas where we're absolutely sure that our own case is so good it requires no real defense. I just thought that, in the context of this thread (finding another religious viewpoint entirely confusing), it's important not to confuse that which is persuasive, and that which is proof (or that which is historically documented, and that which is the Truth).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 17, 2009, 07:28:21 PM
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 ;D




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.

Yeah, I have to admit that I'm confused.  I would not say that any of these are innovations because none is essential to Orthodoxy.  They may be a few changes based on the customs of the culture in which we live, but that's another matter altogether.  We are not of this world as Christians, but we are IN this world, so some allowance for cultural norms is expected.  For instance, I know of Orthodox Churches in Kenya where women go to church shirtless.  In our culture that would be terribly scandalous, immodest to say the least.  There, though, it is considered perfectly acceptable and not the least bit immodest.  That does not change the core of what we believe, and thereby does not endanger our salvation.  But something with as many implications for our salvation as our sexuality and the essence of our unity as man and wife in marriage is much more serious.  Do you see the difference?  
  
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 17, 2009, 07:38:04 PM
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 ;D




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.

Yeah, I have to admit that I'm confused.  I would not say that any of these are innovations because none is essential to Orthodoxy.  They may be a few changes based on the customs of the culture in which we live, but that's another matter altogether.  We are not of this world as Christians, but we are IN this world, so some allowance for cultural norms is expected.  For instance, I know of Orthodox Churches in Kenya where women go to church shirtless.  In our culture that would be terribly scandalous, immodest to say the least.  There, though, it is considered perfectly acceptable and not the least bit immodest.  That does not change the core of what we believe, and thereby does not endanger our salvation.  But something with as many implications for our salvation as our sexuality and the essence of our unity as man and wife in marriage is much more serious.  Do you see the difference? 
 

'Innovation' is not the opposite of 'essential', though. These things are innovations, are they not? Whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy has no bearing on this first question.

However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: FormerReformer on December 17, 2009, 08:00:43 PM
Quote
However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.

You've got that backwards.  Such "innovations" are allowed because they have already been understood to have no bearing on Orthodox essentials, and to be in the spirit of Orthodox practice.

Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

Homosexuality, along with homosexual marriage, denies this image and mars it.  Is it any wonder that in this day and age men imagine that they can "fill" their God with things they want?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GreekChef on December 17, 2009, 08:08:28 PM
Quote
However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.

You've got that backwards.  Such "innovations" are allowed because they have already been understood to have no bearing on Orthodox essentials, and to be in the spirit of Orthodox practice.

Exactly.   8)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 17, 2009, 10:42:31 PM
Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

SEE? Natural Law.

Until recently, theories of a man being born with homosexual tendencies as a Genetic trait, didn't exist. Now one could argue that this is due to modern science. But is this the only reason? And if it is true, and I'm not denying it, the Orthodox Church's teachings on Sin as a disease which corrupts - universally - gives cause to believe that Homosexuality is simply "Sin" (which as we know, means missing the mark - which can be interpreted as a digression from the natural state in which we were created).
Now, in comparison, if these innovations in the church are sinful, one would review the Natural State of the Ancient Church through it's Canons, Fathers and Liturgical Services and be able to determine whether or not things had digressed. If there is no mention, and an innovation has become popular through societal and cultural normatives, symbology or common understanding, and it holds in good standing that that which is being innovated is thought through, not against scripture, canons holy fathers, etc...is meant for Holiness, God's glory and edification for the Human Soul, then it stands to reason that not only is it normal for these changes to take place but a continuity of the young church toward maturity.   
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: FormerReformer on December 18, 2009, 02:11:48 AM
Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

SEE? Natural Law.

Until recently, theories of a man being born with homosexual tendencies as a Genetic trait, didn't exist. Now one could argue that this is due to modern science. But is this the only reason? And if it is true, and I'm not denying it, the Orthodox Church's teachings on Sin as a disease which corrupts - universally - gives cause to believe that Homosexuality is simply "Sin" (which as we know, means missing the mark - which can be interpreted as a digression from the natural state in which we were created).
Now, in comparison, if these innovations in the church are sinful, one would review the Natural State of the Ancient Church through it's Canons, Fathers and Liturgical Services and be able to determine whether or not things had digressed. If there is no mention, and an innovation has become popular through societal and cultural normatives, symbology or common understanding, and it holds in good standing that that which is being innovated is thought through, not against scripture, canons holy fathers, etc...is meant for Holiness, God's glory and edification for the Human Soul, then it stands to reason that not only is it normal for these changes to take place but a continuity of the young church toward maturity.   

Indeed, all modern genetic research has done for me is convince me that there is a very literal meaning to "flesh nature".  The Church's teaching has always been that man inherits his tendency to sin.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 04:35:04 AM
Quote
However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.

You've got that backwards.  Such "innovations" are allowed because they have already been understood to have no bearing on Orthodox essentials, and to be in the spirit of Orthodox practice.

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

Quote
Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

Homosexuality, along with homosexual marriage, denies this image and mars it.  Is it any wonder that in this day and age men imagine that they can "fill" their God with things they want?

I am a bit confused by the pseudo-sexual imagery, which (it seems to me) would apply perfectly well to homosexual male relations too. But I'm not terribly comfortable with this imagery anyway, so perhaps that is something I must think harder about.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 11:53:13 AM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.
 
Liz- It seems to me a matter of theoria, poeisis and praxis. The Christian Church can easily develope within the Orthodox Framework of Dogma and and Theology to new levels of maturity through the practical application of scripture and tradition combined with culture and history, much like a small child developes into a young adult through experience and lessons. Holy scripture negates a change in praxis if theoria contradicts poesis.

So in simple terms, If the traditions of the early church fathers (according to the passed down interpretation from Christ to the Apostles), or Holy Scripture contradict an innovation within the culture of the Church, it's a no go. If it does not contradict, it may be an innovation which is accepted (sometimes needing to be revised later) as a cultural normative of spiritual growth or some form of regional expression of worship (ie. the subject of vestments).

Homosexuality and Non-Marriage Union would contradict scripture based on the interpretation of scripture which was handed down through succession ( and example of the former).

The use of drums and other instruments in Liturgical Worship, would be another example of the latter.

(I agree that there is a certain amount of "bolstered" faith to all this.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 18, 2009, 11:55:26 AM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 01:23:12 PM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 18, 2009, 01:27:06 PM
My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.

"Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence.

Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession." Orthodoxwiki

Does this help?

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 01:39:37 PM
My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.

"Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence.

Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession." Orthodoxwiki

Does this help?



That quotation is such a great way of phrasing it! I like that.

I should have said above, these definitions are very useful in trying to empathize with the Orthodox mindset, and to an extent, I think they ought to help Evangelicals as much as anyone. But nevertheless, that definition of Holy Tradition still rests upon the premise that the Orthodox Church is the True Church of Christ founded at Pentecost and continuing unchanged until the present day. Or would you say it's the other way around, that Holy Tradition is the reason why we know that the Church is the True Church? Either way, this remains a circular argument, not a proof. I should clarify that, personally, I find a good persuasive argument that still requires some faith far better than the 'historical fact = proof' equation some would like to use to justify the Orthodox Church. So, I'm not at all trying to belittle what you're saying by saying it reduces to a circular argument, I just think that it's important that we distinguish between this argument, and a proof.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 01:40:44 PM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
Great Questions KOD!
And Liz - Your patience and pragmatism are refreshing  :)!
On another thread, I just posted a scripture which directly corresponds to this thread - luke 24:27
and to boot I'll give you this one - Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Source Orthowiki - http://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Tradition
"Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession."

So you see, there are traditions which are little "t". And there is Holy Tradition, big "T".

(Hah! KOD beat me to it!);)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 01:43:03 PM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.
 
Liz- It seems to me a matter of theoria, poeisis and praxis. The Christian Church can easily develope within the Orthodox Framework of Dogma and and Theology to new levels of maturity through the practical application of scripture and tradition combined with culture and history, much like a small child developes into a young adult through experience and lessons. Holy scripture negates a change in praxis if theoria contradicts poesis.

So in simple terms, If the traditions of the early church fathers (according to the passed down interpretation from Christ to the Apostles), or Holy Scripture contradict an innovation within the culture of the Church, it's a no go. If it does not contradict, it may be an innovation which is accepted (sometimes needing to be revised later) as a cultural normative of spiritual growth or some form of regional expression of worship (ie. the subject of vestments).

Homosexuality and Non-Marriage Union would contradict scripture based on the interpretation of scripture which was handed down through succession ( and example of the former).

The use of drums and other instruments in Liturgical Worship, would be another example of the latter.

(I agree that there is a certain amount of "bolstered" faith to all this.)

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 01:44:48 PM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
Great Questions KOD!
And Liz - Your patience and pragmatism are refreshing  :)!
On another thread, I just posted a scripture which directly corresponds to this thread - luke 24:27
and to boot I'll give you this one - Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Source Orthowiki - http://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Tradition
"Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession."

So you see, there are traditions which are little "t". And there is Holy Tradition, big "T".

(Hah! KOD beat me to it!);)

Ah, Katherine is quick with the typing always! Btw - hope I don't jinx it, but can I take a moment to observe that we've managed to have a thread where homosexuality was mentioned and DID NOT BECOME THE MAIN SUBJECT! How cool is that?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 01:46:37 PM
I'm sure it is because of the current predominantly female audience. You know how us guys are! :D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 01:50:27 PM
Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 18, 2009, 01:55:57 PM
I'm sure it is because of the current predominantly female audience. You know how us guys are! :D

Ya, no kidding, it's starting to look like a sewing circle in here!  :D ;) ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 01:57:51 PM
Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 02:02:07 PM
Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 18, 2009, 02:11:59 PM
how can one "prove the presence of Spirit?

We got on to this ages ago, discussing why I remain an Evangelical, and me saying because it's where I see the presence and working of God over the centuries. (I was probably told it's only my own opinion about what the work of God is! Suipapalism again!)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 02:22:24 PM
how can one "prove the presence of Spirit?

We got on to this ages ago, discussing why I remain an Evangelical, and me saying because it's where I see the presence and working of God over the centuries. (I was probably told it's only my own opinion about what the work of God is! Suipapalism again!)

Please forgive me if I have offended you ever, in any way, Mr. Young.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 02:32:40 PM
Liz - Let me clarify. My responses seem even cyclical to me. But When I first converted to Orthodoxy, I was skeptical and distrusting of many things. I am in no way a spokesperson for Orthodox Christianity, but a struggling convert in the faith who usually falls short intellectually of grasping the depth that is needed to explain, wholly, the  FAITH.
What is grounded in faith now, for me, used to not be so. Therefore I only try to explain with concepts that are beginning to become a natural understanding with Faith as the foundation. Once upon a time, it was a linear, pragmatic analyzation which brought me to the conclusion that Apostolic Succession, was meet and right. However, for the life of me, it has been long enough that I can not remember exactly what brought me to the conclusion. Someone better equipped than I may be able to expound further on the subject.
So for now, I go back to lurking...
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 02:35:50 PM
Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!

That is what I was getting at! This is why I find it somewhat difficult when people say that the Truth of the Orthodox Church is a matter of 'fact' - it is disrespectful to the Spirit, and strangely out of character, since I tend to find Orthodoxy particularly sensitive to holy mystery.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 02:37:30 PM
Liz - Let me clarify. My responses seem even cyclical to me. But When I first converted to Orthodoxy, I was skeptical and distrusting of many things. I am in no way a spokesperson for Orthodox Christianity, but a struggling convert in the faith who usually falls short intellectually of grasping the depth that is needed to explain, wholly, the  FAITH.
What is grounded in faith now, for me, used to not be so. Therefore I only try to explain with concepts that are beginning to become a natural understanding with Faith as the foundation. Once upon a time, it was a linear, pragmatic analyzation which brought me to the conclusion that Apostolic Succession, was meet and right. However, for the life of me, it has been long enough that I can not remember exactly what brought me to the conclusion. Someone better equipped than I may be able to expound further on the subject.
So for now, I go back to lurking...

Please don't feel you need to justify your explanations, they're really good! I think the processes we go through trying to understand our own faith from the inside tend to result in understand that has a real emotional depth, which straight logic just can't be compared with.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 18, 2009, 02:40:21 PM
Please forgive me if I have offended you ever, in any way, Mr. Young.

Not in the least. Have no fear.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on December 18, 2009, 02:50:13 PM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.

But the confidence in Holy Tradition is based on the presupposition that the efficacy and strength of Christ and the Holy Spirit were strong enough to keep the Church wholly (holy? ;)) preserved without losing His guidance and protection.  You know, the old "the gates of hell not prevailing against it" and whatnot.  This is based on the presupposition that we can trust the words of Christ in the gospel that was canonized by the Orthodox Catholic Church, which gives her (the Church) authority, which is also circular.  We trust the Scriptures that we assign power to.

But ultimately the Orthodox do not see themselves as bestowing power on the Holy Scriptures, but rather that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 03:00:11 PM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.

But the confidence in Holy Tradition is based on the presupposition that the efficacy and strength of Christ and the Holy Spirit were strong enough to keep the Church wholly (holy? ;)) preserved without losing His guidance and protection.

I don't think any Christian would deny the strength of God.

Quote
You know, the old "the gates of hell not prevailing against it" and whatnot.  This is based on the presupposition that we can trust the words of Christ in the gospel that was canonized by the Orthodox Catholic Church, which gives her (the Church) authority, which is also circular.

Aah, but here we have the problem. The words of Christ refer to a Church not yet born, a Church which you believe to be identical with the current Orthodox Church. That is the ground of the problem - how to prove the Spirit remained with what is now the Orthodox Church. Most certainly, a Church was given authority. But again, we have to face the fact that you can't prove the presence of the Spirit.

Quote
We trust the Scriptures that we assign power to.

But ultimately the Orthodox do not see themselves as bestowing power on the Holy Scriptures, but rather that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 18, 2009, 03:25:29 PM
Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!

By the fruit.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 18, 2009, 04:55:43 PM
the Orthodox ... see ... the Holy Scriptures, ... that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.

Which is precisely what we believe, as I have posted probably several times on these stimulating threads.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 05:03:03 PM
Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!

By the fruit.

That is probably the best demonstration. And a much more human one than documentation! I think that, with a few Evangelicals I have met, this is a real difficulty. Some - I stress not all, or even many, but sadly, the most vocal ones did fall into this camp - were very clear that they were saved despite their sins, and therefore I have heard people who have a strange near-pride in what they have done. I've heard the argument, 'I am saved; you should becomes saved in our church' from people who are actively unpleasant to others. I guess some people (of whatever religion) want to be legalistic ... maybe that's all it is.

I don't know if I'm being silly, but it matters to me that we get away from the idea that the Orthodox Church is proven right, and get closer to the idea that there is strong faith among the Orthodox. I know which I am more drawn to.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 18, 2009, 05:07:40 PM
the Orthodox ... see ... the Holy Scriptures, ... that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.

Which is precisely what we believe, as I have posted probably several times on these stimulating threads.

Sorry - I hope I haven't annoyed you on this thread. That was not my intention, and I always read your posts with interest; they often lead to a prolonged period of careful thinking!

May I ask, given what you say above, what is it that distinguishes your beliefs from the Orthodox Church? Feel free to PM if this isn't relevant to the (already, by me, rather confused!) thread.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 18, 2009, 05:51:51 PM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 18, 2009, 06:10:23 PM
Sorry - I hope I haven't annoyed you on this thread.

May I ask, given what you say above, what is it that distinguishes your beliefs from the Orthodox Church?

Not annoyed in the least, and very glad you have joined the forum.

I suppose, putting it very briefly, that five things distinguish Evangelicals from other Christians:

1. an emphasis on the Cross for forgiveness of the guilt of sin (whereas Orthodox tend to emphasise the Resurrection for victory over death and Satan)
2. the scriptures as sufficient, final authority for belief and practice (whereas Orthodox see them as part of Holy Tradition)
3. emphasis on justification and the new birth as coming instantaneously through faith alone (whereas Orthodox stress more the final perfection in glory)
4. a high priority to evangelising the world
5. the doctrine and experience of assurance of salvation (several Orthodox have written on the threads about the absence of this from their beliefs and the spirituality they aim to develop)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 18, 2009, 06:18:45 PM
If ... the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!

I am strongly impressed, reading (if I recall the spelling and title correctly) Jim Forrest's book "The Resurrection of the [Orthodox] Church in Albania", with the way God has done for you exactly the same sort of things as he has also done among us at times of persecution. It is one of those things that persuades me that he is indeed working among you, and acknowledges and loves you as a genuine part of his church. But seeing God living and acting among you does not mean that I feel constrained to leave the Baptist fold and transfer to you, for I believe I see him among us too, and that he also acknowledges and loves us, unworhty as we are, as belonging to the Saviour.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 07:07:57 PM
Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!
I don't think this is a good arguement. Fundamental Religions of all sorts have records of this type of faith. :police:
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 18, 2009, 07:13:28 PM
If ... the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!

I am strongly impressed, reading (if I recall the spelling and title correctly) Jim Forrest's book "The Resurrection of the [Orthodox] Church in Albania", with the way God has done for you exactly the same sort of things as he has also done among us at times of persecution. It is one of those things that persuades me that he is indeed working among you, and acknowledges and loves you as a genuine part of his church. But seeing God living and acting among you does not mean that I feel constrained to leave the Baptist fold and transfer to you, for I believe I see him among us too, and that he also acknowledges and loves us, unworhty as we are, as belonging to the Saviour.
For me, it is much more than "seeing the Lord work in the Church" which helps me draw the conclusion that Orthodoxy is the fullness of the Christian Faith. I have seen enough of the writings of the Early Church to tell me, after finding Orthodoxy, that I gain the Spirit Filled Sacraments for my salvation. This is imporant because I saw God working in my life before I ever found Orthodoxy. Finding the Church was both a culmination of events and the beginning of a new journey.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 19, 2009, 09:17:18 AM
I saw God working in my life before I ever found Orthodoxy. Finding the Church was both a culmination of events and the beginning of a new journey.

May God richly bless you therein throughout life's journey!

I am fascinated by your 'nom de plume'. Germanus was a saint whose ministry was significant in the area where I live (in exile, being myself from Wessex), judging by the number of places named after him; germane and German I understand; but what is germain? (Perhaps it is out of order to ask. No reply is required of course.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cymbyz on December 19, 2009, 02:49:15 PM
The word means "related, relevant," and comes to English via French, whence the spelling.  The name Germanus/Herman/Germain means, "a relative."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 19, 2009, 02:57:43 PM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!


But how can we really know what people believed?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 19, 2009, 03:30:46 PM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!


But how can we really know what people believed?
through the teachings of the Holy Fathers. and utilizing their approach of consensus (what was believed everywhere, by everyone, at all times.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 19, 2009, 03:52:57 PM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!


But how can we really know what people believed?
through the teachings of the Holy Fathers. and utilizing their approach of consensus (what was believed everywhere, by everyone, at all times.)

But you can only make a good guess, surely? On this forum, it's clear that people will agree with a statement (say, 'I believe in the communion of saints'), but they will differ, sometimes quite significantly, in the ways in which they will expand upon that statement. And, even if people pay lip service (in documents and accounts) to a certain kind of faith, how can we tell that it is the same faith their forefathers had? And how can we tell whether the Spirit is still present?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 19, 2009, 04:32:43 PM

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
Great Questions KOD!
And Liz - Your patience and pragmatism are refreshing  :)!
On another thread, I just posted a scripture which directly corresponds to this thread - luke 24:27
and to boot I'll give you this one - Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Source Orthowiki - http://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Tradition
"Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession."

So you see, there are traditions which are little "t". And there is Holy Tradition, big "T".

(Hah! KOD beat me to it!);)

Ah, Katherine is quick with the typing always! Btw - hope I don't jinx it, but can I take a moment to observe that we've managed to have a thread where homosexuality was mentioned and DID NOT BECOME THE MAIN SUBJECT! How cool is that?
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!


But how can we really know what people believed?
through the teachings of the Holy Fathers. and utilizing their approach of consensus (what was believed everywhere, by everyone, at all times.)

But you can only make a good guess, surely? On this forum, it's clear that people will agree with a statement (say, 'I believe in the communion of saints'), but they will differ, sometimes quite significantly, in the ways in which they will expand upon that statement. And, even if people pay lip service (in documents and accounts) to a certain kind of faith, how can we tell that it is the same faith their forefathers had? And how can we tell whether the Spirit is still present?

And nothing about Hitler either.... I shall go away now.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 19, 2009, 04:53:46 PM
But you can only make a good guess, surely? On this forum, it's clear that people will agree with a statement (say, 'I believe in the communion of saints'), but they will differ, sometimes quite significantly, in the ways in which they will expand upon that statement. And, even if people pay lip service (in documents and accounts) to a certain kind of faith, how can we tell that it is the same faith their forefathers had? And how can we tell whether the Spirit is still present?

And nothing about Hitler either.... I shall go away now.

