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Author Topic: The Willful Ignorance of Protestantism  (Read 17758 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: October 29, 2006, 03:07:55 AM »

Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen? It's quite bothersome. Since when is closedmindedness a tenet of the Bible?
I have no anger nor hatred against our Protestant neighbors, but I hope they could be more open to new knowledge and perspectives. And it's not just me, I've spoken with Orthodox clergymen about how, in their own experiences, Protestants can be almost completely unreachable. What's the deal?

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2006, 04:25:28 AM »

Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen?
No, not at all. This is not my own experience.
Perhaps you haven't explored all the ways in which the Orthodox Faith can be offered up for discussion.
For example, calling an entire group of people "Willfully Ignorant" is not going to make them want to hear