Huh?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Pravoslavbob on December 19, 2009, 05:11:45 PM
Quote
When did they decide that priests should wear vestments of the particular type worn in Orthodox Churches?
The vestments are descendant from those that the Jewish priests wore.  I'll have to get my husband on this.  He's the vestment guru.  Any of the guys on here who know him will attest to that.  He'll tell you the history, development, and purpose of each piece.  Suffice it to say that they are descendant from the Jewish vestments (which makes sense to me, considering that the apostles and early Christians would have worshiped in the way that they were comfortable and accustomed to).  They developed further because of their purposes.  Each piece had a reason for being.  

That's interesting.  If your husband's research on this is ever published, I might like to have a look at it.  Everything that I have read on the subject until now asserts that vestments evolved mainly from the dress of Roman officials and ordinary Roman civilians, and emphatically not from those worn by Jewish priests.  Of course, this is not to say that vestments do not serve a very important purpose.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cymbyz on December 19, 2009, 05:57:37 PM
The vestments are, indeed, based on the design of clothing worn by the Roman upper classes.  The reason for using them harks back to the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 19, 2009, 07:01:10 PM
But you can only make a good guess, surely? On this forum, it's clear that people will agree with a statement (say, 'I believe in the communion of saints'), but they will differ, sometimes quite significantly, in the ways in which they will expand upon that statement. And, even if people pay lip service (in documents and accounts) to a certain kind of faith, how can we tell that it is the same faith their forefathers had? And how can we tell whether the Spirit is still present?

And nothing about Hitler either.... I shall go away now.

Huh?

Sorry.. I thought the joke was obvious..

Someone said that the thread had not degenerated or been side tracked when Hoomosexuality was mentioned.  Another sign that a thread has degenerated is when people compare those they are debating with Hitler or call them Nazi's
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: LBK on December 19, 2009, 07:01:47 PM
But how can we really know what people believed?

Has no-one considered the liturgical and iconographic deposit of the Orthodox Church? So central, yet so often ignored.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: simplygermain on December 19, 2009, 07:09:01 PM
But how can we really know what people believed?

Has no-one considered the liturgical and iconographic deposit of the Orthodox Church? So central, yet so often ignored.
Please explain LBK...This is one of the least talked about subjects when proving the historical authenticity of the Church.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 21, 2009, 10:58:17 AM
This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!


But how can we really know what people believed?
through the teachings of the Holy Fathers. and utilizing their approach of consensus (what was believed everywhere, by everyone, at all times.)

But you can only make a good guess, surely? On this forum, it's clear that people will agree with a statement (say, 'I believe in the communion of saints'), but they will differ, sometimes quite significantly, in the ways in which they will expand upon that statement. And, even if people pay lip service (in documents and accounts) to a certain kind of faith, how can we tell that it is the same faith their forefathers had? And how can we tell whether the Spirit is still present?

It's the same with Scripture - people may have different understandings (after all, we all bring different culture, experiences, knowledge, biases etc. with us) and especially if we "proof-text" one part of Scripture or the Fathers or the other. However, if we read both Scripture and the Fathers in context and especially in the context of what the Church has historically believed, preached, taught and practiced, there is a remarkable consistency and continuity.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 28, 2009, 07:22:02 AM
I could turn the title of this thread round and confess to not understanding the Orthodox mindset, despite many months on the forum. I think I have come to a much clearer understanding of your doctrines – why you believe yours is the true church, Holy Tradition, the perpetual virginity of Mary, prayer to the saints, apostolic succession, infant baptism, the nature of the Eucharist, and probably other beliefs. But I do not feel I have penetrated your piety, spirituality, experience - not your Faith, but your faith.

What I cannot grasp is your concept of salvation being other than “by grace alone” – one of the three solas to be repudiated, according to a recent post on the Evangelical Christmas thread. I am probably not grasping what you are saying.

Whether or not it is relevant here I cannot say, but not all that long ago I tried to explore the teaching on merit with a Catholic nun, but she only replied that this is one of the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, but was unable to explain it.

I seem to have read somewhere that Catholics teach that there is no merit in any of our works, but that God in grace had decided to regard them as if they did in fact carry merit. That at least made some sense, but it may be far from your teachings. I do not know.

You see, occasionally I manage to do something good for no other reason (that I am aware of) than that God requires it: a purely religious motive, out of sheer obedience to God. But most of the time, if I assess my life, it seems shabby and almost unrelievedly substandard. But because as an Evangelical I see myself as a wretched and guilty sinner saved only by grace, only through faith, my lack of satisfactory performance as a Christian does not disturb my sense of security in God’s love, or awareness of  my status as a saved man.

But I get the impression (maybe mistakenly) that you believe that your good works have a contribution to make towards your salvation, and that is what I have so far been unable to understand. It is an idea that is entirely dark to me, closed, curtained off. I suppose if it were explained clearly I might be able to grasp the doctrine, but I cannot imagine the inner spirituality which goes with it.

Put it like this: on the all-too-rare occasions when I manage to do something genuinely out of sheer obedience, maybe even love, to God, if I thought it played some contributory role towards my salvation, I might start feeling quite smug. On the other hand, by looking at my usual standard, I should be driven to despair: good-bye peace with God and the joy of salvation.  To use a colloquial phrase, I can’t work out “how you tick”; that is, I do not understand the Orthodox mindset.

I should be pleased to be enlightened.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 28, 2009, 10:34:55 AM
What I cannot grasp is your concept of salvation being other than “by grace alone” ...
...But I get the impression (maybe mistakenly) that you believe that your good works have a contribution to make towards your salvation, and that is what I have so far been unable to understand. It is an idea that is entirely dark to me, closed, curtained off. I suppose if it were explained clearly I might be able to grasp the doctrine, but I cannot imagine the inner spirituality which goes with it.


I'm not at all sure that I can enlighten anyone! However I think that the problem may lie with differing definitions of salvation. Salvation is more than one's eventual eternal destination (though that is certainly not unimportant). Salvation, in Orthodox understanding, is more than that. If you think of the word salvation carrying all the connotations of the Evangelical understanding of it, along with the idea of sanctification - all of this wrapped up in the word "salvation," then that may help. Also if you try to think of sin not necessarily as a series of wrong or bad acts or decisions, but also as a chronic though ultimately curable disease for which we are receiving treatment, through the Church and its Sacraments. Although naturally all metaphors are ultimately limited when trying to convey what God has done for us!

Salvation is the oft-quoted "God became man so that man could become God" - that is, God made it possible for us to be restored and healed, to become the people He meant us to be, through the life, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We also have the great and unimaginable blessing of being able to cooperate with Him in this process. Or not, as the case may be.

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Tzimis on December 28, 2009, 11:31:36 AM
The reason you don't understand is because your theology is a little off and frankly a little dangerous. In society things happen a certain way. It's just that way and we can't do anything to change it. I'll give you an example. When someone works for an employer they expect to be payed after the work is done. No one is payed prier to the work being done. Naturally. Now when you tell us things like I am saved. We don't understand it because we achen it to being payed for a job we didn't do yet. If we are payed for this job why would we show up? If we are payed why work. Let us rejoice is a tool from the devil my friend. ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 28, 2009, 11:38:03 AM
Here's the best analogy of Orthodox salvation I could come up with. I thought of it one day, and it just "clicked".

Let's take the story of Peter getting out of the boat and walking towards Jesus.  

Peter was startled by seeing someone walking on the water. (as many sinners are startled once God reveals to them the true ugliness of their sin)

Jesus called to Peter to come to him on the water. (as God calls us towards a life in Him)

Peter, in faith, came to him. Peter obviously knew that he wouldn't be able to walk on water by his own. He knew that Jesus had to intervene.  If it wasn't for Christ, he would sink the first step he took and drown shortly thereafter. No doubt, this first step is often the most difficult because of the "leap of faith" that it requires us.

Peter then walked towards Christ.  However, once he started to notice all the waves and the storm around him, he took his focus off of Christ.  He immediately sank.  Christ was eagerly waiting for Peter to call out to him for help, which he did, and with outstretched hand, Christ immediately saved him. (This is analogous to repentance; i.e. falling down and Christ helping us back up)

Two key things here to note.  Christ did not come into the boat, grab Peter, and carry Him out onto the water (which may be similar to a Calvinistic approach to salvation) He called Peter.  Peter was free to obey or disobey. Peter obeyed, and motivated by faith, he began to walk towards Christ. The key here is that he walked. He did his part, all that he is physically able and capable to do. This is obedience to Christ, which he calls all men to. By Peter's belief in Christ, he was able to walk on the water (a clearly superhuman feat) towards Christ. This is likened to the process of theosis, drawing ever more so nearer to Christ and becoming more like Him.

In our lives, we have 3 choices:

1) Stay on the boat (ignore God's call)
2) Come out of the boat, but lose focus on Christ and eventually sink and drown
3) Come out of the boat, walk towards Christ, and when we inevitably lose focus on him, call out to him for repentance to save us so that we can continue walk our walk towards him (running the race set before us)

The view of salvation that you are espousing, David, is that we can have no part in our salvation. This is similar to saying, "I cannot walk out of the boat.  I believe that if I walk out of the boat that I won't drown, but I still am unable to. Please carry me." What would Christ say to such a thing? He would most likely say, use the legs I gave you, and walk towards me. If you sink, I'll help you. This is all Christ asks of us.  Obedience to his call, by faith, and using our God given abilities (e.g. walking) to come to Him.

The Orthodox view of salvation is synergistic.  Both God and man play a role in man's salvation. (although God's contribution is infinitely greater and more significant than ours, nevertheless he still requires that we do our part, that is walk towards Him in faith, call to Him in repentance, etc.).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 28, 2009, 11:40:21 AM

Salvation is the oft-quoted "God became man so that man could become God" - that is, God made it possible for us to be restored and healed, to become the people He meant us to be, through the life, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We also have the great and unimaginable blessing of being able to cooperate with Him in this process. Or not, as the case may be.


[pantheistic disclaimer] Of course, God does not allow us to become who he is in essence, which is entirely unknowable to created beings.  Instead, he unites us to Him by his energies. (grace, mercy, etc.)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 28, 2009, 12:22:49 PM
I could turn the title of this thread round and confess to not understanding the Orthodox mindset, despite many months on the forum. I think I have come to a much clearer understanding of your doctrines – why you believe yours is the true church, Holy Tradition, the perpetual virginity of Mary, prayer to the saints, apostolic succession, infant baptism, the nature of the Eucharist, and probably other beliefs. But I do not feel I have penetrated your piety, spirituality, experience - not your Faith, but your faith.

What I cannot grasp is your concept of salvation being other than “by grace alone” – one of the three solas to be repudiated, according to a recent post on the Evangelical Christmas thread. I am probably not grasping what you are saying.

Whether or not it is relevant here I cannot say, but not all that long ago I tried to explore the teaching on merit with a Catholic nun, but she only replied that this is one of the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, but was unable to explain it.

I seem to have read somewhere that Catholics teach that there is no merit in any of our works, but that God in grace had decided to regard them as if they did in fact carry merit. That at least made some sense, but it may be far from your teachings. I do not know.

You see, occasionally I manage to do something good for no other reason (that I am aware of) than that God requires it: a purely religious motive, out of sheer obedience to God. But most of the time, if I assess my life, it seems shabby and almost unrelievedly substandard. But because as an Evangelical I see myself as a wretched and guilty sinner saved only by grace, only through faith, my lack of satisfactory performance as a Christian does not disturb my sense of security in God’s love, or awareness of  my status as a saved man.

But I get the impression (maybe mistakenly) that you believe that your good works have a contribution to make towards your salvation, and that is what I have so far been unable to understand. It is an idea that is entirely dark to me, closed, curtained off. I suppose if it were explained clearly I might be able to grasp the doctrine, but I cannot imagine the inner spirituality which goes with it.

Put it like this: on the all-too-rare occasions when I manage to do something genuinely out of sheer obedience, maybe even love, to God, if I thought it played some contributory role towards my salvation, I might start feeling quite smug. On the other hand, by looking at my usual standard, I should be driven to despair: good-bye peace with God and the joy of salvation.  To use a colloquial phrase, I can’t work out “how you tick”; that is, I do not understand the Orthodox mindset.

I should be pleased to be enlightened.


I believe part of your confusion lies in your understanding of "works." Works are not just limited to doing charitable deeds (which of course, are always encouraged) but also the participation of the sacraments, prayer, fasting, and reading of scriptures.

In baptism, chrismation, the receiving of the Holy Eucharist, Holy unction (prayers of healing and annointing of oil), marriage, and ordination, we are receiving the life-giving spirit of our Lord. (Obviously not all of us are privy to marriage and ordination, and they are obviously not required for salvation, however they are beneficial to the soul nevertheless.)

In St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he writes, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, New King James Version)

As anyone who has watched the summer Olympics or participated in Track & Field in High School knows, a race is not won in a single step. Nor is it won in a single day. It is months of training, planning, discipline, and endurance that enables one to win a race.

It is the same with the state of our souls.

Just as a runner trains under the guidance of a coach and trainer to discipline the mind and the body, the Orthodox Christian "trains" under the guidance of their Spiritual Father and through prayer, faith, fasting, and participation in the sacraments works towards winning the Race for Eternal Salvation.

This is what we mean by "works."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on December 28, 2009, 10:46:06 PM
I could turn the title of this thread round and confess to not understanding the Orthodox mindset, despite many months on the forum. I think I have come to a much clearer understanding of your doctrines – why you believe yours is the true church, Holy Tradition, the perpetual virginity of Mary, prayer to the saints, apostolic succession, infant baptism, the nature of the Eucharist, and probably other beliefs. But I do not feel I have penetrated your piety, spirituality, experience - not your Faith, but your faith.

What I cannot grasp is your concept of salvation being other than “by grace alone” – one of the three solas to be repudiated, according to a recent post on the Evangelical Christmas thread. I am probably not grasping what you are saying.

Whether or not it is relevant here I cannot say, but not all that long ago I tried to explore the teaching on merit with a Catholic nun, but she only replied that this is one of the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, but was unable to explain it.

I seem to have read somewhere that Catholics teach that there is no merit in any of our works, but that God in grace had decided to regard them as if they did in fact carry merit. That at least made some sense, but it may be far from your teachings. I do not know.

You see, occasionally I manage to do something good for no other reason (that I am aware of) than that God requires it: a purely religious motive, out of sheer obedience to God. But most of the time, if I assess my life, it seems shabby and almost unrelievedly substandard. But because as an Evangelical I see myself as a wretched and guilty sinner saved only by grace, only through faith, my lack of satisfactory performance as a Christian does not disturb my sense of security in God’s love, or awareness of  my status as a saved man.

But I get the impression (maybe mistakenly) that you believe that your good works have a contribution to make towards your salvation, and that is what I have so far been unable to understand. It is an idea that is entirely dark to me, closed, curtained off. I suppose if it were explained clearly I might be able to grasp the doctrine, but I cannot imagine the inner spirituality which goes with it.

Put it like this: on the all-too-rare occasions when I manage to do something genuinely out of sheer obedience, maybe even love, to God, if I thought it played some contributory role towards my salvation, I might start feeling quite smug. On the other hand, by looking at my usual standard, I should be driven to despair: good-bye peace with God and the joy of salvation.  To use a colloquial phrase, I can’t work out “how you tick”; that is, I do not understand the Orthodox mindset.

I should be pleased to be enlightened.


Our views of Salvation is a key difference between us. We see your idea as highly legalistic. A deal is struck with the Lord. There is an exchange of value. You give your consent and God grants you entrance into some form of eternal life ( the concept of Eternal Life to Protestants seems to vary from sect to sect).

Orthodox Christians see Salvation as a process of Theosis, becoming like Christ. The hope is  that we are made worthy to be with God in the afterlife and experience his energies......
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 29, 2009, 07:53:50 AM
The hope is  that we are made worthy to be with God in the afterlife and experience his energies

But that is what I cannot understand. I hasten to add that I am not being awkward or polemical, but striving to understand what you mean. How can you think about being worthy without either becoming smug, because you reckon you're doing pretty well, or despairing, because you reckon you are failing miserably? As Evangelicals we look to Christ and his merits alone to save us, but you come over as if you are looking - partly at least - to your own merits. This is why our sceme is sometimes called sola gratia (with long a's, meaning "only by grace").

Other things, which the previous post (Handmaiden, I seem to remember) says you call "works", are largely done by us also, such as baptism, the Lord's Supper, fasting (though this is usually done in secret, so I do not know how many actually do it), works of mercy, etc etc, and of course they contribute to our growth towards maturity as believers, to our conformity with the image of Christ, but they flow out of our salvation ("work out your salvation with fear and trembling"), from gratitude, love, obedience to God. God has also graciously promised to reward faithful service, so they lead to rewards (in addition to salvation itself) in eternity, usually viewed in terms of the privilege of greater service for the Lord. But salvation, to us, is a gift purchased solely by Christ's merits, and received solely through faith.

Can you at least see why we fail to understand you? And why so many Evangelicals make the assumption that you are not really saved at all? If you can bear to, please try again to make me understand you!

I also hasten to add that this has nothing to do with a belief in OSAS (once saved, always saved), which is a quite different matter, as I may attempt to explain later.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on December 29, 2009, 09:16:33 AM
...How can you think about being worthy without either becoming smug, because you reckon you're doing pretty well, or despairing, because you reckon you are failing miserably? As Evangelicals we look to Christ and his merits alone to save us, but you come over as if you are looking - partly at least - to your own merits....
Other things, which the previous post (Handmaiden, I seem to remember) says you call "works", are largely done by us also, such as baptism, the Lord's Supper, fasting..., works of mercy, etc etc, and of course they contribute to our growth towards maturity as believers, to our conformity with the image of Christ, but they flow out of our salvation ("work out your salvation with fear and trembling"), from gratitude, love, obedience to God. God has also graciously promised to reward faithful service, so they lead to rewards (in addition to salvation itself) in eternity, usually viewed in terms of the privilege of greater service for the Lord. But salvation, to us, is a gift purchased solely by Christ's merits, and received solely through faith.

I understand exactly what you mean by the two extremes of smugness and despair. As Orthodox Christians, we are keenly aware that we live between two worlds - even the physical arrangement of our churches teaches us that. This tension plays out in many aspects of our devotional life. Every morning I pray, "O God, cleanse me, a sinner, for I have never done anything good in Thy sight; deliver me from the evil one, and may thy will be in me, that I may open my unworthy mouth without condemnation, and praise Thy holy Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen."
"...never done anything good" reminds me that I can't please God out of my own merits, but does that mean I can never do anything that pleases Him? No, certainly not. Have you ever had a three-year old bring you his crayon drawn masterpiece? It's not worthy of a place in a major art gallery - but someday his drawings may become that as that child grows and matures.

And David, that's precisely what my salvation is all about - that I will become the man God created me to be: free from my own sin and "the evil things of this world" (from another daily prayer). I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me. I follow the instructions that are given to me - the works that you referred to earlier - because they teach me what I need to do in order to grow as a Christian. Like you, my salvation ultimately depends solely on the mercy of God.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 29, 2009, 10:12:52 AM
I understand exactly what you mean by the two extremes of smugness and despair. As Orthodox Christians, we are keenly aware that we live between two worlds - even the physical arrangement of our churches teaches us that. This tension plays out in many aspects of our devotional life. Every morning I pray, "O God, cleanse me, a sinner, for I have never done anything good in Thy sight; deliver me from the evil one, and may thy will be in me, that I may open my unworthy mouth without condemnation, and praise Thy holy Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen."
"...never done anything good" reminds me that I can't please God out of my own merits, but does that mean I can never do anything that pleases Him? No, certainly not. Have you ever had a three-year old bring you his crayon drawn masterpiece? It's not worthy of a place in a major art gallery - but someday his drawings may become that as that child grows and matures.

And David, that's precisely what my salvation is all about - that I will become the man God created me to be: free from my own sin and "the evil things of this world" (from another daily prayer). I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me. I follow the instructions that are given to me - the works that you referred to earlier - because they teach me what I need to do in order to grow as a Christian. Like you, my salvation ultimately depends solely on the mercy of God.

Beautifully put!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 29, 2009, 11:00:14 AM
And David, that's precisely what my salvation is all about - that I will become the man God created me to be: free from my own sin and "the evil things of this world" (from another daily prayer). I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me. I follow the instructions that are given to me - the works that you referred to earlier - because they teach me what I need to do in order to grow as a Christian. Like you, my salvation ultimately depends solely on the mercy of God.

Amen!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 29, 2009, 11:36:20 AM


But that is what I cannot understand. I hasten to add that I am not being awkward or polemical, but striving to understand what you mean. How can you think about being worthy without either becoming smug, because you reckon you're doing pretty well, or despairing, because you reckon you are failing miserably? As Evangelicals we look to Christ and his merits alone to save us, but you come over as if you are looking - partly at least - to your own merits. This is why our sceme is sometimes called sola gratia (with long a's, meaning "only by grace").



Our pride is suppressed by submitting to the authority of our spiritual father. OTOH, David, I would find it difficult not to be prideful if I read the bible and thought that my interpretation is superior than those who have gone long before me and who were much holier than I. This is exactly what the Baptists or any other evangelical sect do, who ignore/deny the teachings and biblical interpretations of the early church fathers. In fact, I have seen this type of smugness all too often about having the "right interpretation" (often about things that don't matter to our salvation, such as eschatology), even amongst my own family members. How could one not be prideful when possessing the power to be your own pope?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on December 29, 2009, 04:15:19 PM
Just read this and it reminded me of this thread:
“…When God created humanity He didn’t finish the job. As Orthodox Christians we believe that humanity was created in the image of God according to His likeness. In other words, we were a “work in progress” waiting for completion by God...Unity with God, or being in communion with God, is what life is all about. Communion with God is at the very center of our theology and has been the kernel of Christian doctrine from the very first days of the Church and we achieve communion by being baptized, chrismated and receiving Holy Communion. Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in My, and I in him.” (John 6.56) We are joined to Christ in our Baptism and maintain that unity in Holy Communion.

…Today we celebrate the birth of God my dear brothers and sisters and we have been welcomed into His House for all eternity. Today we celebrate with the Magi and bow down and worship Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Today God has saved us from the turmoil and oppression of a world that hates God. Today God has saved us from our sinful desires and granted us the blessing to become partakers of His divine nature. And that….is a reason to celebrate!
Christ is Born; Glorify Him!
Posted by Fr. Athanasios C Haros
http://www.papaharos.blogspot.com/
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on December 29, 2009, 04:50:46 PM
I should be pleased to be enlightened.
Simple. We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 29, 2009, 05:39:20 PM
One other thing, David. I believe you previously mentioned that you do not subscribe to the "OSAS" doctrine of salvation (Once Saved, Always Saved). That is, you believe one must persevere in the faith in order to obtain grace leading to salvation; a simple one time proclamation is not sufficient. Yet, you also say that one is saved apart from any action on their own or cooperation with the grace of God.

Now, I think you would agree that faith without action is dead (or useless). Therefore, one must possess an active faith (that is, faith which leads to good works) in order to be saved. If this is so, how then is one's faith not justified (or made effective) by their actions (or, how they live out the faith)?

Secondly, isn't persevering in the faith considered a "work" in of itself, strictly speaking? Surely we are not to passively wait for God to provide us with faith; we have to work (or cooperate with Him) to obtain it, do we not?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on December 29, 2009, 06:12:19 PM
One other thing, David. I believe you previously mentioned that you do not subscribe to the "OSAS" doctrine of salvation (Once Saved, Always Saved). That is, you believe one must persevere in the faith in order to obtain grace leading to salvation; a simple one time proclamation is not sufficient. Yet, you also say that one is saved apart from any action on their own or cooperation with the grace of God.

Now, I think you would agree that faith without action is dead (or useless). Therefore, one must possess an active faith (that is, faith which leads to good works) in order to be saved. If this is so, how then is one's faith not justified (or made effective) by their actions (or, how they live out the faith)?

Secondly, isn't persevering in the faith considered a "work" in of itself, strictly speaking? Surely we are not to passively wait for God to provide us with faith; we have to work (or cooperate with Him) to obtain it, do we not?

That is a really good point, that faith itself is a 'work'. Maybe if we thought of the need to strive (rather than to 'work'), it would be more convincing to people of David's persuasion? I mean, I certainly don't see 'good works' as necessarily being outwardly obvious - sometimes it's a great good work to reform your own impulses and try to live a more godly life. It's unfortunate that the word 'work' doesn't carry the same connotations in modern English (pace Philip Larkin) as, say, 'laborare' does in Latin.

Maybe I should put this on the language forum, but are there more satisfying words than 'work' in other Christian languages? What connotations does the phrase 'good works' have in Greek or Russian, anyone know?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on December 29, 2009, 07:16:12 PM
I think the problem (David's inability to understand the Orthodox position or piety) stems from differing understandings of the words and concepts that have been bandied about. I looked up the Wikipedia article on justification and found out that, except for OSAS Baptists, everybody else believes that, however one defines justification, there is always a life-long effort (labor/working/process) of making sure that one does not throw away one's salvation. In short, the beginning makes the end real for the believer but does not ensure it. We only have the assurance that--to put it in David's terminology--once we are saved we have the assurance that our faith and resultant efforts will eventually result in the full realization of our salvation. In this instance, Ortho-cat's example of Peter walking on water is truly a great practical example of what I am talking about. As with Peter, there is nothing that we do that justifies us. As with Peter, we are saved from drowning only through God's grace and our faith. God's grace underlines all but is not the only factor: Peter had to believe and walk on that water and, once his faith or attention faltered, had to believe yet again. He had to continue to strive, to work, to labor, to be an actor in the unfolding drama of his salvation.

I must say to David that you may be struggling so much in understanding our POV (which ever so close to yours) because you are approaching a major decision point: do I or do I not let my fascination with Orthodoxy bloom into something more than  intellectual ruminations and jousting?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on December 29, 2009, 07:41:03 PM
I should be pleased to be enlightened.
Simple. We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.

Synergism: Working together, the act of cooperation. In referring to the New Testament, synergism is the idea of being "workers together with" God (2Cor 6:1); or of working "out our own salvation...for it is God who works in you" (Phil 2:12-13). This is not a cooperation between "equals", but finite man working together with Almighty God. Nor does synergism suggest working for, or earning, salvation. God offers salvation by His grace and man's ability to cooperate also is a grace. Therefore, man responds to salvation through cooperation with God's grace in a living faith, righteous works and rejection of evil (James 2:14-26).  (From the Glossary of the Orthodox Study Bible)

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Asteriktos on December 29, 2009, 07:51:58 PM
I should be pleased to be enlightened.
Simple. We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.

You're very close. But then you're a no name laymen, so I don't expect you to get things exactly right  :P
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rosehip on December 29, 2009, 08:19:08 PM
Quote
Can you at least see why we fail to understand you? And why so many Evangelicals make the assumption that you are not really saved at all? If you can bear to, please try again to make me understand you!

Even when I was an Evangelical, I found such assumptions simply incredible. Just one look at the lives of those who made such assumptions told me they were in no position to be making them and therefore, I could no longer accept their judgments. The funny thing was, they were always too  busy calling others out for their faults to notice the sturdy logs in their own eyes. And the presumption and pomposity attending to this mentality made such people so difficult to be around as human beings-simply insufferable.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on December 29, 2009, 08:25:04 PM
Quote
Can you at least see why we fail to understand you? And why so many Evangelicals make the assumption that you are not really saved at all? If you can bear to, please try again to make me understand you!

Even when I was an Evangelical, I found such assumptions simply incredible. Just one look at the lives of those who made such assumptions told me they were in no position to be making them and therefore, I could no longer accept their judgments. The funny thing was, they were always too  busy calling others out for their faults to notice the sturdy logs in their own eyes. And the presumption and pomposity attending to this mentality made such people so difficult to be around as human beings-simply insufferable.

Indeed.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on December 29, 2009, 08:38:16 PM
David,

These pages on the process of salvation, by Timothy Copple, might be of help.

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-Blood Sacrifices and Forgiveness

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-Creation and the Fall

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-Faith and Works in Orthodoxy

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-The Atonement
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on December 29, 2009, 09:45:43 PM
The hope is  that we are made worthy to be with God in the afterlife and experience his energies

But that is what I cannot understand. I hasten to add that I am not being awkward or polemical, but striving to understand what you mean. How can you think about being worthy without either becoming smug, because you reckon you're doing pretty well, or despairing, because you reckon you are failing miserably? As Evangelicals we look to Christ and his merits alone to save us, but you come over as if you are looking - partly at least - to your own merits. This is why our sceme is sometimes called sola gratia (with long a's, meaning "only by grace").

Other things, which the previous post (Handmaiden, I seem to remember) says you call "works", are largely done by us also, such as baptism, the Lord's Supper, fasting (though this is usually done in secret, so I do not know how many actually do it), works of mercy, etc etc, and of course they contribute to our growth towards maturity as believers, to our conformity with the image of Christ, but they flow out of our salvation ("work out your salvation with fear and trembling"), from gratitude, love, obedience to God. God has also graciously promised to reward faithful service, so they lead to rewards (in addition to salvation itself) in eternity, usually viewed in terms of the privilege of greater service for the Lord. But salvation, to us, is a gift purchased solely by Christ's merits, and received solely through faith.

Can you at least see why we fail to understand you? And why so many Evangelicals make the assumption that you are not really saved at all? If you can bear to, please try again to make me understand you!

I also hasten to add that this has nothing to do with a belief in OSAS (once saved, always saved), which is a quite different matter, as I may attempt to explain later.

The reason why you are confused is because you are equating Hard Augustinianism with what Saint Paul said in Scripture.

Now your understanding of things is slightly different from Saint Augustine's......it's a more modified form of Saint Augustine's later ideas. But this is where you will have to start.

You should compare what was tought before the time of Saint Augustine with what Saint Augustine tought later in life. You should also compare his earlier works with his later works, as well as compering his later views to those of the East around the same time period.

Then you should look at how Protestantism differs from Saint Augustine, and how the Baptists differ from other protestants when it comes to this issue.

Then you will understand why we differ.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAlCze3ZFjA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAlCze3ZFjA) (Are you saved? - an Orthodox Christian answer)










ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Rafa999 on December 29, 2009, 09:58:30 PM
That's definitely true, the whole original sin thing for instance was never ever taught in the East and Augustine was anathematized by the COE for this doctrine. The COE dealt with manichaeism in depth and saw a hint of that doctrine in Augustine's theology. From what I know the anathema was lifted as an act of goodwill by the COE (before anybody asks).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on December 29, 2009, 10:09:15 PM
That's definitely true, the whole original sin thing for instance was never ever taught in the East and Augustine was anathematized by the COE for this doctrine. The COE dealt with manichaeism in depth and saw a hint of that doctrine in Augustine's theology. From what I know the anathema was lifted as an act of goodwill by the COE (before anybody asks).

Hey,

You should check this out:
http://www.dissertation.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1581120176 (http://www.dissertation.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1581120176) (Augustine, Manichaeism and the Good)

(http://www.bookpump.com/dissertation/covers/1581120176a.jpg)





I'm sure you will like it.










ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on December 30, 2009, 06:20:16 AM
I should be pleased to be enlightened.
Simple. We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.

You're very close. But then you're a no name laymen, so I don't expect you to get things exactly right  :P

Absolutely. My opinion is worth squat.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on December 30, 2009, 08:16:51 AM
I should be pleased to be enlightened.
Simple. We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.

You're very close. But then you're a no name laymen, so I don't expect you to get things exactly right  :P

Absolutely. My opinion is worth squat.

Well, I wouldn't say that!  ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on December 30, 2009, 09:35:47 AM
These posts are full of informative and stimulating material, both in what they say and in the other writings they point to. It'll take ages to digest it. If I make no immediate reply - or even if in the end no reply at all seems called for - please don't think I am ignoring your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts. Many thanks.

DMY
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 01, 2010, 04:16:25 AM
We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.


Indeed! And virtually all of Evangelical &/or Protestant Christianity agrees with you as stated.  ;) ;D


Happy New Year all!
Thought I'd drop a line to let y'all know I'm still around from time to time.  8)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 01, 2010, 04:19:54 AM
I looked up the Wikipedia article on justification and found out that, except for OSAS Baptists, everybody else believes that, however one defines justification, there is always a life-long effort (labor/working/process) of making sure that one does not throw away one's salvation.

Cue Wesley's quote in my sig line.  ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 01, 2010, 04:34:23 AM
From what I understand Methodists and Wesleyans have historically placed stong emphasis on a life-long sanctification; much more than any Evangelicals I have known. But then Evangelical doctrines are vastly varied, I suppose. Anyway, after reading Wesleyan views on deification, the Wesleyan doctrince of sanctification is, IIRC, very similar to and perhaps somewhat equivalent to the Orthodox concept of theosis.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Asteriktos on January 01, 2010, 04:42:40 AM
We are saved by Grace through Faith expressed in Works.

Indeed! And virtually all of Evangelical &/or Protestant Christianity agrees with you as stated.  ;) ;D

Happy New Year all!
Thought I'd drop a line to let y'all know I'm still around from time to time.  8)

Happy New Year indeed :)  As you say, many Protestants could agree with the idea that was expressed... but for an Orthodox viewpoint, I don't think it goes far enough. Whether you talk about the cleansing of the nous, the healing of the soul, the restoring of the likeness to God, or however you want to put it, many Orthodox would argue that works are more than just an expression of something, and that they actually have an active role in the salvific process. When speaking of being justified, it makes sense to say that we cannot be saved by works, for we could never work our way to salvation on our own merits (as the epistles of Paul were talking about). But when speaking of salvation as a process of the healing/cleaning/restoring of a soul, over the course of a lifetime and beyond, then the place of works in helping that process along comes more into focus (as the epistle of James was talking about).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 01, 2010, 11:26:13 AM
From what I understand Methodists and Wesleyans have historically placed stong emphasis on a life-long sanctification; much more than any Evangelicals I have known. But then Evangelical doctrines are vastly varied, I suppose. Anyway, after reading Wesleyan views on deification, the Wesleyan doctrince of sanctification is, IIRC, very similar to and perhaps somewhat equivalent to the Orthodox concept of theosis.

Methodists and Wesleyans can be "evangelical" too. Infact, alot of groups can, but here is a short list of the many different kinds of evangelicals:

Quote
Quote:
"Subculture Evangelical Groups


1.) Fundamentalist evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Personal and ecclesiastical separationism; biblicism

Symbols:
Bob Jones University; American Council of Christian Churches; Sword of the Lord



2.) Dispensational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Dispensational hermeneutics; pretribulationalism and premillenarianism

Symbols:
Dallas Theological Seminary; Moody Bible Institute; Moody monthly; Moody press



3.) Conservative evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Cooperative evangelism; inclusive of all evangelical groups; broad theological base

Symbols:
Wheaton college; Trinity Seminary; Gordon-Conwell Seminary; Christianity today; Billy Graham; Zondervan Corporation; National Association of Evangelicals



4.) Nondenominational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Unity of the Church; restoration of New Testament Christianity

Symbols:
Milligan College



5.) Reformed evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Calvinism (with a decidedly Puritan flavor); covenant theology and hermeneutics

Symbols:
Calvin College and Seminary; Westminster Seminary; Covenant Seminary; Reformed Seminary; Francis Schaeffer



6.) Anabaptist evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Discipleship; poverty; the peace movement; pacifism

Symbols:
Goshen College; Reba Place Fellowship; John Howard Yoder



7.) Wesleyan evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Arminianism; sanctification

Symbols:
Asbury College and Seminary; Seattle Pacific College



8.) Holiness evangelicalism
Major Emphasis:
The second work of grace Gift of tongues

Symbols:
Lee College; Nazarene Church



9.) Pentecostal evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Gift of Tongues

Symbols:
Church of God; Assembly of God



10.) Charismatic evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Symbols:
Oral Roberts University; Melodyland School of Theology



11.) Black evangelicalism
Major Emphasis:
Black consciousness

Symbols:
National Association of Black Evangelicals



12.) Progressive evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Openness toward critical scholarship and ecumenical relations

Symbols:
Fuller Seminary



13.) Radical evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Moral, social, and political consciousness

Symbols:
Sojourners; The Other Side; Wittenburg Door



14.) Mainline evangelicalism:

Major Emphasis:
Historic consciousness at least back to the Reformation

Symbols:
Movements in major denominations: Methodist, Lutheran, Prespyterian, Episcopal, Baptist

[1] pages 24-25







ICXC NIKA

[1] pages 24-25 from the book "A high view of scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon" by Craig D. Allert from the Evangelical Ressourcement Ancient Source for the Church's Future
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 01, 2010, 02:31:53 PM
With all due respect Jnorm, that list consists of overlapping groups and emphasis. As such it does not necessarily represent clearly distinct and separate branches of Evangelicalism. But yes, there are various groups and divisions of interest (including lesser doctrinal variance) within the movement. However, I'd like to try and define or describe what an Evangelical is, despite the tribe in which they camp.

Evangelical is a term applied to those who affirm the primary doctrines revealed in the Scriptures and who emphasis the necessity of personal conversion or of being “born again”. Such doctrines include (1) the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; (2) the Trinity; (3) the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; (4) His ministry, teachings, and miracles; (5) His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father; (6) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) the sinfulness of man, (8 ) Justification by faith, and of personal repentance, (9) the second coming of Christ; and (10) the spiritual unity of all believers in Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 01, 2010, 02:36:58 PM
Oddly, the forum cut me off and would allow me to post no more above. hence my 2nd reply. My apologies for the unwanted division.

At any rate ... as such the basic statement of faith for any evangelical group would look something like this:


I'm sure several of you know this already, from first hand experience no doubt. Nevertheless, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what an Evangelical is, so I thought it a good idea to share a self description seeing I am one among their number. ;-)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 01, 2010, 02:48:20 PM
I'd like to express my agreement with Cleopas, and to add emphasis to the matters which we emphasise more than you Orthodox, or in which we differ from you:

Evangelical is a term applied to those who ... emphasise the necessity of personal conversion or of being “born again”. ... (1) the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; (2) the Trinity; (3) the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; (4) His ministry, teachings, and miracles; (5) His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father; (6) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) the sinfulness of man, (8) Justification by faith, and of personal repentance, (9) the second coming of Christ; and (10) the spiritual unity of all believers in Jesus Christ.

I would add assurance of present salvation - but I suspect this is included in Cleopas' "the present ministry of the Holy Spirit".
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 01, 2010, 04:20:05 PM
Oddly, the forum cut me off and would allow me to post no more above. hence my 2nd reply. My apologies for the unwanted division.

At any rate ... as such the basic statement of faith for any evangelical group would look something like this:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose enabling and indwelling the Christian is empowered to live a godly life, to be an effective witness, and to work the supernatural works of Christ.

    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation and everlasting punishment.

    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sure several of you know this already, from first hand experience no doubt. Nevertheless, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what an Evangelical is, so I thought it a good idea to share a self description seeing I am one among their number. ;-)
Cleopas I do appreciate that you are trying to clarify the word "Evangelical". You are quite right that it often seems to be misunderstood on this board. And yes, it is something of a catch-all term that covers a larger variety of doctrinal positions that doesn't seem to be grasped by many here. I spent 50+ years as an Evangelical in the Free Methodist denomination. I have the greatest regard for the historical teachings of Wesleyan theology and for the people who loved and cared for me for so many years. It surprises me how much my thinking has changed in the six years of becoming and being an Orthodox Christian.

I think what jars me most about your list is that you put the Bible in #1 position. I don't know if that is deliberate or even conscious on your part, but I have seen that done in doctrinal statements of denominations and parachurch organizations. It comes across to me now that you derive your understanding of God from the Bible and it's getting harder to understand how you see yourselves as different from the Moslems with the Koran that defines God for them, or the Mormons whose golden tablets produced their beliefs. As an Orthodox Christian, I see the Bible as the record of God at work within His people, whether Israel in the Old Testament or the Church in the New Testament. God comes first - our understanding of the Bible comes from Him, not the other way around. While I doubt that either of us will deny what the other is saying, there is a real difference in emphasis.

I know that your list is not a formal statement, and although you emphasize quite correctly the divinity of Christ, you are rather vague on His humanity. It was in Orthodoxy that I came to understand better what the Incarnation IS (not WAS) all about. Unless Jesus is (not was) as human as I am, He cannot save me. Being introduced to Him as a human being has enlivened and enriched my relationship with Him.

So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 01, 2010, 04:24:00 PM


So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 01, 2010, 04:29:20 PM


So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 01, 2010, 07:44:02 PM


So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.

An interesting parallel. Conventional thinking says that, unless one is a child below a certain level of development, the 'new' language can only become 'primary' to a degree. The old language remains, and even if it is not used by the conscious mind, the evidence is that the mental pathways created by the old language remain the brain's natural pathways.

I wonder if the same is so for religion?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 01, 2010, 07:55:14 PM
With all due respect Jnorm, that list consists of overlapping groups and emphasis. As such it does not necessarily represent clearly distinct and separate branches of Evangelicalism. But yes, there are various groups and divisions of interest (including lesser doctrinal variance) within the movement. However, I'd like to try and define or describe what an Evangelical is, despite the tribe in which they camp.

Evangelical is a term applied to those who affirm the primary doctrines revealed in the Scriptures and who emphasis the necessity of personal conversion or of being “born again”. Such doctrines include (1) the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; (2) the Trinity; (3) the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; (4) His ministry, teachings, and miracles; (5) His atoning death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father; (6) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit; (7) the sinfulness of man, (8 ) Justification by faith, and of personal repentance, (9) the second coming of Christ; and (10) the spiritual unity of all believers in Jesus Christ.

I thought the short list did a good job.

And in modern protestant history, the term "Evangelical" was just another name for "Lutherian". Eventually it started to be associated or used by other protestant groups.

What you are talking about is protestant fundamentalism, which started a hundred and something years ago. You see, evangelicalism split in two when "higher criticism" took over the seminaries. The liberal evangical wing bought into "modernism" and started to focus more on what is called the social gospel, while the conservative evangelicals focused on 5 fundamentals, and they faded away from both higher learning and society.


The kids of the fundies brought back the name "evangelical", started a bunch of new evangelical schools of higher learning, and this is what most people mean in America when the term is used.








ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 01, 2010, 08:01:15 PM
Oddly, the forum cut me off and would allow me to post no more above. hence my 2nd reply. My apologies for the unwanted division.

At any rate ... as such the basic statement of faith for any evangelical group would look something like this:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose enabling and indwelling the Christian is empowered to live a godly life, to be an effective witness, and to work the supernatural works of Christ.

    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation and everlasting punishment.

    We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sure several of you know this already, from first hand experience no doubt. Nevertheless, there seems to be some misunderstanding about what an Evangelical is, so I thought it a good idea to share a self description seeing I am one among their number. ;-)
Cleopas I do appreciate that you are trying to clarify the word "Evangelical". You are quite right that it often seems to be misunderstood on this board. And yes, it is something of a catch-all term that covers a larger variety of doctrinal positions that doesn't seem to be grasped by many here. I spent 50+ years as an Evangelical in the Free Methodist denomination. I have the greatest regard for the historical teachings of Wesleyan theology and for the people who loved and cared for me for so many years. It surprises me how much my thinking has changed in the six years of becoming and being an Orthodox Christian.

I think what jars me most about your list is that you put the Bible in #1 position. I don't know if that is deliberate or even conscious on your part, but I have seen that done in doctrinal statements of denominations and parachurch organizations. It comes across to me now that you derive your understanding of God from the Bible and it's getting harder to understand how you see yourselves as different from the Moslems with the Koran that defines God for them, or the Mormons whose golden tablets produced their beliefs. As an Orthodox Christian, I see the Bible as the record of God at work within His people, whether Israel in the Old Testament or the Church in the New Testament. God comes first - our understanding of the Bible comes from Him, not the other way around. While I doubt that either of us will deny what the other is saying, there is a real difference in emphasis.

I know that your list is not a formal statement, and although you emphasize quite correctly the divinity of Christ, you are rather vague on His humanity. It was in Orthodoxy that I came to understand better what the Incarnation IS (not WAS) all about. Unless Jesus is (not was) as human as I am, He cannot save me. Being introduced to Him as a human being has enlivened and enriched my relationship with Him.

So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

He is confusing "evangelicalism with the fundamentalist movement. They started the 5 key doctrinal issues s some 100 and someyears ago.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: sandersjp on January 01, 2010, 09:44:05 PM
???4.) Nondenominational evangelicalism:
Major Emphasis:
Unity of the Church;" restoration of New Testament Christianity"

Symbols:
Milligan College
Are there all going to become Orthodox?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 01, 2010, 11:06:31 PM


So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.

An interesting parallel. Conventional thinking says that, unless one is a child below a certain level of development, the 'new' language can only become 'primary' to a degree. The old language remains, and even if it is not used by the conscious mind, the evidence is that the mental pathways created by the old language remain the brain's natural pathways.

I wonder if the same is so for religion?
Liz, I did make the comparison based on my own language experience. I lived for three years in Paraguay during my Protestant days. I became fluent enough in Spanish that I often couldn't remember what language I had some conversations in, especially when those conversations included other bilingual persons. There was even the odd time that I spoke the wrong language without realizing it. That was twenty years ago, and my Spanish has gotten a bit rusty, but can pull it back when I need to. I'm also reasonably fluent in French, though I don't have a similar life experience in that language.

Yes, I suppose I can switch over to thinking like an Evangelical, but it's like speaking one of my other languages - I can do it, but it's a strain and no longer feels natural.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 02, 2010, 12:27:11 AM
Yes, I suppose I can switch over to thinking like an Evangelical, but it's like speaking one of my other languages - I can do it, but it's a strain and no longer feels natural.

Fantastic quote.  Just so you know, I'm going to steal this!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 02, 2010, 08:06:53 AM


So let me paraphrase the title of this thread by saying that I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - I used to, but not anymore.

After 50 years of experience within evangelicalism, that's saying something!
Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I think it's something like learning another language well enough that the second language becomes the primary one.

An interesting parallel. Conventional thinking says that, unless one is a child below a certain level of development, the 'new' language can only become 'primary' to a degree. The old language remains, and even if it is not used by the conscious mind, the evidence is that the mental pathways created by the old language remain the brain's natural pathways.

I wonder if the same is so for religion?
Liz, I did make the comparison based on my own language experience. I lived for three years in Paraguay during my Protestant days. I became fluent enough in Spanish that I often couldn't remember what language I had some conversations in, especially when those conversations included other bilingual persons. There was even the odd time that I spoke the wrong language without realizing it. That was twenty years ago, and my Spanish has gotten a bit rusty, but can pull it back when I need to. I'm also reasonably fluent in French, though I don't have a similar life experience in that language.

Yes, I suppose I can switch over to thinking like an Evangelical, but it's like speaking one of my other languages - I can do it, but it's a strain and no longer feels natural.

That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 02, 2010, 12:24:14 PM
That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.

Based on my own experiences in the Evangelical Church, I would say the reason Orthodoxy "completely overtakes" is that with Orthodoxy there is a "daily rule of life" so to speak. The Church is part of our every day experience; not just a Sunday activity. Whether it be conscientious of the fasting restrictions for the day ("Oh it's Wednesday, so I can't eat meat") or the daily prayer rule, the icons in the home, or the celebration of the feasts, you just don't have those things in the Evangelical Church.

I'm currently reading Anna Karanina by Leo Tolstoy. In the book, Tolstoy writes how a husband and wife would cross each other before going to bed, or how a mother would cross the child while tucking them in, or the first thing an individual would look for when entering a room was an icon. Although a work of fiction, it does give a glimpse as to how the Orthodox faith plays out in daily life.

You just don't have those things in the Evangelical faith.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 02, 2010, 12:52:05 PM
That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.
My point is that it would have been quite possible for Spanish to have become my primary language had I continued to reside in a Spanish speaking environment. My return to English speaking Canada prevented that. As I immersed myself into Orthodoxy (just as HandmaidenofGod so eloquently described in her recent post), Evangelicalism has gradually become more distant and foreign. I may still speak Orthodoxy with an accent, but I'm trusting that my fluency will improve  :D.

This is starting to get off topic, but there is a connection between language and faith: I did notice that as my Spanish improved, I became able to pray in that language as easily as in English. However, as I said before that I have no life experience in a French language environment, I simply can't even get started praying in French, although I can fairly easily get into conversation, watch TV, etc. So, it is my contention that both language and religion are integral parts of who we are. And yes, both can be learned and developed.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 02, 2010, 01:09:51 PM
That's fascinating! But what you're saying is, the second language (Spanish) comes and goes, but the Orthodoxy completely overtakes Evangelicalism? I wonder how much language does have to do with faith.
My point is that it would have been quite possible for Spanish to have become my primary language had I continued to reside in a Spanish speaking environment. My return to English speaking Canada prevented that. As I immersed myself into Orthodoxy (just as HandmaidenofGod so eloquently described in her recent post), Evangelicalism has gradually become more distant and foreign. I may still speak Orthodoxy with an accent, but I'm trusting that my fluency will improve  :D.

This is starting to get off topic, but there is a connection between language and faith: I did notice that as my Spanish improved, I became able to pray in that language as easily as in English. However, as I said before that I have no life experience in a French language environment, I simply can't even get started praying in French, although I can fairly easily get into conversation, watch TV, etc. So, it is my contention that both language and religion are integral parts of who we are. And yes, both can be learned and developed.

Nicely put, thanks. Sorry if it was off-topic, it just seemed that in a discussion of understanding someone's mindset, language is pretty central! Unfortunately I don't have any fluent second languages :( , so I'm always interested in what it's like for those who do. (Though I can happily do the Pater Noster and the shortened Miserere in Latin, but that's another story)

I agree with Handmaiden - one of the things I find hardest to understand about Evangelical Christianity is the apparent lack of ritualized devotion.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 02, 2010, 01:13:40 PM


This is starting to get off topic, but there is a connection between language and faith: I did notice that as my Spanish improved, I became able to pray in that language as easily as in English.

This post has strayed off topic many a time before, no worries.  ;)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 02, 2010, 06:37:06 PM
one of the things I find hardest to understand about Evangelical Christianity is the apparent lack of ritualized devotion.

I have commented before that the Orthodox in Albania see us Evangelicals as irreligious, and we see them as enmeshed in rituals. Whatever may be true of Albanians, many posts here have persuaded me that this perception of you is false: I suspect likewise that your perception of us is also wide of the mark. That is, I suspect our piety is more ritualised than appears to the Orthodox eye. Much of our spirituality is performed in private, so few people know what others really do, but the norm is that we start each day by rising early enough for a period of Bible reading and prayer. We probably attend church twice on a Sunday (for public worship), and at least once in the week (for Bible study and prayer). Then there are the big conferences, at which thousands gather and sing, attend seminars, and listen to the best preachers (often from America or Australia). We take an interest in foreign or home missions, usually evangelistic but often humanitarian, and give systematically to their support, privately and/or via church giving. Such is traditional Evangelical piety, and I have probably omitted some things, and in its way it is as structured as Orthodox. In addition, there used to be (and in some quarters still is, more so (I believe) in the USA than in Britain, though Cleopas would know better than I on this) a system of taboos which mark out people's lives and determine their religious practice and identity: no alcohol; no dancing; no cinema; certain Sunday observances. Put all this together and you don't get what the quotation above means by "ritualized devotion", but you do get something fairly closely equivalent to it in the way it functions.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 02, 2010, 10:45:54 PM
one of the things I find hardest to understand about Evangelical Christianity is the apparent lack of ritualized devotion.

I have commented before that the Orthodox in Albania see us Evangelicals as irreligious, and we see them as enmeshed in rituals. Whatever may be true of Albanians, many posts here have persuaded me that this perception of you is false: I suspect likewise that your perception of us is also wide of the mark. That is, I suspect our piety is more ritualised than appears to the Orthodox eye. Much of our spirituality is performed in private, so few people know what others really do, but the norm is that we start each day by rising early enough for a period of Bible reading and prayer. We probably attend church twice on a Sunday (for public worship), and at least once in the week (for Bible study and prayer). Then there are the big conferences, at which thousands gather and sing, attend seminars, and listen to the best preachers (often from America or Australia). We take an interest in foreign or home missions, usually evangelistic but often humanitarian, and give systematically to their support, privately and/or via church giving. Such is traditional Evangelical piety, and I have probably omitted some things, and in its way it is as structured as Orthodox. In addition, there used to be (and in some quarters still is, more so (I believe) in the USA than in Britain, though Cleopas would know better than I on this) a system of taboos which mark out people's lives and determine their religious practice and identity: no alcohol; no dancing; no cinema; certain Sunday observances. Put all this together and you don't get what the quotation above means by "ritualized devotion", but you do get something fairly closely equivalent to it in the way it functions.


This doesn't really sound like any sort of ritualism. It sounds like your Church's Tradition.... If you had one :)

 
 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 03, 2010, 02:02:09 PM
This doesn't really sound like any sort of ritualism.

Yes - that's sort-of what I meant. It isn't  formalised ritualism, but I think we were discussing the Orthodox believer's personal round of weekly ritual, day by day, rather than the public services when the church gathers as a body. Maybe I misunderstood the burthen of the post I was replying to. What I meant - and what you have expressed in a different way - is that these Evangelical traditions of daily and weekly living function in a similar way in people's personal lives.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 04, 2010, 11:50:00 AM
we have been welcomed into His House for all eternity... ... God has saved us from our sinful desires and granted us the blessing to become partakers of His divine nature. And that….is a reason to celebrate!

OK, let me try again to explain what it is I fail to understand about the Orthodox mindset - though do not despair! Your posts are gradually moving me forward in understanding, I think. It's this matter of what we call "assurance of salvation", and what I called on a recent post "assurance of a present salvation", so as to detach the discussion from any confusion with OSAS (eternal security). Not only the post I have just quoted, but others too, strongly suggest to me what you too are experiencing what we call "assurance" - you know the Saviour, you feel his life in your soul. I find it hard to read many of your posts and not think that this is true. Am I mistaken? Or do you perhaps experience what we call "assurance", but you call it something else - or simply don't talk about it? As genesisone writes:

Quote
I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me.

By the way, someone wrote that I said I do not subscribe to OSAS. This is true, but it must not be taken as an assertion of its opposite, i.e. the belief that one can indeed lose one's present salvation. What I said was that I am apophatic on this matter: I can see scriptures which seem to point different ways, and I do not have a firm unalterable conviction on this question.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 04, 2010, 01:51:10 PM
we have been welcomed into His House for all eternity... ... God has saved us from our sinful desires and granted us the blessing to become partakers of His divine nature. And that….is a reason to celebrate!

OK, let me try again to explain what it is I fail to understand about the Orthodox mindset - though do not despair! Your posts are gradually moving me forward in understanding, I think. It's this matter of what we call "assurance of salvation", and what I called on a recent post "assurance of a present salvation", so as to detach the discussion from any confusion with OSAS (eternal security). Not only the post I have just quoted, but others too, strongly suggest to me what you too are experiencing what we call "assurance" - you know the Saviour, you feel his life in your soul. I find it hard to read many of your posts and not think that this is true. Am I mistaken? Or do you perhaps experience what we call "assurance", but you call it something else - or simply don't talk about it? As genesisone writes:

Quote
I recognize my immaturity but know that I must not fall into despair because of what Jesus Christ is doing for and in me.
David, I think I see part of the problem now. It's your use of the term "assurance of (a present) salvation". You have certainly seen by now that the Orthodox use the word "salvation" very differently from Evangelicals - it includes everything Evangelicals mean, but goes far beyond that. In the fifty years of my Evangelical experience "assurance of salvation" means "If I die right now, I know I will go to heaven". If that's your position, then we do have a difference. There is absolutely nothing I can say, do, or believe that requires God to receive me into His heavenly kingdom. I must depend entirely on His mercy. However, I do have the hope that He will do exactly that. I noticed just yesterday as I prayed the pre-communion prayers how often this phrase or a variation of it is voiced:  "a preparation for eternal Life and for a good defence at thy dread Judgement Seat".

The following phrase, and others like it, declare my confidence in Christ as I experience Him in an ongoing relationship: "I, although unworthy both of heaven and of earth and of this temporary life, even I, a wretched sinner who had given myself over to every evil desire, despair not of salvation..."

Have you spent time reading those prayers? They are easily located online; try the search term "orthodox prayers before communion". You'll find a wealth of insight in those prayers that reflects an Orthodox understanding of both salvation and assurance.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 04, 2010, 02:13:03 PM
isn't persevering in the faith considered a "work" ...?

Calvinists say that Armininians treat faith (or belief) as a 'work', because Arminians see salvation as depending on faith. But surely the word 'work' (in religious jargon) usually includes the concept of merit? If my wife tells me she has done something, or been somewhere, and I believe her, my belief depends on my estimate of her truthful character, not on my meritorious character. I cannot see that it flows from, or contributes to, any merit of mine if I believe what God says. So I cannot see that faith is a work, in the religious sense in which the word work is usually employed, at least by Protestants, i.e. including the idea of merit. Yet I am aware that our Lord said, somewhere in John's Gospel, "This is the work of God, that you believe..," so I think that maintaining our faith is certainly something we should work at - simply, I don't see it as a meritorious work: but it can be quite hard mental work. Certainly when my faith is challenged by atheists, agnostics, apostates, or anyone else, if theirs is a serious challenge then it behoves me to work at finding an answer, and truly holding to the Faith with genuine inward personal conviction. Are we moving nearer to understanding each other's use of words? - "assurance", "work", may have different meanings for us.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 04, 2010, 02:26:16 PM
I see part of the problem now. It's your use of the term "assurance of (a present) salvation". ... "assurance of salvation" means "If I die right now, I know I will go to heaven". If that's your position, then we do have a difference.

Yes, that is our position, but it only expresses part of it. Assurance does not consist only in an assurance of being received into glory when we die, that is, in what happens at life's end (whether that be today or in fifty years' time [not in my case, who am already old!]), but in present union with Christ, fellowship with him:

I feel the life his wounds impart:
I feel my Saviour in my heart


says the hymn. So assurance is not only, and (I would say) not mainly, about what will happen when I eventually die, but about my present condition, or state, or life.

Quote
Have you spent time reading those prayers? They are easily located online; try the search term "orthodox prayers before communion".

I shall: but I may 'borrow' them and use them at the Lord's Table myself before the bread and the fruit of the vine are distributed. I hope you would not object to that.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 04, 2010, 02:29:29 PM
receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 04, 2010, 04:01:35 PM
receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.

We rely on God's Grace. We just don't think God's grace is like throwing a light  switch.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 04, 2010, 04:06:36 PM
Our hope is that our Lord will greet us like the master greeted his faithful servant:

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: witega on January 04, 2010, 04:22:45 PM
receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

"own merit" doesn't come into it, though "own choice" may depending on the context (one of the problems with this type of discussion is that there are several different Protestant paradigms of salvation meaning that the context shifts--not saying you've been inconsistent at all, but some people are addressing you while others are addressing more generic or alternate Protestantisms based on their own history).

I am confident that God's promises are sure, and therefore so long as I follow His teachings, I know that I 'will be' saved.

However (and here is where the 'different contexts' can be relevant), I also don't believe that God will save me against my will. If I reject Him, then He will allow this and by my own choice, I will stop 'being saved', stop being involved in the process.

It is this constant possibility of changing one's orientation which makes Orthdox uncomfortable with the phrase "am saved" because it emphasizes a single point in time at the expense of the ongoing process (at the least) or even (in some cases) completely replaces it. I may, Protestant terms, 'be saved' (in Orthodox terms, be a devout follower of Christ, fulfilling to the best of my ability all the teachings of the Church), but tomorrow a persecution comes and given the choice, "Renounce Christ or we shoot you." Will I make the right choice? I hope so. I trust that if I seek it, God will give me the Grace to do so. But will I? How can I be so arrogant as to say I know for sure that I am as strong in my Faith as the martyrs who have gone before. And if I do renounce Christ, then what does it matter that today, I 'am saved'; having rejected Christ then those same sure promises in which I am confident today mean that I can be confident that I am *not* saved at that point.

Of course, I can repent, and again be in the process of salvation. But that's why Orthodoxy prefers to talk of the process rather than speak of black-and-white 'at this moment' dichotomies.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 04, 2010, 04:27:32 PM
I think it's kind of humorous how this thread has turned into "I don't understand the Orthodox mindset"  :D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on January 04, 2010, 04:31:29 PM
receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.

This may be a consequence of one's perspective. If the most important event in our existence is our conversion, it may be important to emphasize whether we are saved or have the assurance of salvation at that point. After all, there is no point to believing, repenting, accepting, being baptized, and communing if we did not believe that in doing so lies salvation.

If the most important event of our existence is the Lord's judgment at His Second Coming, it would be important to emphasize salvation as a process.  It may even be a prudent thing if we act as if we are not 100% sure of our salvation, to live in fear of losing our way and to live in repentance.  

Of course, this could be different from person to person. Some people may need that assurance every day to stay on the narrow path, while others may need to live in repentance. That said, it is clear to me that only a very small fraction of Christians believe in OSAS. The vast majority believe in a process that lasts no shorter than our life on earth.

I can appreciate that Protestants objected to some erroneous Roman Catholic teachings regarding merits, indulgences, and the like. I do not understand why modern day Protestants continue to use Roman terminology and concepts when (a) the Orthodox by and large use different terminology and (b) even the Roman Catholics have amended their views. Should we not all be guided by the Holy Scriptures? I will say this: for all the bad rap that we get amongst Protestants for our adherents to Holy Tradition, it is ironic that we the Orthodox are more respectful of the Scriptures in not emphasizing one part over another and being more accepting of them even when they are not readily explainable in human terms. And, many posters (for example the three that precede my post) have expressed the Biblical and Orthodox position most eloquently. I am submitting this post in the hope that it will be another angle for you to consider. God bless!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 04, 2010, 05:17:01 PM
receive me into His heavenly kingdom... I do have the hope that He will do exactly that.

What I haven't yet grasped is this: on what does your hope rely? If on God's mercy, why are you not confident that his mercy is great enough to receive you? But if on your own merit, must you not despair?

The question is asked sincerely, not rhetorically.
David, our failure to connect makes me feel as though we are passing like ships in the night.

I'm reminded of an old Protestant hymn (old in Protestant-speak, not Orthodox-speak!): "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness...." I know those words are not typical of Orthodox terminology and I'll have to look up all the words to see how much of this hymn is acceptably Orthodox.

Of course God's mercy is great enough to receive me. Why else would I even bother to pray those words? Perhaps what you see as "assurance", I see as "presumption". God will deal with me as He will in life and in death - that is His responsibility. Mine is to love and serve Him in obedience and submission.

In regards to the point in another post about assurance meaning assurance of a present condition, again, you'll find much of the Orthodox understanding of that in the pre-communion prayers. Those prayers are a real gem for focusing on our relationship with Christ - after all, we're preparing to meet Him in both a spiritual and a physical way.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 04, 2010, 06:51:36 PM
Many thanks. I shall read these posts more than once, and dwell on them.

Apart from the brief reference in one post to Holy Tradition, you all sound uncannily like Methodists. Since I was brought up Methodist myself, and imbibed its ethos and teachings till my mid-twenties, and probably still hold it as my first love, still feeding on Methodist writings now forty years later (despite the awkward fact of having become Baptist by gradual persuasion), I feel we are a good deal nearer each other than might sometimes appear.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 04, 2010, 06:54:12 PM
Many thanks. I shall read these posts more than once, and dwell on them.

Apart from the brief reference in one post to Holy Tradition, you all sound uncannily like Methodists. Since I was brought up Methodist myself, and imbibed its ethos and teachings till my mid-twenties, and probably still hold it as my first love, still feeding on Methodist writings now forty years later (despite the awkward fact of having become Baptist by gradual persuasion), I feel we are a good deal nearer each other than might sometimes appear.
David, I spent fifty years as a Free Methodist, including two years at a Bible college, and three years on the mission field. It was great preparation for Orthodoxy!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 08, 2010, 03:51:07 AM
Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

Can you explain to me what the words quoted from your Liturgy really mean? I am genuinely at a loss to understand them.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 08, 2010, 04:10:12 AM
Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 08, 2010, 05:35:52 AM
In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

The scriptures refer to the giving of his life, or the shedding of his blood, as a ransom, as washing or cleansing, as the establishment of the covenant - the full, sufficient, eternal price paid to secure the remission of all our sins. Nothing needs to be added to the value of the price he paid. The forgiveness it purchased is received freely, as a gift, to the repentant but believing sinner.

You see how the wording of your liturgy at least appears to say something different. But does it? This is what I desire to understand.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 08, 2010, 06:30:44 PM
In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

The scriptures refer to the giving of his life, or the shedding of his blood, as a ransom, as washing or cleansing, as the establishment of the covenant - the full, sufficient, eternal price paid to secure the remission of all our sins. Nothing needs to be added to the value of the price he paid. The forgiveness it purchased is received freely, as a gift, to the repentant but believing sinner.

You see how the wording of your liturgy at least appears to say something different. But does it? This is what I desire to understand.

Indeed, we are almost following two different religions.

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. The practice of Christianity offers many salvic methods to prepare us, including prayer and fasting. The term "washing away" will only seem odd if you dovetail it with the novel theory of Satisfaction to explain why Jesus died on the Cross, which you just outlined.

I hope that helps.  
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Melodist on January 08, 2010, 09:18:37 PM
Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

Can you explain to me what the words quoted from your Liturgy really mean? I am genuinely at a loss to understand them.

I hope this helps.

According to the creed, "I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins". Acts 2:38 clearly states that baptism is for the remission of sins. According to Romans 6:3-4

Quote
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We are clearly joined to Christ through His death and resurrection in baptism.

Spiritual labors such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not intended to be a substitute for the work of the cross but a way for us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. When done properly with a sincere heart they produce the fruit of the spirit and help not to obtain forgiveness for our sins, but rather to heal the damage inflicted on us by our sins and to overcome them and to as scripture says "be transformed by the renewing of your mind (greek nous)". It is in this sense that, through spiritual exercises, one can wash away the "defilement from our souls" or "filth of our transgressions". Fasting does not wash away any transgression, but helps heal the damage done by the transgression.

This is how I understand it anyway.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 08, 2010, 09:37:53 PM
Here is a good article at atonement from an Orthodox writer:

 http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-The%20Atonement
 
 
 
 
 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 08, 2010, 09:58:25 PM
In your tradition, by what means does the blood of Christ "wash away the filth of our transgressions"?

The scriptures refer to the giving of his life, or the shedding of his blood, as a ransom, as washing or cleansing, as the establishment of the covenant - the full, sufficient, eternal price paid to secure the remission of all our sins. Nothing needs to be added to the value of the price he paid. The forgiveness it purchased is received freely, as a gift, to the repentant but believing sinner.

You see how the wording of your liturgy at least appears to say something different. But does it? This is what I desire to understand.

What you appear to be saying is that the washing away of the filth of one's transgressions is a one-time thing. One day we are sinful transgressors, the next we make a decision to believe in Christ and somehow His blood on the Cross 2000 years ago instantly wipes our slate clean for all time. While we might sin again, it's not going to affect our salvation; so our continued repentance is rather superfluous. Therefore, salvation for the individual in your tradition is accomplished by a one-time intellectual decision and no real effort of continued repentance on their part. This does seem familiar from what I remember of my Evangelical experience; though there are variances. Forgive me if I have this wrong in your case, but this is the kind of thinking I have witnessed amongst Evangelicals. And while the claim is that as long as one continues to "believe in Jesus" one is saved and "made perfect in Christ", in reality the affects are quite at odds with this and I have seen this lack of repentance produce the most horribly moralistic set of rules that one must abide by to be accepted in the group. This develops judgemental attutudes of the "saints" towards "sinners". Because the "sinners" don't quite manage to follow the prescribed rules of conduct of the group they are considered almost unsavable or backsliders. These people are ultimately made to feel acutely ostracised and cast out.

Quoting from a book I'm reading at the moment, the difference with Orthodoxy is this...

The Church embraces all people with all their problems and worries, and strives to transfigure them. The Church, in any case, is a spiritual Hospital which heals people's illness. She does not reject anyone. Only groups of anthropocentric political, social and even religious systems reject peopel who are not able, or who do not want to be fully obedient to their principles. In all these systems there is an intense mysticism; an ideology dominates which demands obedience to abstract commandments. And for this reasons we cannot speak of obedience but discipline. Furthermore, a mania for perfection dominates. They want you to be perfect according to the principles of the system. Alas, if you should sin consciously or unconsciously. They will cast you out and give the stigma of crossing you off to all the friends of the system. they will make the decision public, so that it becomes known and the system is not put to blame. And I believe that this mania for perfection is an indicative sign of an extistent schizophrenia. The person who has the mania to be perfect is in reality a schizophrenic. The Church, without supporting or justifying the sick person, receivwes him as he is, and strives, with the ways she has at her disposal, to cure him. this is why, in the Church there are people of various spiritual ages. [The Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition, by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos.]

The Orthodox view of salvation is ontological not intellectual. We are joined sacramentally with Christ at baptism; old man dies, new man is born from above; water and spirit. However, this birth is not completed or finalised; we have merely entered the Hospital of the Soul, which is the Church to affect the healing of our various illnesses. Being flawed human beings we will relapse and continue to sin. Even if the sins are little they separate us from God. We have an expression that the pristine garment of our baptism is made filthy by our sins. Unless we repent of those sins, they will stain our relationship with God and our fellow man. For Lent we fast in repentance of all our sins, those we know of and those we are ignorant of. Our baptism garment is made clean again through the tears of our repentance. This is part of our salvific experience, part of our sanctification.

Just to put your quote from the Matins on Friday of the week before Lent in context;
“God has shown mercy to us. Let us in turn show mercy: let us feed the poor, and with the divine water of fasting, let us wash the defilement from our souls.” Then we say, “O heavenly angels, entreat the Giver of good to accept in His infinite mercy our poor and mean repentance.” Continued repentance might be a strange concept for one who believes that a one-time intellectual decision for Christ makes our salvation a done deal - if indeed that is what you believe. However, as Orthodox Christians we are always aware of the weakness of our hearts.

St James tells us that the faith that saves is the complete faith, not simply the intellect accepting and the tongue confessing, but the whole man or woman trusting in the Living God. Our faith is a life-time and beyond relationship with God. Justification for us is dynamic and alive and continuing. We believe that our faith grows and affects what we do or else it dies. While it might be your opinion that “Faith alone” saves, we don’t agree. A static faith, does not sanctify, it stagnates and dies; the danger being that the one who believes himself to be saved by that one-time declaration ignores the very sins that prevent him from acquiring the Holy Spirit. The living faith is one in which we nurture our faith in God and our love for Him through our responses to the needs of others and our repentance of our own sins.

St James shows us an example of a living and active faith by pointing to the faith of Abraham. When Abraham received the call to forsake all and follow God he did so with all that was to entail. This is all a crucial lesson for us in our understanding of justification by faith. Abraham’s sanctification and justification is not a momentary, intellectual, static, or one-time event. His faith is dynamic, a growth process which finds its realisation in good works and repentance. It is this living and active faith, St James declares, the faith which saves!

So yes, the gift of salvation is freely given by God yet we must do our part by taking take of what he offers to us. We are workers together with Him as St Paul calls it. This is synergy; this is cooperation with a living God in a living relationship.

Please don't think that I'm in any way "bashing" your tradition. I'm merely trying to answer your question to the best of my ability.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 09, 2010, 05:37:36 AM
Once again, much for me to read and mull over, which will probably take a few days. At a brief initial reading, it seems as if some of you are saying almost the same as us but in different words, whilst others of you are saying things that are miles apart from our understanding. It will all make interesting reading.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 09, 2010, 09:33:59 AM
Once again, much for me to read and mull over, which will probably take a few days. At a brief initial reading, it seems as if some of you are saying almost the same as us but in different words, whilst others of you are saying things that are miles apart from our understanding. It will all make interesting reading.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1088949815257678826&ei=c4VIS5vkBtq5lQeYsOyFBw&q=kallistos+ware&hl=en# (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1088949815257678826&ei=c4VIS5vkBtq5lQeYsOyFBw&q=kallistos+ware&hl=en#) (Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture)

ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 09, 2010, 01:49:51 PM
Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture

Thanks. The posts will have to wait till next week - but before I plunge into this one - It is marked something like 1:36:53. Does that mean the lecture is about 1½ hours long? If so, I'd need to plan a time to give it proper attention. I have enjoyed reading Ware.

The thing is, the way you Orthodox tend to speak and write comes over to our ears as if you are reducing the value of the Blood of Christ, which, of course, sounds blasphemous to us; yet I can scarcely believe that this is the true understanding of your doctrines, for you write with such passion about Him and about the Eucharist which speaks of (nay, in your understanding, is) the Blood. So I am both hoping and expecting to learn that here is another case of mutual misunderstanding.

If you really were in any way demeaning the worth of Christ's death, you can see why so many Evangelicals reject Orthodoxy as not a valid form of Christianity. What a tragedy, if it's all about use of words!

"See you" next week!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 09, 2010, 03:57:52 PM
Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture

Thanks. The posts will have to wait till next week - but before I plunge into this one - It is marked something like 1:36:53. Does that mean the lecture is about 1½ hours long? If so, I'd need to plan a time to give it proper attention. I have enjoyed reading Ware.

The thing is, the way you Orthodox tend to speak and write comes over to our ears as if you are reducing the value of the Blood of Christ, which, of course, sounds blasphemous to us; yet I can scarcely believe that this is the true understanding of your doctrines, for you write with such passion about Him and about the Eucharist which speaks of (nay, in your understanding, is) the Blood. So I am both hoping and expecting to learn that here is another case of mutual misunderstanding. [/

If you really were in any way demeaning the worth of Christ's death, you can see why so many Evangelicals reject Orthodoxy as not a valid form of Christianity. What a tragedy, if it's all about use of words!

"See you" next week!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 09, 2010, 05:12:34 PM
^^I don't know what happened above, but I lost everything that I typed.  >:( I don't have the time nor energy to rehash the post at the moment, but David, while you are looking into the Orthodox view of salvation the following article might be of some use.

Most of us have, at one time or another, been asked by a zealous Protestant the question, "Are you saved?" or in another form, "Do you know for certain that if you died right now, you would go to heaven?" What answer do you give? Protestants have an expected response, without which there will be a concerted attempt to get you to say or pray the appropriate words. One of the issues that comes up when we, as Orthodox Christians, attempt to answer the question honestly and fully is that of the relation of Faith and Works to our salvation. Any reference to the grace given in the sacraments, particularly baptism, or any hint that one's salvation is yet in doubt because one may yet be unfaithful to Christ is pounced upon as an indication of "works righteousness." Also, any reference to the essentiality of prayer, fasting, loving actions, or good works of any type to salvation is met with attempts to show that salvation is by faith in Christ's atoning work alone.
What have we to say to this? In this article, I hope to help clarify what salvation is, look at how we are being saved, and to show what the proper view of the relationship between faith and works is in Orthodox theology. More than that, I hope to challenge you to open yourself up to the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit and to make progress on the path to Glory.
Salvation in Protestant thought essentially is being made acceptable to God through receiving the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners, falling short of the glory of God. The sacrifices of bulls and goats were not able to save us, so Christ entered the world and died on the cross to atone for our sins. Because of His action, we are transferred from the state of condemnation and death to the state of forgiveness, of salvation. We are saved from hell and are able to "go to heaven."
How is this salvation brought to us? We can do nothing to earn our salvation. As St. Paul teaches, we are "justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:28). In all our noblest striving, we are still unable to merit the reward of heaven ("All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23). All we can "do" is have faith (believe) in the saving work of Christ ("If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved," Romans 10:9). So we are justified by faith.
But what is faith? Essentially it is seen as cognitive belief (e.g., belief in a set of ideas about what constitutes the state of humanity, what God did about it in Christ , and a belief that the atonement has been effective for one's own salvation). In my background, I was taught that faith was the "belief of testimony," because "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Any emphasis on works as being of merit for our salvation is seen as a Judaizing return to the Law, which was unable to bring salvation. Thus, the Reformers rejected any Catholic idea of human action that implied that we merit salvation.
Do you get a sense of the legal emphasis? Salvation is being brought before the tribunal of God and receiving a favorable judgment. We are guilty of sin. Jesus, the perfect Man, offers Himself as a sacrifice to assuage the wrath of God. God accepts the sacrifice on our behalf and declares us to be "guilty, but acquitted." When God looks at us, He sees Jesus Christ and His righteous merit. Thus, instead of the sentence of eternal death which we deserve (hell), we receive the reward of Christ, eternal life in heaven.
There are several problems with the Protestant view of salvation, including an overemphasis upon the legal aspect of our relationship with God, an inadequate definition of faith, and, most importantly, a failure to see the true content of salvation.

The Orthodox Conception of Salvation

What is salvation? For the Orthodox Christian, salvation is more than a legal state, more than forgiveness of sins. It is union with God. The goal of life is not simply to dwell in a place where there is no sin, sickness, or suffering, but to come into a personal communion with the Holy Trinity. In Orthodox theology there is no concept of merit at all, either in terms of our works meriting the salvation of God, or even of salvation being given to us because of the merit of Christ's works. It is rather a question of relationship, of communion with God...


Continued at http://www.tcgalaska.com/htgoc/images/pics/vol3issue4.htm
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 10, 2010, 11:46:18 PM
Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach -Lecture

Thanks. The posts will have to wait till next week - but before I plunge into this one - It is marked something like 1:36:53. Does that mean the lecture is about 1½ hours long? If so, I'd need to plan a time to give it proper attention. I have enjoyed reading Ware.

The thing is, the way you Orthodox tend to speak and write comes over to our ears as if you are reducing the value of the Blood of Christ, which, of course, sounds blasphemous to us; yet I can scarcely believe that this is the true understanding of your doctrines, for you write with such passion about Him and about the Eucharist which speaks of (nay, in your understanding, is) the Blood. So I am both hoping and expecting to learn that here is another case of mutual misunderstanding.

If you really were in any way demeaning the worth of Christ's death, you can see why so many Evangelicals reject Orthodoxy as not a valid form of Christianity. What a tragedy, if it's all about use of words!

"See you" next week!



Ok, see you then!







ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 11, 2010, 09:50:24 AM
Salvation in Protestant thought essentially is being made acceptable to God through receiving the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners, falling short of the glory of God. The sacrifices of bulls and goats were not able to save us, so Christ entered the world and died on the cross to atone for our sins. Because of His action, we are transferred from the state of condemnation and death to the state of forgiveness, of salvation. We are saved from hell and are able to "go to heaven."
How is this salvation brought to us? We can do nothing to earn our salvation. As St. Paul teaches, we are "justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:28). In all our noblest striving, we are still unable to merit the reward of heaven ("All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23). All we can "do" is have faith (believe) in the saving work of Christ ("If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved," Romans 10:9). So we are justified by faith... Salvation is being brought before the tribunal of God and receiving a favorable judgment. We are guilty of sin. Jesus, the perfect Man, offers Himself as a sacrifice to assuage the wrath of God. God accepts the sacrifice on our behalf and declares us to be "guilty, but acquitted." When God looks at us, He sees Jesus Christ and His righteous merit. Thus, instead of the sentence of eternal death which we deserve (hell), we receive the reward of Christ, eternal life in heaven.
 

This is very good - except that he is writing about justification, not salvation. Justification is only the beginning, the first (yes, instantaneous) event, in salvation.i
Quote
But what is faith? Essentially it is seen as cognitive belief (e.g., belief in a set of ideas about what constitutes the state of humanity, what God did about it in Christ , and a belief that the atonement has been effective for one's own salvation)

This is not so good. This is known as Sandemanianism, which brought the cold hand of death into many Baptist churches in the early 19th century - the idea that cognitive assent = faith. Faith is far far more than that; faith is the conscious, spiritual leaning of all one's hope and trust only upon God and his mercy in Christ. The mind, soul, heart and will are all called for in the true exercise of faith.

Quote
What is salvation? For the Orthodox Christian, salvation is more than a legal state, more than forgiveness of sins. It is union with God. The goal of life is not simply to dwell in a place where there is no sin, sickness, or suffering, but to come into a personal communion with the Holy Trinity.

I can't see any difference between that and what we believe! But I shall turn to the remainder of the article on the link you kindly give.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: genesisone on January 11, 2010, 10:26:06 AM
This is very good - except that he is writing about justification, not salvation. Justification is only the beginning, the first (yes, instantaneous) event, in salvation.i

Here's another case where your Evangelical mindset differs from the Orthodox. Concepts like justification, salvation, sanctification are not neatly defined and pigeon-holed as they are in Evangelical thought, but rather intertwined. I'd like to say "braided", but that would seem orderly  :), it's more like a knotted ball! Take a look at this article in OrthodoxWiki:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification). OrthodoxWiki itself points out that the article needs some work, but I trust it will be helpful. It does try to explain the difference between Eastern and Western thought.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 11, 2010, 10:30:25 AM
The article concludes with:

Quote
the next time you are asked, " Are you saved?" reply, “By God's grace I have been forgiven and brought into a growing relationship with Him. By that same grace, I hope to one day share His likeness in the heavenly kingdom.  So, because of Christ, I have been saved, I am being saved as I walk in the light by faith, and, by His grace, I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."  

I think the only word an Evangelical might quibble with in that is the word "hope", for Philippians promises that "I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Even then, the article's last sentence is "I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."

So what are we disagreeing about? I suspect it has to do with a confusion in your minds, leading you to think we identify justification with the whole of salvation, and a confusion in our minds when we do not take into account your use of salvation as defining or focussing on the end result in glory. We would certainly agree with you that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to our growth in grace, in conformity to the divine image, in sanctification. When you say they contribute to your salvation, you mean your spiritual healing until the image is fully restored; when we hear you say that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to your salvation, we take you to mean they contribute to acquiring forgiveness of your past sins, in some way earning God's mercy (by merit), and so naturally and immediately we think you are demeaning the value of our Lord's precious blood.

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 11, 2010, 10:35:36 AM
Take a look at this article in OrthodoxWiki:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification).

It says:

Paul Negrut defines the tension that exists when trying to understand Western theological concepts in light of early Christian and Eastern theology. He says, “Much of this sounds strange to Western ears, both Protestant and Catholic, because the historical development of Western theology has been quite different. Patience is therefore required to penetrate this strangeness, but that is a necessary prelude to any real understanding, dialogue or critique!”

Very true.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 12, 2010, 01:52:30 AM
Reading today's comments in my Orthodox Study Bible, I find: "...and with the divine water of fasting let us wash the defilement from our souls" (Matins, Friday before Lent). A day or two ago the comments included: "Let us make haste to wash away through fasting the filth of our transgressions" (Vespers, before Lent). Now as you know, we Protestants are taught (and genuinely believe) that only the blood of Christ can "wash away the filth of our transgressions."

Can you explain to me what the words quoted from your Liturgy really mean? I am genuinely at a loss to understand them.

I hope this helps.

According to the creed, "I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins". Acts 2:38 clearly states that baptism is for the remission of sins. According to Romans 6:3-4

Quote
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We are clearly joined to Christ through His death and resurrection in baptism.

Spiritual labors such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not intended to be a substitute for the work of the cross but a way for us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. When done properly with a sincere heart they produce the fruit of the spirit and help not to obtain forgiveness for our sins, but rather to heal the damage inflicted on us by our sins and to overcome them and to as scripture says "be transformed by the renewing of your mind (greek nous)". It is in this sense that, through spiritual exercises, one can wash away the "defilement from our souls" or "filth of our transgressions". Fasting does not wash away any transgression, but helps heal the damage done by the transgression.This is how I understand it anyway.

In my words, I would say that fasting exposes the damage so that it may be more fully and completely healed by Christ through repentance.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 12, 2010, 04:05:29 AM
The article concludes with:

Quote
the next time you are asked, " Are you saved?" reply, “By God's grace I have been forgiven and brought into a growing relationship with Him. By that same grace, I hope to one day share His likeness in the heavenly kingdom.  So, because of Christ, I have been saved, I am being saved as I walk in the light by faith, and, by His grace, I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."  

I think the only word an Evangelical might quibble with in that is the word "hope", for Philippians promises that "I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Even then, the article's last sentence is "I will one day share His likeness in the eternal kingdom."

So what are we disagreeing about? I suspect it has to do with a confusion in your minds, leading you to think we identify justification with the whole of salvation, and a confusion in our minds when we do not take into account your use of salvation as defining or focussing on the end result in glory. We would certainly agree with you that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to our growth in grace, in conformity to the divine image, in sanctification. When you say they contribute to your salvation, you mean your spiritual healing until the image is fully restored; when we hear you say that prayer, fasting, baptism, the Lord's Supper, good works all contribute to your salvation, we take you to mean they contribute to acquiring forgiveness of your past sins, in some way earning God's mercy (by merit), and so naturally and immediately we think you are demeaning the value of our Lord's precious blood.

What's wrong with Baptism and the forgiveness of past sins?

Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.



You should really watch the video.

Also, what's wrong with "hope"?

Romans 8:23-25
23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
 24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
 25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.


Titus 3:7
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


and

Hebrews 3:6
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.




ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 14, 2010, 06:56:27 AM

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 14, 2010, 07:38:31 AM

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition.

Exactly.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 14, 2010, 10:58:01 AM
Quote
These are given us not only to understand what is salvation and how Christ chose to accomplish that in Orthodox theology, but also to show the basis for the view that many of us had as converts from Protestantism. We can see not only why Protestants understand things the way they do in relation to salvation, buy why Orthodox understanding is different. It is relational with God, not legal or financial in nature. That changes the whole perspective in how we approach salvation. It is not a one time deal, a declaring “not guilty,” but a continuing relationship with God.
(I added the emphases.)

I forget which thread pointed me to this helpful article, but I suspect it was this one. What disappoints me about it is the either/or approach. I suspect that all the theories or explanations of the Atonement are in the end just that - theories; or that they are analogies which the Holy Spirit used in inspiring the scriptures and the Apostles to help people believe not how but that Christ redeemed them by his death and resurrection. All the analogies point to one aspect or another as aids to faith, but in reality (as I have quoted before from C S Lewis) it is a matter of "deeper magic from before the beginning of time". I don't really know how He saved me - but I know He did. If any of the biblical pictures (ransom, debt, healing, victory over Satan and death) help some, including me, to trust Christ as Saviour, then I am content to leave the matter there and not to worry about the fact that my mind has not penetrated - yea, cannot penetrate - the full and deepest mystery of our redemption.

I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 14, 2010, 11:38:22 AM


I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.


Well stated.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 14, 2010, 03:09:02 PM

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.








ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 14, 2010, 03:42:22 PM

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.








ICXC NIKA
Is he also all just?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 14, 2010, 03:53:57 PM
In what sense?

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 14, 2010, 03:56:34 PM
In what sense?


Well is God just?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 14, 2010, 04:22:32 PM
I hate to be a nag and a picker of nits, but if we are defining "just" in the human sense of "fair," then no, I'd have to say, God is not just, bearing in mind the workers in the vineyard, for example.
How are you defining it?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 14, 2010, 04:24:40 PM
I hate to be a nag and a picker of nits, but if we are defining "just" in the human sense of "fair," then no, I'd have to say, God is not just, bearing in mind the workers in the vineyard, for example.
How are you defining it?

But according to his own standard, the true standard, isn't God infinitely just?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 14, 2010, 04:30:28 PM
I hate to be a nag and a picker of nits, but if we are defining "just" in the human sense of "fair," then no, I'd have to say, God is not just, bearing in mind the workers in the vineyard, for example.
How are you defining it?

But according to his own standard, the true standard, isn't God infinitely just?

The God that Jesus Christ revealed is not just, as the concept of God’s justice is understood in the West. [Perhaps the evil one began propagating the error regarding God’s justice using both the understanding of pagan justice and a misunderstanding and mistranslation of the Hebrew words tsedaka and hesed in holy Scripture, which mean, respectively, “the divine energy which accomplishes man’s salvation” and “mercy, compassion, love.” The Church Fathers understood God’s justice in this way.] “Do not ever say that God is just. Because if He were just, you would be in hell. Only reckon on His…injustice, which is mercy, love, and forgiveness,” says St. Isaac the Syrian. He continues: “How can you call God just when you read the passage on the wage given to the workers… How can man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal Son, who wasted his wealth in riotous living, and yet only for the contrition he showed, his father ran and fell upon his neck, and gave him authority over all his wealth?  Where, then, is God’s justice, for whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!”
    In the parable of the vineyard, Christ states emphatically that God is not the pawn of His justice. “I choose to pay the last man the same as you,” He says to him who worked from the beginning, and He adds, “Am I not free to do what I want with my own possessions? Or are you responding to the fact that I am good by being wicked?” (Mt. 20:14-15). St. John Chrysostom responds to this with the memorable expression, “The master being generous receives the last like the first. He gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has worked from the first hour. And he shows mercy upon the last and cares for the first, and to the one he gives and upon the other he bestows gifts.” (Catechetical homily of St. John Chrysostom)
 It is not possible for God to be just and even to be vindictive because:
    Compassionate and merciful is the Lord, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy; not unto the end will He be angered, neither unto eternity will he be wroth.
    Not according to our iniquities hath He dealt with us, neither according to our sins hath He rewarded us.
   For according to the height of heaven from the earth, the Lord hath made His mercy to prevail over them that fear Him.
   As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our iniquities from us.
   Like as a father hath compassion upon his sons, so hath the Lord had compassion upon them that fear Him; for He knoweth whereof we are made, He hath remembered that we are dust.  (Ps. 102:8-12)
    St. Isaac the Syrian, developing the view that mercy triumphs over judgment, says: Mercy and justice in the same soul is like the man who worships God and idols in the same temple. Mercy is opposed to justice. Justice is the return of the equal, because it returns to man that which he deserves, and it does not bend to one side or show respect of persons.  But mercy is sorrow that is moved by grace and bends to all with sympathy, and it does not return harm to him who deserves it, although to him who deserves good it gives a double portion. And if mercy is on the side of virtue, justice is on the side of wickedness; and as it is impossible for hay and fire to exist in the same house, so it is impossible for justice and mercy to be in the same soul. As the grain of sand cannot be compared with a great amount of gold, so God’s use of justice cannot be compared with His mercy. Because man’s sin, in comparison to the providence and mercy of God, is like a handful of sand thrown into the sea, so the Creator’s mercy cannot be defeated by the wickedness of His creatures.


“The Distorted God” (condensed and edited from http://nektarios.home.comcast.net/~nektarios/1510.html).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: David Young on January 15, 2010, 06:48:59 AM
I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: GregoryLA on January 15, 2010, 06:54:14 AM

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.








ICXC NIKA

I had always thought that the level of love would be the same- it's the experience of that love that's the difference. You seem to be saying this as well, but you also seem to be saying something different.  When I read this it also comes across as if you're saying that the righteous and unrighteous will experience different levels of God's love in the afterlife.  I've never heard this before, but granted, I haven't been around that long.  Am I reading you incorrectly? 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 15, 2010, 01:39:07 PM
I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 15, 2010, 02:00:44 PM
I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 
That is not the way that the Atonement need be viewed. I like the way in which C.S. Lewis described it.

"The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us.  Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory.  If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so?  And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?  None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense.  On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not.  Or if you take "paying the penalty," not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "footing the bill," then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend.

Now what was the sort of "hole" man had gotten himself into?  He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself.  In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.  Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of a "hole."  This process of surrender - this movement full speed astern - is what Christians call repentance.  Now repentance is no fun at all.  It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie.  It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years.  It means undergoing a kind of death.  In fact, it needs a good man to repent.  And here's the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly.  The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it.  The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off of if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like.  If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back.  It cannot happen.  Very well, then, we must go through with it.  But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it.  Can we do it if God helps us?  Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us?  We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak.  He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.  When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.  We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.  Now if we had not fallen, that would all be plain sailing.  But unfortunately we now need God's help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all - to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die.  Nothing in God's nature corresponds to this process at all.  So that the one road for which we now need God's leadership most of all is a road God, in His own nature, has never walked.  God can share only what He has: this thing, in His own nature, He has not.

But supposing God became a man - suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person - then that person could help us.  He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God.  You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man.  Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God's dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God's dying unless God dies; and he cannot die except by being a man.  That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all."

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 15, 2010, 02:05:59 PM
^ I think this explanation makes sense in light of the idea from the Epistle to the Romans that in baptism we die with Christ and in dying with Christ, we rise with him.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 15, 2010, 04:35:40 PM
I shall continue to preach to my congregations all these ways of looking at it, including the Orthodox one (Christus Victor, healing of our relationship with God), for they are all biblical.

A frequently sung hymn contains this couplet:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven -
Who like me His praise should sing?


Here we have two Western emphases (ransomed, forgiven) bracketing two Eastern emphases (healed, restored). We are right - and you are right: every one of these is a true aspect of the salvation wrought by Christ. It is not either/or: it is both.

I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 
That is not the way that the Atonement need be viewed. I like the way in which C.S. Lewis described it.

"The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us.  Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory.  If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so?  And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead?  None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense.  On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not.  Or if you take "paying the penalty," not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "footing the bill," then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend.

Now what was the sort of "hole" man had gotten himself into?  He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself.  In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.  Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of a "hole."  This process of surrender - this movement full speed astern - is what Christians call repentance.  Now repentance is no fun at all.  It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie.  It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years.  It means undergoing a kind of death.  In fact, it needs a good man to repent.  And here's the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly.  The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it.  The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off of if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like.  If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back.  It cannot happen.  Very well, then, we must go through with it.  But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it.  Can we do it if God helps us?  Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us?  We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak.  He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.  When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.  We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.  Now if we had not fallen, that would all be plain sailing.  But unfortunately we now need God's help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all - to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die.  Nothing in God's nature corresponds to this process at all.  So that the one road for which we now need God's leadership most of all is a road God, in His own nature, has never walked.  God can share only what He has: this thing, in His own nature, He has not.

But supposing God became a man - suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person - then that person could help us.  He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God.  You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man.  Our attempts at this dying will succeed only if we men share in God's dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God's dying unless God dies; and he cannot die except by being a man.  That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all."

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity



Yet still...This is a fundamental Theological difference  between the Orthodox and Western Christianity It is not two different ways of explaining something we agree on ( which is my point).
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 15, 2010, 04:48:57 PM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 15, 2010, 05:15:12 PM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Come now Papist that's not fair. We both know of people in our faith traditions with practices that they claim to be of the Church but are not. People ascribe superstitions and beliefs to the Church when they are not truly of the Church.

I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 15, 2010, 05:18:48 PM
I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 15, 2010, 05:20:10 PM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 15, 2010, 05:20:56 PM
I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 15, 2010, 05:23:11 PM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Come now Papist that's not fair. We both know of people in our faith traditions with practices that they claim to be of the Church but are not. People ascribe superstitions and beliefs to the Church when they are not truly of the Church.

I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
This is true and I may have misspoken. However, when the Bishops start to adopt these views, is it the Church or just some of the laity.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 15, 2010, 05:23:41 PM

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

Perhaps, but I would venture to guess that it is because of the difference of Orthodox and "Western" theology (dadgumit, now I've revealed my awful anti-Western bias again!) - Orthodoxy and Protestantism, for example, use many of the same words, but mean vastly different things - and the fact that Orthodoxy is often barely a blip on the religious radar in the US. So it may be easier, or a kind of theological shorthand, to point out the differences from the prevailing religious culture.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 15, 2010, 05:28:49 PM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.
I see it on EO Forums. I see on EO websites. I even see it in quotes from EO theologians. I have seen it in story shared with by my friend who was a Franciscan priest, and recently passed away. He told me of his interactions with EO priests who have basicly told him off about the sack of Constantinople as soon as they found out that he was a Catholic Priest.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 15, 2010, 05:29:51 PM
I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 15, 2010, 06:20:19 PM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.

Yes, we are supposed to role over and pretend there is agreement when there isn't. I don't see how playing games helps anyone. 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 15, 2010, 06:24:23 PM
I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

Ah, thanks for the compliment! :)

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.

Speaking for myself, here in the States most Christians come from some sort of Protestant background. As a result, there seems to be a strong phobia against anything that looks like Roman Catholicism or even hints towards it.

As a result, much of my time defending my faith to my Protestant friends and family is first spent defending Roman Catholicism and then describing how Orthodoxy is different from the Church of Rome.

When you are constantly attacked as a "Mary worshipper" or an "idoloter" you get used to defining yourself by what you are not, verses what you are.

Perhaps this is bad form, and I suppose it requires work on apologetics on my part, but that's the best explanation I can come up with. :)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 15, 2010, 06:54:43 PM


I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.

Orthodoxy is centered around apophatic (negative) theology, so you will often hear us talk about what our faith isn't rather than what it is. ;) Orthodoxy, more than anything, is experiential.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 19, 2010, 10:17:10 AM
Some times I think there certain issues where no problem exists but because some EO's have become progessively anti-western, they create problems. Behaving in such a way is not the tradition of the EO Church but they are making it a new tradition. One more reason I would never become EO.

Based purely on my own experience, I would have to say, "nonsense!" to this perceived anti-Western bias. I have never heard of it before or heard anyone mention it, except some Roman Catholics.

If we don't believe the same thing, we don't believe the same thing, and no amount of shoehorning or accusations of bias will make it any different.
I see it on EO Forums. I see on EO websites. I even see it in quotes from EO theologians. I have seen it in story shared with by my friend who was a Franciscan priest, and recently passed away. He told me of his interactions with EO priests who have basicly told him off about the sack of Constantinople as soon as they found out that he was a Catholic Priest.

FWIW, my experience is almost totally opposite. I only see accusations of "anti-Western bias" from Roman Catholics on fora or websites, and have never encountered it in "real life." YMMV, of course.

There are real substantive historical and theological differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism - they are not at all the same thing. Contending that they are the same, except for trifles or misunderstandings - or pretending that they are the same, is wishful thinking at best. An honest acceptance/discussion/debate of differences has nothing to do with some sort of anti-Western prejudice.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: jnorm888 on January 24, 2010, 11:10:16 PM

We don't think God was made angry and holding our salvation out for a ransom to be satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ. We rather believe that God himself incarnated in the person of Christ and defeated sin and death on the cross. This harmonized our fallen world and opened up the true and straight path to eternal life with God. 

But such are not an either/or but rather an both/and proposition. Indeed, "behold the goodness and severity of God"!

You don't understand our concept of the Lake of Fire (Hell), if you did, then you would understand how we interpret "behold the goodness and severity of God".

If God is Omni-omnibenevolent, then "severity and the like" must be understood in light of His LOVE......just like the idea of "cold" must be understood in light of HEAT, for coldness is nothing more than a certain degree of heat. And so, "severity" is nothing more than a certain degree of love.

God isn't the one who is changinh from Love today, and hate tomorrow. We are the ones who keep changing, and so we "interprete" His Love as either "goodness" or "severity".....depending on our state at the time.


And so the problem is us, not God....for He is Omni-Benevolent.


ICXC NIKA

I had always thought that the level of love would be the same- it's the experience of that love that's the difference. You seem to be saying this as well, but you also seem to be saying something different.  When I read this it also comes across as if you're saying that the righteous and unrighteous will experience different levels of God's love in the afterlife.  I've never heard this before, but granted, I haven't been around that long.  Am I reading you incorrectly? 

I have to read more of Saint Isaac the Syrian to make sure. I may be trying to blend Saint Augustine.....in his early to mid years with Saint Isaac's views....especially when it comes to the concept of evil as being nothing more than a parasite of the good and that coldness is nothing more than a lack of heat......and so everything should be measured as a certain degree of heat.

I have to read more of Saint Isaac the Syrian to make sure ....for to us, evil isn't a force ...instead it is of the will. And so , you could be correct about there not being a different level thing on God's side......the difference in level may be in our own cultivation or lack there of.


ICXC NIKA
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 12:04:28 AM
I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things. 

It's not that He demanded the death of His Son, but that He demanded sin be penalized. Yet, graciously, mercifully, He offered His Son in our stead, as the propitiation for our sins, so that He might accomplish both our redemption and the just punishment of sin at the same time. In this way He is both just and justifier of them that believe. As says the writer of the epistle to the Romans (Romans 3:24-26).

Glory to His name!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 25, 2010, 12:43:17 AM
I don't think so. If you believe an angry God demanded the Death of his son as a ransom, then we would see a fundemental Theological difference between us, not just a different way of looking at things.  

It's not that He demanded the death of His Son, but that He demanded sin be penalized. Yet, graciously, mercifully, He offered His Son in our stead, as the propitiation for our sins, so that He might accomplish both our redemption and the just punishment of sin at the same time. In this way He is both just and justifier of them that believe. As says the writer of the epistle to the Romans (Romans 3:24-26).

Glory to His name!

Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

When God told Adam not to eat of the Tree, He did not say "eat it and I will kill you."  He said "eat it and you will die."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 25, 2010, 12:49:46 AM
I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.
Because it's in English. where Protestantism and the Vatican are known quantities, at least in stereotype.  Most haven't a clue about Orthodoxy.  A lot of that is our fault, btw.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 08:38:52 AM
Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

Not quite, but the rudimentary idea is in there somewhere, I think. Though it's hard to see past all the muck you framed it in.

If you mean is God some kind of moody deity, throwing cosmic pity parties and tantrums, bullying creation for selfish means? No.
If you mean is God vindictive and ill-natured, exacting or requiring that which is unjust? No.
If you mean does God get some kind of satisfaction out of the defamation, murder, and humiliation of His Son? No.

If you mean is God angry at sin and with sinners? Yes.
If you mean did/does God see fit to punish man for his sin? Yes.
If you mean is God unwilling to simply overlook sin or be complicit therein? Yes.
If you mean are we worthy of death and separation from God because of sin? Yes.
If you mean did some sort of reckoning between God's justice and mercy have to be made to permit reconciliation? Yes.
If you mean did God, despite His offense at sin, find a way to pardon and reconcile the sinner? Yes.
If you mean did God see fit to send His Son, as a man, to willingly be a propitiation for our sins? Yes.
If you mean did God accomplish that in the redemptive work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? Yes.



Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 25, 2010, 07:16:07 PM
Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

Not quite, but the rudimentary idea is in there somewhere, I think. Though it's hard to see past all the muck you framed it in.

If you mean is God some kind of moody deity, throwing cosmic pity parties and tantrums, bullying creation for selfish means? No.
If you mean is God vindictive and ill-natured, exacting or requiring that which is unjust? No.
If you mean does God get some kind of satisfaction out of the defamation, murder, and humiliation of His Son? No.

If you mean is God angry at sin and with sinners? Yes.
If you mean did/does God see fit to punish man for his sin? Yes.
If you mean is God unwilling to simply overlook sin or be complicit therein? Yes.
If you mean are we worthy of death and separation from God because of sin? Yes.
If you mean did some sort of reckoning between God's justice and mercy have to be made to permit reconciliation? Yes.
If you mean did God, despite His offense at sin, find a way to pardon and reconcile the sinner? Yes.
If you mean did God see fit to send His Son, as a man, to willingly be a propitiation for our sins? Yes.
If you mean did God accomplish that in the redemptive work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? Yes.





Yes, we got it.. We have trouble acknowledging your theory as Christianity wether it's framed in muck or cleaned up a bit.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 25, 2010, 07:32:45 PM
I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.

Handmaiden, my dear, that was damning with faint praise!

I have to say, I have often wondered about the way in which Orthodoxy often defines itself negatively. Is this only because the Orthodox Church believes herself to be so long established? Or not?

I'm not sure I understand you Liz, could you please clarify?

I'm sorry. I thought that when you said,
Quote
I know plenty of Catholics and Orthodox that are guilty of this, but I don't blame the Church; it's the ignorance of the laity.
, it was a neat turn of phrase. My understanding was that you were saying that members of both churches could get it wrong (hence damning with faint praise).

The second thing I said was just a general question. I often feel that people will define Orthodoxy by what it is not, perhaps because they are talking to me as a Protestant. So, people will say, 'well, we're not interested in sola scriptura!'

These negatives are fine - but at times I lose a sense of what you do stand for. If you are truly the first and only Church, why would you need to define yourselves by differentiation from us?

Not to say that Orthodox members of this forum always define their faith negatively, but I wonder it ever happens.
Because it's in English. where Protestantism and the Vatican are known quantities, at least in stereotype.  Most haven't a clue about Orthodoxy.  A lot of that is our fault, btw.

I do understand this. It's a problem that needs a lot of work from both sides. But not, I think, an insurmountable one.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 25, 2010, 07:37:19 PM
Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

Not quite, but the rudimentary idea is in there somewhere, I think. Though it's hard to see past all the muck you framed it in.

If you mean is God some kind of moody deity, throwing cosmic pity parties and tantrums, bullying creation for selfish means? No.
If you mean is God vindictive and ill-natured, exacting or requiring that which is unjust? No.
If you mean does God get some kind of satisfaction out of the defamation, murder, and humiliation of His Son? No.

If you mean is God angry at sin and with sinners? Yes.
If you mean did/does God see fit to punish man for his sin? Yes.
If you mean is God unwilling to simply overlook sin or be complicit therein? Yes.
If you mean are we worthy of death and separation from God because of sin? Yes.
If you mean did some sort of reckoning between God's justice and mercy have to be made to permit reconciliation? Yes.
If you mean did God, despite His offense at sin, find a way to pardon and reconcile the sinner? Yes.
If you mean did God see fit to send His Son, as a man, to willingly be a propitiation for our sins? Yes.
If you mean did God accomplish that in the redemptive work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? Yes.



I don't believe God is 'angry' at sin, if by 'angry' we understand something akin to human anger. God saw that man sinned, but He gave His own son to save us from our sins. That is something stronger than 'anger' as we humans know it. I honestly don't believe God is ever 'angry' with sin.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 25, 2010, 08:32:11 PM
Sooooo, God was p****d off at what Adam did, that He extracted punishment on his progeny by having His own Son tortured to death. And now that the Son has died the most horrible death possible, the Father feels so much better. Odd.

Not quite, but the rudimentary idea is in there somewhere, I think. Though it's hard to see past all the muck you framed it in.

If you mean is God some kind of moody deity, throwing cosmic pity parties and tantrums, bullying creation for selfish means? No.
If you mean is God vindictive and ill-natured, exacting or requiring that which is unjust? No.
If you mean does God get some kind of satisfaction out of the defamation, murder, and humiliation of His Son? No.

If you mean is God angry at sin and with sinners? Yes.
If you mean did/does God see fit to punish man for his sin? Yes.
If you mean is God unwilling to simply overlook sin or be complicit therein? Yes.
If you mean are we worthy of death and separation from God because of sin? Yes.
If you mean did some sort of reckoning between God's justice and mercy have to be made to permit reconciliation? Yes.
If you mean did God, despite His offense at sin, find a way to pardon and reconcile the sinner? Yes.
If you mean did God see fit to send His Son, as a man, to willingly be a propitiation for our sins? Yes.
If you mean did God accomplish that in the redemptive work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? Yes.




There are actually verses in the New Testament that speak of God's wrath. Do you have any of them at your finger tips?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 09:19:27 PM
I don't believe God is 'angry' at sin, if by 'angry' we understand something akin to human anger. God saw that man sinned, but He gave His own son to save us from our sins. That is something stronger than 'anger' as we humans know it. I honestly don't believe God is ever 'angry' with sin.

Psalm 7:11
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.


Psalm 21:8-9
Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.


Micah 5:15
And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.


Nahum 1:2
God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.


Mark 3:5
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.


John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;


Ephesians 5:6
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.


Colossians 3:6
For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:





Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 09:21:08 PM
Hey Papist,

I noted a few passages about God's anger or wrath toward sins and sinners in the reply above. There's lot's more, but these are the clearest and simplest to prove thew point. Such as these are what you had in mind, right?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Asteriktos on January 25, 2010, 10:28:56 PM
Interestingly, this topic was discussed recently, albeit briefly, in the thread Does God Get Angry? (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25086.0.html)
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 10:53:33 PM
Interestingly, this topic was discussed recently, albeit briefly, in the thread Does God Get Angry? (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25086.0.html)

Interesting quote.

Quote
"God is not an egotistical tyrant. He does not get angry - contrary to the sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' that you no doubt read in high school. Nor does He live according to some external code of justice whereby He is constrained to punish sinners." 

I would retort...

God is not an egotistical tyrant, indeed. However, He does get angry, as Johnathan Edwards so rightly pointed out in his famed sermon, and so many numerous passages of sacred writ emphatically declare.

No, God does not live according to some external code of justice whereby he is constrained to punish sinners. rather, God lives according to an internal code of justice, emanating from His very nature; His inherent holiness, goodness, and justice. Thereby is He constrained to punish sinners.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 25, 2010, 10:58:11 PM
Cleopas, I can't imagine anything as stupid  as a Deity with perfect foreknowledge Who is surprised by the imperfections of the Work of His own hands and gets angry with them. If God does not overlook sin, why then do we ask in Psalm 51 (LXX) "Turn They Face away from my sin..." which is literally asking Him to overlook them?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Melodist on January 25, 2010, 11:23:32 PM
How does everyone define

Sin?

God's anger?

God's wrath?

I think this might also have to do with the difference in the understanding in about the nature of hell that is common between Orthodoxy and most Protestant churches.

Just a thought.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 11:29:51 PM
Cleopas, I can't imagine anything as stupid  as a Deity with perfect foreknowledge Who is surprised by the imperfections of the Work of His own hands and gets angry with them.

It is not that God is surprised. Anger need not spring from unexpected occurrence of wrong doing, only from the occurrence of wrong doing itself.
I knew my children were prone to got to bed and not go to sleep tonight; to talk, and play, and laugh and disobey me, even though I've taught them, warned them, and corrected them on numerous already. Still, when they disobeyed me tonight, I was angered, and I punished them accordingly.

As for God's turning from anger, He is able (as He instructs us) to be angry without sinning, and even to put away anger. And He is able to do so perfectly.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 25, 2010, 11:40:31 PM
It is not that God is surprised. Anger need not spring from unexpected occurrence of wrong doing, only from the occurrence of wrong doing itself.
Does God have perfect foreknowledge or not? What is the point of getting angry with someone's misbehaviours when you knew full well they were going to do it?

I knew my children were prone to got to bed and not go to sleep tonight; to talk, and play, and laugh and disobey me, even though I've taught them, warned them, and corrected them on numerous already. Still, when they disobeyed me tonight, I was angered, and I punished them accordingly.
I can't do anything about how you want to bring up your kids, but thinking that God operates the way you do is simply creating God in your own image. If you knew the kids were going to get out of bed, why did you get angry? Whats the point? Can't you correct them without being angry?

As for God's turning from anger,
No. I quoted the psalm in which we pray that He turn His face away from our sin. You seem to equate sin with anger.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 25, 2010, 11:47:17 PM
I know what semantics are Oz George. ;) Nice try though.

Rationalize, intellectualize, de-emotionalize, and reinterpret what the word of God says if you must...

But it will stay say God is angry with the wicked, daily.
It will stay say that disobedience deserves and brings His eventual wrath.
It will stay say God will not at all acquit the wicked.
It will stay require a basis for expiation, a means of atonement.
It will still say Jesus is that propitiation for sins.
It will still reveal God as perfect in knowledge, including His foreknowledge, and yet as having emotional capacity as well.
It will keep on declaring both the justness and the mercy of God, the goodness and severity of He who is both just and justifier of them that believe.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 25, 2010, 11:50:55 PM
I know what semantics are Oz George. ;) Nice try though.
Its not semantics Cleopas, its rationality. Anger is an irrational passion and therefore beneath the Dispassionate God and His rational sheep.


Rationalize, intellectualize, de-emotionalize, and reinterpret what the word of God says if you must...
Are the people of your Faith community supposed to be irrational and emotional? It is not so in the Orthodox Church. We don't get carried away by our passions- our task is to tame and bridle them. We are the rational sheep (http://diakrisislogismon.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/rational-sheep/) of Christ.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 26, 2010, 04:35:35 AM
I can't do anything about how you want to bring up your kids, but thinking that God operates the way you do is simply creating God in your own image. If you knew the kids were going to get out of bed, why did you get angry? Whats the point? Can't you correct them without being angry?

This is a good point and one that I could never accept when involved with Evangelicals. I'm not sure at what stage I came to see it as a kind of idolatry.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 26, 2010, 04:52:36 AM
I can't do anything about how you want to bring up your kids, but thinking that God operates the way you do is simply creating God in your own image. If you knew the kids were going to get out of bed, why did you get angry? Whats the point? Can't you correct them without being angry?

This is a good point and one that I could never accept when involved with Evangelicals. I'm not sure at what stage I came to see it as a kind of idolatry.


Riddikulus and Oz George,

My reference here it not meant to convey that God necessarily operates or thinks the way we do, or that I do. rather my intent was to show that even a finite, fallible being, such as myself can experience non-sinful anger in spite of foreknowing my children would disobey and/or misbehave. If I can do that, it's no great stretch the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God of all Creation can do so infinitely more so, and in total perfection, than I.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 26, 2010, 05:07:40 AM
a finite, fallible being, such as myself can experience non-sinful anger in spite of foreknowing my children would disobey and/or misbehave. If I can do that, it's no great stretch the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God of all Creation can do so infinitely more so, and in total perfection, than I.
What are the criteria of this "non-sinful" or "righteous" anger you are able to experience?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 26, 2010, 05:27:04 AM
I can't do anything about how you want to bring up your kids, but thinking that God operates the way you do is simply creating God in your own image. If you knew the kids were going to get out of bed, why did you get angry? Whats the point? Can't you correct them without being angry?

This is a good point and one that I could never accept when involved with Evangelicals. I'm not sure at what stage I came to see it as a kind of idolatry.


Riddikulus and Oz George,

My reference here it not meant to convey that God necessarily operates or thinks the way we do, or that I do. rather my intent was to show that even a finite, fallible being, such as myself can experience non-sinful anger in spite of foreknowing my children would disobey and/or misbehave. If I can do that, it's no great stretch the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God of all Creation can do so infinitely more so, and in total perfection, than I.


I think the issue is, Cleopas, that Evangelicals still see God in human terms, understanding his anger as an extention of human anger; rather than seeing expressions of anger in scripture as a limited human expression of how God is. I came to the understanding that the Evangelical God is merely a bigger and better version of oneself; you know without all the nasty bits. And to different people with different personalities that always came to mean something else. Those who tended to have an authoritarian personality really worshipped an authoritarian God; their focus was on the wrath to come; an angry God. In all the sermons that I can recall; the preacher merely expressed a God that was a version of himself. It was possible to look at the preaching schedule to know what kind of God was being preached on any particular Sunday. One Pastor I knew would express God as an improvement on the father and husband that he was himself; a God with a terrific sense of humour. Another pastor would express a merciful and loving God with tears streaming down his face. Yet another would express a vengeful God with anger in his voice, personally expressing his offence as if God thought just like him. His God was ever perched waiting to take out His wrath on sinners; usually that meant those who didn't see eye to eye with the pastor.  ;)

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Liz on January 27, 2010, 07:44:27 AM
'Anger' is quite different from 'wrath' or 'fury' (incidentally, I don't think God is literally 'furious', since that means possessed by demons of Greek mythology!). That's all I'll say for now as I haven't read the other thread linked to, and I expect this point is made more fully there.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 27, 2010, 10:50:54 AM
...rather my intent was to show that even a finite, fallible being, such as myself can experience non-sinful anger in spite of foreknowing my children would disobey and/or misbehave. If I can do that, it's no great stretch the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God of all Creation can do so infinitely more so, and in total perfection, than I.


I really don't mean to criticize your child-rearing methods, but how is getting angry at your children for acting like children "non-sinful"?

I think that this may be the real heart of the matter. You believe that there is such a thing as "non-sinful anger," while we believe that anger is one of the passions we are trying to overcome. Therefore it may be reasonable for you to believe in God's anger, and why we tend to see God as more like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2010, 11:03:42 AM
Interestingly, this topic was discussed recently, albeit briefly, in the thread Does God Get Angry? (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25086.0.html)

Interesting quote.

Quote
"God is not an egotistical tyrant. He does not get angry - contrary to the sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' that you no doubt read in high school. Nor does He live according to some external code of justice whereby He is constrained to punish sinners." 

I would retort...

God is not an egotistical tyrant, indeed. However, He does get angry, as Johnathan Edwards so rightly pointed out in his famed sermon, and so many numerous passages of sacred writ emphatically declare.

No, God does not live according to some external code of justice whereby he is constrained to punish sinners. rather, God lives according to an internal code of justice, emanating from His very nature; His inherent holiness, goodness, and justice. Thereby is He constrained to punish sinners.
No, He is not.  If He was, then He would have told Adam and Eve "Eat the fruit and I will kill you."  And He would grumble with the field workers who worked all day and got paid the same as those who came at the last hour.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2010, 12:08:32 PM
What are the criteria of this "non-sinful" or "righteous" anger you are able to experience?

Not sinning in, with, or because of said anger.

Quote from: katherineofdixie
I really don't mean to criticize your child-rearing methods, but how is getting angry at your children for acting like children "non-sinful"?

I think that this may be the real heart of the matter. You believe that there is such a thing as "non-sinful anger," while we believe that anger is one of the passions we are trying to overcome. Therefore it may be reasonable for you to believe in God's anger, and why we tend to see God as more like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

How? Because I did not sin in, with, or because of that anger. I was angered because of disobedience, repetitiously so. Pure and simple. Scripture clearly declares we can be angry and sin not. Alas, what was meant as a clarification has turned into a digression.

As to Divine anger, Scripture not only clearly declares one (thus even God) can be angry and sin not, but also that Jesus was angered on occasion (if only at the money changers), and emphatically that God experiences anger. We may not like to think of Him so, but who is really conflating the truth about God with their own ideas here as relates to anger? Scripture couldn't be clearer on the matter. It remains for us only to believe and accept it accordingly.

Anyhow, trying to get back on point....

No, He is not.  If He was, then He would have told Adam and Eve "Eat the fruit and I will kill you."  And He would grumble with the field workers who worked all day and got paid the same as those who came at the last hour.

The key here is propitiation. Christ either was or was not such. If He was, and Scriptures says as much, then God's sense of justice or holiness needed appeasement to provide grounds for His gracious pardon of sins and reconciliation with sinners. Else propitiation is not propitiation, and Scripture is false.

Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Marc1152 on January 27, 2010, 12:24:06 PM
Here are two articles about the Orthodox view of the Atonement Theory.

As I understand it, this theory is relatively new.

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-The%20Atonement

http://sarumtheologian.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/penal-substitutionsatisfaction-theory-of-atonement-an-orthodox-critique/


Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Schultz on January 27, 2010, 12:30:57 PM
...rather my intent was to show that even a finite, fallible being, such as myself can experience non-sinful anger in spite of foreknowing my children would disobey and/or misbehave. If I can do that, it's no great stretch the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God of all Creation can do so infinitely more so, and in total perfection, than I.


I really don't mean to criticize your child-rearing methods, but how is getting angry at your children for acting like children "non-sinful"?

I think that this may be the real heart of the matter. You believe that there is such a thing as "non-sinful anger," while we believe that anger is one of the passions we are trying to overcome. Therefore it may be reasonable for you to believe in God's anger, and why we tend to see God as more like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

Fr Hopko puts forward a very good case, IMO, that anger is not necessarily a de facto passion (http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/anger_and_wrath_in_human_life).  After all, Psalm 4 clearly states (as Cleopas has pointed out) that we can be "angry, but sin not".  

Of course, we have to ask what the criteria for such "sinless anger" can be.  In his podcast, Fr. Tom tells a story from the Desert Fathers on that very question.  The moral of the story is that humanity can have this "sinless anger" if a person is angry at something or someone who separates them from God.  But that is just the feeling of anger.  What one does with it, of course, can be sinful.

The previous podcasts on Anger and Wrath of God are also worth listening to as they also pertain to this current discussion.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2010, 12:33:06 PM
What are the criteria of this "non-sinful" or "righteous" anger you are able to experience?

Not sinning in, with, or because of said anger.

Quote from: katherineofdixie
I really don't mean to criticize your child-rearing methods, but how is getting angry at your children for acting like children "non-sinful"?

I think that this may be the real heart of the matter. You believe that there is such a thing as "non-sinful anger," while we believe that anger is one of the passions we are trying to overcome. Therefore it may be reasonable for you to believe in God's anger, and why we tend to see God as more like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

How? Because I did not sin in, with, or because of that anger. I was angered because of disobedience, repetitiously so. Pure and simple. Scripture clearly declares we can be angry and sin not. Alas, what was meant as a clarification has turned into a digression.

As to Divine anger, Scripture not only clearly declares one (thus even God) can be angry and sin not, but also that Jesus was angered on occasion (if only at the money changers), and emphatically that God experiences anger. We may not like to think of Him so, but who is really conflating the truth about God with their own ideas here as relates to anger? Scripture couldn't be clearer on the matter. It remains for us only to believe and accept it accordingly.

Anyhow, trying to get back on point....

No, He is not.  If He was, then He would have told Adam and Eve "Eat the fruit and I will kill you."  And He would grumble with the field workers who worked all day and got paid the same as those who came at the last hour.

The key here is propitiation. Christ either was or was not such. If He was, and Scriptures says as much, then God's sense of justice or holiness needed appeasement to provide grounds for His gracious pardon of sins and reconciliation with sinners. Else propitiation is not propitiation, and Scripture is false.
No, your dictionary is faulty.

ἱλάσκομαι Short Definition: be merciful
be merciful, make reconciliation for.


Middle voice from the same as hileos; to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious -- be merciful, make reconciliation for.
Word Origin: ἵλεως
Short Definition: gracious.

Nothing juridical there.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 27, 2010, 01:33:09 PM
Hey Papist,

I noted a few passages about God's anger or wrath toward sins and sinners in the reply above. There's lot's more, but these are the clearest and simplest to prove thew point. Such as these are what you had in mind, right?
Yes sir. I am glad you found them much quicker than I would have. It demonstrates that the modern EO idea of God not being just and not having wrath is just not biblical.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2010, 01:37:16 PM
Hey Papist,

I noted a few passages about God's anger or wrath toward sins and sinners in the reply above. There's lot's more, but these are the clearest and simplest to prove thew point. Such as these are what you had in mind, right?
Yes sir. I am glad you found them much quicker than I would have. It demonstrates that the modern EO idea of God not being just and not having wrath is just not biblical.
As my priest said, Protestants and the Vatican are two sides of the same coin.  In this case, the same boogey man theology.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 27, 2010, 01:39:26 PM
What are the criteria of this "non-sinful" or "righteous" anger you are able to experience?

Not sinning in, with, or because of said anger.

Quote from: katherineofdixie
I really don't mean to criticize your child-rearing methods, but how is getting angry at your children for acting like children "non-sinful"?

I think that this may be the real heart of the matter. You believe that there is such a thing as "non-sinful anger," while we believe that anger is one of the passions we are trying to overcome. Therefore it may be reasonable for you to believe in God's anger, and why we tend to see God as more like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

How? Because I did not sin in, with, or because of that anger. I was angered because of disobedience, repetitiously so. Pure and simple. Scripture clearly declares we can be angry and sin not. Alas, what was meant as a clarification has turned into a digression.

As to Divine anger, Scripture not only clearly declares one (thus even God) can be angry and sin not, but also that Jesus was angered on occasion (if only at the money changers), and emphatically that God experiences anger. We may not like to think of Him so, but who is really conflating the truth about God with their own ideas here as relates to anger? Scripture couldn't be clearer on the matter. It remains for us only to believe and accept it accordingly.

Anyhow, trying to get back on point....

No, He is not.  If He was, then He would have told Adam and Eve "Eat the fruit and I will kill you."  And He would grumble with the field workers who worked all day and got paid the same as those who came at the last hour.

The key here is propitiation. Christ either was or was not such. If He was, and Scriptures says as much, then God's sense of justice or holiness needed appeasement to provide grounds for His gracious pardon of sins and reconciliation with sinners. Else propitiation is not propitiation, and Scripture is false.
No, your dictionary is faulty.

ἱλάσκομαι Short Definition: be merciful
be merciful, make reconciliation for.


Middle voice from the same as hileos; to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious -- be merciful, make reconciliation for.
Word Origin: ἵλεως
Short Definition: gracious.

Nothing juridical there.
everything I have read on the passages about the greek in the passages about atonement says that proper translation is Propitiation.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2010, 02:53:29 PM
What are the criteria of this "non-sinful" or "righteous" anger you are able to experience?

Not sinning in, with, or because of said anger.

Quote from: katherineofdixie
I really don't mean to criticize your child-rearing methods, but how is getting angry at your children for acting like children "non-sinful"?

I think that this may be the real heart of the matter. You believe that there is such a thing as "non-sinful anger," while we believe that anger is one of the passions we are trying to overcome. Therefore it may be reasonable for you to believe in God's anger, and why we tend to see God as more like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

How? Because I did not sin in, with, or because of that anger. I was angered because of disobedience, repetitiously so. Pure and simple. Scripture clearly declares we can be angry and sin not. Alas, what was meant as a clarification has turned into a digression.

As to Divine anger, Scripture not only clearly declares one (thus even God) can be angry and sin not, but also that Jesus was angered on occasion (if only at the money changers), and emphatically that God experiences anger. We may not like to think of Him so, but who is really conflating the truth about God with their own ideas here as relates to anger? Scripture couldn't be clearer on the matter. It remains for us only to believe and accept it accordingly.

Anyhow, trying to get back on point....

No, He is not.  If He was, then He would have told Adam and Eve "Eat the fruit and I will kill you."  And He would grumble with the field workers who worked all day and got paid the same as those who came at the last hour.

The key here is propitiation. Christ either was or was not such. If He was, and Scriptures says as much, then God's sense of justice or holiness needed appeasement to provide grounds for His gracious pardon of sins and reconciliation with sinners. Else propitiation is not propitiation, and Scripture is false.
No, your dictionary is faulty.

ἱλάσκομαι Short Definition: be merciful
be merciful, make reconciliation for.


Middle voice from the same as hileos; to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious -- be merciful, make reconciliation for.
Word Origin: ἵλεως
Short Definition: gracious.

Nothing juridical there.
everything I have read on the passages about the greek in the passages about atonement says that proper translation is Propitiation.
Then they can't read Greek and are reading substitutionary atonement, penal substitution, etc. into that void.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2010, 06:49:15 PM
No, your dictionary is faulty.

ἱλάσκομαι Short Definition: be merciful
be merciful, make reconciliation for.


Middle voice from the same as hileos; to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious -- be merciful, make reconciliation for.
Word Origin: ἵλεως
Short Definition: gracious.

Nothing juridical there.

It seems to me your's is selective.

I have spent some time reading numerous dictionaries, etymology listing, lexical aids, etc.  ... All of which basically agree, yielding a consensus meaning of not only a conciliatory function but of appeasing an offended deity. Therefore, I freely admit the conciliatory nature of propitiation, but as coupled together with the atoning, expiating, or appeasing one.

Romans is clear, as quoted earlier, God provided grounds in the offering of Christ for our atonement whereby He could reconcile His justness and His mercy, permitting Him to pardon and reconcile with sinners. That is propitiation.

Romans 3:24-26
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is : Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


Here it is per the Orthodox Study Bible version...

Romans 3:24-26
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


P.S. Oz George, there's a clear Scriptural answer to your question from earlier as well, about sins in the OT. Per the above verses God forbare them in view of the atoning sacrificial work of Christ.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 27, 2010, 08:08:29 PM
Hey Papist,

I noted a few passages about God's anger or wrath toward sins and sinners in the reply above. There's lot's more, but these are the clearest and simplest to prove thew point. Such as these are what you had in mind, right?
Yes sir. I am glad you found them much quicker than I would have. It demonstrates that the modern EO idea of God not being just and not having wrath is just not biblical.
As my priest said, Protestants and the Vatican are two sides of the same coin.  In this case, the same boogey man theology.
Not really. While protestants believe that Christ in a sense suffered a damnation for us, Catholics do not. For Catholics, we believe that God was personally "moved" by such a mertiorious act on the part of Christ on behalf of man, that he allowed us to enter into a new relationship of grace with him. I really think C.S. Lewis description of the matter makes alot of sense in this context.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 27, 2010, 08:09:02 PM
Hey Papist,

I noted a few passages about God's anger or wrath toward sins and sinners in the reply above. There's lot's more, but these are the clearest and simplest to prove thew point. Such as these are what you had in mind, right?
Yes sir. I am glad you found them much quicker than I would have. It demonstrates that the modern EO idea of God not being just and not having wrath is just not biblical.
As my priest said, Protestants and the Vatican are two sides of the same coin.  In this case, the same boogey man theology.

Ignore the Bible if you want but that's gonna be a problem for you.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Papist on January 27, 2010, 08:12:01 PM
No, your dictionary is faulty.

ἱλάσκομαι Short Definition: be merciful
be merciful, make reconciliation for.


Middle voice from the same as hileos; to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious -- be merciful, make reconciliation for.
Word Origin: ἵλεως
Short Definition: gracious.

Nothing juridical there.

It seems to me your's is selective.

I have spent some time reading numerous dictionaries, etymology listing, lexical aids, etc.  ... All of which basically agree, yielding a consensus meaning of not only a conciliatory function but of appeasing an offended deity. Therefore, I freely admit the conciliatory nature of propitiation, but as coupled together with the atoning, expiating, or appeasing one.

Romans is clear, as quoted earlier, God provided grounds in the offering of Christ for our atonement whereby He could reconcile His justness and His mercy, permitting Him to pardon and reconcile with sinners. That is propitiation.

Romans 3:24-26
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is : Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


Here it is per the Orthodox Study Bible version...

Romans 3:24-26
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


P.S. Oz George, there's a clear Scriptural answer to your question from earlier as well, about sins in the OT. Per the above verses God forbare them in view of the atoning sacrificial work of Christ.
Does your church believe that when God declares us righteous, that his words are fruitful and literally make us righteous?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2010, 09:30:43 PM
No, your dictionary is faulty.

ἱλάσκομαι Short Definition: be merciful
be merciful, make reconciliation for.


Middle voice from the same as hileos; to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious -- be merciful, make reconciliation for.
Word Origin: ἵλεως
Short Definition: gracious.

Nothing juridical there.

It seems to me your's is selective.

I have spent some time reading numerous dictionaries, etymology listing, lexical aids, etc.  ... All of which basically agree, yielding a consensus meaning of not only a conciliatory function but of appeasing an offended deity. Therefore, I freely admit the conciliatory nature of propitiation, but as coupled together with the atoning, expiating, or appeasing one.

Romans is clear, as quoted earlier, God provided grounds in the offering of Christ for our atonement whereby He could reconcile His justness and His mercy, permitting Him to pardon and reconcile with sinners. That is propitiation.

That is nonsense.

God (at least ours, the one in the Bible) is not schizophrenic, needing integration of His justice and His mercy.  He is quite fine.

Pagan Greek gods needed appeasement. 
http://artflx.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.35:2:122.LSJ

Not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Quote
Romans 3:24-26
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is : Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


Here it is per the Orthodox Study Bible version...

Romans 3:24-26
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


P.S. Oz George, there's a clear Scriptural answer to your question from earlier as well, about sins in the OT. Per the above verses God forbare them in view of the atoning sacrificial work of Christ.
http://books.google.com/books?id=JNaDupoSycMC&pg=PA287&dq=%E1%BC%B1%CE%BB%CE%AC%CF%83%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%B9&cd=1#
Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint By Bernard A. Taylor
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 27, 2010, 10:00:00 PM
Cleopas, I can't imagine anything as stupid as a Deity with perfect foreknowledge Who is surprised by the imperfections of the Work of His own hands and gets angry with them. If God does not overlook sin, why then do we ask in Psalm 51 (LXX) "Turn They Face away from my sin..." which is literally asking Him to overlook them?

If he does not get angry, then why does the Holy Prophet-King David say in Psalm 21 (LLX) "Let thy hand be found by all thine enemies: let thy right hand find all that hate thee. 9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven at the time of thy presence: the Lord shall trouble them in his anger, and fire shall devour them."

In the Orthodox evening prayers, why do we ask "O Lord, have mercy on us, for in Thee have we put our trust. Do not be angry with us, nor remember our iniquities, but look down on us even now, since Thou art compassionate, and deliver us from our enemies. For Thou art our God, and we are Thy people; we are all the work of Thy hands, and we call on Thy name."
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: John of the North on January 27, 2010, 10:07:06 PM
Cleopas, I can't imagine anything as stupid as a Deity with perfect foreknowledge Who is surprised by the imperfections of the Work of His own hands and gets angry with them. If God does not overlook sin, why then do we ask in Psalm 51 (LXX) "Turn They Face away from my sin..." which is literally asking Him to overlook them?

If he does not get angry, then why does the Holy Prophet-King David say in Psalm 21 (LLX) "Let thy hand be found by all thine enemies: let thy right hand find all that hate thee. 9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven at the time of thy presence: the Lord shall trouble them in his anger, and fire shall devour them."

In the Orthodox evening prayers, why do we ask "O Lord, have mercy on us, for in Thee have we put our trust. Do not be angry with us, nor remember our iniquities, but look down on us even now, since Thou art compassionate, and deliver us from our enemies. For Thou art our God, and we are Thy people; we are all the work of Thy hands, and we call on Thy name."

Anthropomorphism.

‘The God of the Church as known and proclaimed by the Orthodox experience and tradition has never had anything to do with the God of the Roman juridical tradition … he has never been thought of as a vengeful God who rules by fear, meting out punishments and torment for men.’
‘The Freedom of Morality” by C. Yannaras
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 27, 2010, 10:15:50 PM
Anthropomorphism

My, what a big word!  You've confounded me with your wisdom!
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 27, 2010, 10:17:43 PM
Not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

No?  Does he only "need" blood on doorposts to keep himself from slaying the firstborn sons in the house?  Does he need to drain the blood of innocent Egyptian children to prove a point?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: John of the North on January 27, 2010, 10:18:32 PM
Anthropomorphism

My, what a big word!  You've confounded me with your wisdom!

No need for sarcasm. It's not my fault you seem hell-bent on believing in a wrathful God.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 27, 2010, 10:27:21 PM
It's not my fault you seem hell-bent on believing in a wrathful God.

It's not my fault you seem hell-bent on ignoring a wrathful God.  Look, I don't think that "anger" in God is what we conceive of as anger, but the same disclaimer applies to "love" or any other concept we project onto a Being infinitely beyond our comprehension.  But to just completely ignore a view of God all over Holy Scripture just seems strange to me.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 27, 2010, 10:33:47 PM
‘The God of the Church as known and proclaimed by the Orthodox experience and tradition has never had anything to do with the God of the Roman juridical tradition … he has never been thought of as a vengeful God who rules by fear, meting out punishments and torment for men.’

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him.

I agree that the punishment is self-inflicted, but it is also cooperative.  If salvation is cooperative, as so many Orthodox insist, then how is damnation not equally cooperative, if they are indeed the same experience based on the person's receptivity to God?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: John of the North on January 27, 2010, 10:39:48 PM

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him.

I agree that the punishment is self-inflicted, but it is also cooperative.  If salvation is cooperative, as so many Orthodox insist, then how is damnation not equally cooperative, if they are indeed the same experience based on the person's receptivity to God?

Damnation is caused by the lack of cooperativeness on the part of the believer. This is why the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. God IS Love, and is experienced by all. Those who reject that experience and who refuse to cooperate with God's grace (through repentance), consign themselves to Gehenna. Gehenna being the creation of the unrepentant sinners.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 27, 2010, 10:47:28 PM
I think the simple answer here is that the Church teaches both realities.

Why do the Orthodox prayers ask that God not be angry with us is he is not angry with us over our sin?

Has anybody ever read the Jordanville prayer book?  In those prayers, I seem to recall they even ask the Mother of God not to get angry over the things that we've done.  Oh, wait, here it come: ROMAN CATHOLIC INFLUENCE!  The ultimate trump card when you're in any corner.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: John of the North on January 28, 2010, 12:07:09 AM
I think the simple answer here is that the Church teaches both realities.

Why do the Orthodox prayers ask that God not be angry with us is he is not angry with us over our sin?

Has anybody ever read the Jordanville prayer book?  In those prayers, I seem to recall they even ask the Mother of God not to get angry over the things that we've done.  Oh, wait, here it come: ROMAN CATHOLIC INFLUENCE!  The ultimate trump card when you're in any corner.

How can there be two realities?? The only reality is that God is Love. It may be that certain persons experience that love in a form they describe as wrath, but that doesn't mean that God Himself is wrathful. It just means that people are reading their own experiences into the texts.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 29, 2010, 05:47:07 AM
God does not change like we do. In Him there is no shadow of turning. He is the same yesterday and today. He is not "sometimes angry and sometimes not".
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 29, 2010, 05:56:08 AM
God does not change like we do. In Him there is no shadow of turning. He is the same yesterday and today. He is not "sometimes angry and sometimes not".

You're right.  He doesn't change.  He's always capable of being angry if He is so inclined.

Doesn't this seem to indicate that God does change, or can at least change his mind:

Quote from: Genesis 6:6
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

He seems sorry about something.  Even if this isn't a "change" in some absolute sense, a change is still indicated.

Or is God perpetually and unflinchingly regretful?  Just because we understand an act or "feeling" of God in human terms doesn't mean that god is limited to that conception, or that he must be forever "stuck" in that mode of operation.  We perceive his anger, his regret, etc. with our feeble minds in a feeble way, but they point to some sort of a reality about God.

Why is everyone trying to whitewash God of any potentially offensive traits?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 29, 2010, 06:15:25 AM
He doesn't change.  He's always capable of being angry if He is so inclined.
The first sentence completely contradicts the second. If God becomes angry, He has changed.

Doesn't this seem to indicate that God does change, or can at least change his mind:
"Change His mind"? Heresy plain and simple. If God ever "changed His mind" then He would not be God since He thought something inferior to a different thought and decided to go with the better thought. God does not repent. God does not change. Period.

Why is everyone trying to whitewash God of any potentially offensive traits?
Nobody is trying to "whitewash God" (as though that were even necessary). What they are trying to do is bring you into line with Orthodox Christian teaching. Have you asked your Priest about this? (obviously, you won't listen to anyone here). And by the same token as the question you asked about "everyone" here who is Orthodox, here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) Is everyone else, including those who have been Orthodox all their lives wrong and you right?
2) Why is it necessary for you that God be subject to emotions?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Asteriktos on January 29, 2010, 11:04:15 AM
Quote
Doesn't this seem to indicate that God does change, or can at least change his mind:

Yes, it does. It really does. Even if you say it's anthropomorphic language, it still does. But that's not orthodox belief, so cut that tumor-of-truth from your intellectual brain and move on. ;) But if you would dare to have your mind corrupted, you might want to look up some info on the Open Theism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_theism) debate, which is quite lively in certain Protestant groups.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Al Lipscomb on January 29, 2010, 11:34:00 AM
I am so glad that I am out of the Charismatic, Evangelical, Dispensational, Pre-tribulation, Protestant world. 

I don't think there should be a doubt as to God getting angry. The thing that seems to be getting overlooked is that when that happens, God deals with it pretty quickly. Lot was evacuated hours before the end, but the decision was made and things set in motion rather quickly from what I can understand of the account. When Paul confronted Ananius and then Sapphira the result was quick and without question. Paul also tells us of those who approached the Lord's table in an unworthy state and met their fate. God is not surprised by our actions, but His anger is one of displeasure and does not look like human rage.   

But this is not God's default state with humanity. As Jesus showed us with the Prodigal Son, he walked away from what his father had for him. But the father did not stand around fuming about the situation and planning the son's punishment. Instead he was shown as waiting hopefully for the son's return. When the son did return it was not to stand before the father in judgment, but a celebration and restoration of the relationship. The loss of the inheritance was not counted but new wealth was given.




 
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ialmisry on January 29, 2010, 12:23:14 PM
Quote
Doesn't this seem to indicate that God does change, or can at least change his mind:

Yes, it does. It really does. Even if you say it's anthropomorphic language, it still does. But that's not orthodox belief, so cut that tumor-of-truth from your intellectual brain and move on. ;) But if you would dare to have your mind corrupted, you might want to look up some info on the Open Theism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_theism) debate, which is quite lively in certain Protestant groups.

Good, because that's where such thinking belongs.

God doesn't change His mind any more than when He asked Adam "Where are you?...What have you done?" that He didn't know.  As for anthropomorphic language, this morning I asked my son if he had done his homework, I knowing full well that he had not.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 29, 2010, 02:24:36 PM
OK, let's try a different question then.  Does God punish?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: John of the North on January 29, 2010, 03:45:08 PM
OK, let's try a different question then.  Does God punish?

No. "Punishment" is what occurs when God allows us to follow our own wills instead of His.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Al Lipscomb on January 29, 2010, 03:57:17 PM
By providing unpleasant things in order to correct improper behavior? I would guess that He does.

Corrective punishment would be what Moses felt when God kept him from entering into the promised land. It was unpleasant for Moses, but it corrected the improper behavior and allowed God to continue working with him.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Tzimis on January 29, 2010, 04:26:38 PM
OK, let's try a different question then.  Does God punish?

Yes. By creating a will. One can choose to revolt. The revolt may become everlasting because of your reliance to whom you withdrew.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 29, 2010, 07:50:15 PM
OK, let's try a different question then.  Does God punish?
No. There is no point in punishment. What was Job "punished" for? If God "punishes" then His punishment is completely arbitrary and makes no sense. Even Our Lord Jesus Christ said so:

Luke 13:1-5

"There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

In fact, Our Lord said that the spirit which seeks to punish does not come from God:

Luke 9:52-56
"and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” "

And He clearly said that God treats the good and the wicked the same and commands us to do likewise:

Matthew 5:43-45
“You have heard that it was said,  ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

The Sun (Divine Energies) shines on the good and the wicked alike. The Light of Christ shines on all. Those who are prepared for it experience it as the glorious Light of Tabor, and those who are unprepared for it and seek to hide from it experience it as the flames of torment. But it is the same Light shining on both. God does not punish us. We punish ourselves.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: John of the North on January 29, 2010, 07:52:03 PM
What ozgeorge said.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Riddikulus on January 29, 2010, 07:58:21 PM
What ozgeorge said.

Hear, hear!  ;D
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 30, 2010, 02:12:01 AM
No. There is no point in punishment.

Thanks for the thorough response.  I really appreciate all of the time you put into it.  So please bear with me as I continue to try to understand your position.

Does God discipline?
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 30, 2010, 03:26:35 AM
Does God discipline?
Look at the world around you, does it look disciplined? Innocent children starving to death, being butchered in wars, being orphaned in the millions by AIDS. What did they do? My sins weigh on me with the weight of the Great Pyramid, and these children are innocents- why are they "disciplined" and not I?
Tomorrow is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Read the Gospel for the day in which Our Lord Jesus Christ explains the Forgiveness of God. It was not the Father who caused the Prodigal Son to suffer. And when the Prodigal Son returned, he couldn't even finish what he had planned to say before the Father embraced him. God does not discipline. God heals. God forgives.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Cymbyz on January 30, 2010, 02:06:24 PM
Quote
God heals. God forgives.

Say also that the medicine He uses may be bitter, and have unpleasant side-effects.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 30, 2010, 03:33:30 PM
God does not discipline. God heals. God forgives.

I am really trying to understand your position George.  I really am.  It just seems like you're ignoring the plain truth of the Holy Scriptures to avoid an aspect of God that you don't like; anything that offends your conception of God, even if it is in the Holy Scriptures themselves.

Quote from: Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
       and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
       as a father the son he delights in.

Here we see that God's discipline or chastising is an aspect of his love and concern for us.  I am not talking about natural disasters and diseases per se, just to address things you were bringing up.  But a chastening can be a part of God's love for us.

Quote from: Hebrews 12:7-11
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

The writings of Elder Ephraim of Florence are worth bringing up because he actually talking about God being dispassionate while disciplining us:

Quote from: On Afflictions, Pain, and Labors #4
The discipline of the Lord is inevitable towards his own children, whom he knows.  God does practice favoritism; God, being dispassionate and holy, is not overcome by unhealthy love - which many foolish parents practice on their children and which afterward causes the destruction and eternal punishment of their loved ones.  He does not overlook the misconduct and lack of discipline of His beloved children so that He would not upset them.  No, a thousand times no!  He is God, possessing genuine love towards His children.  he will discipline them; He will admonish them; He will bind their freedom and will them in various ways in order to transform evil characters into His own holy characters, unto glory and praise in Christ Jesus.

Please help me to understand your position, if it is the proper and binding one for Orthodox Christians, as I desire to conform to the mind of the Church, not to contend with Her.  May God guide us all together toward His Truth.
Title: Re: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!
Post by: ozgeorge on January 30, 2010, 04:23:19 PM
I am really trying to understand your position George.  I really am.  It just seems like you're ignoring the plain truth of the Holy Scriptures to avoid an aspect of God that you don't like; anything that offends your conception of God, even if it is in the Holy Scriptures themselves.
Then How come I quote so much of it? And particularly the New Testament while in order to support your thesis of an "angry" God who changes moods, you can only quote the Old?

Quote from: Hebrews 12:7-11
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Patience in the face of hardship. That is our discipline, hence my favourite non-Orthodox hymn:
( http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25683.msg404304.html#msg404304 )  
Note also the contrast between the discipline of earthly fathers and God in your quote above: "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good".

The writings of Elder Ephraim of Florence are worth bringing up because he actually talking about God being dispassionate while disciplining us:
If God is dispassionate, how can He get angry as you claim He does? You can't have it both ways.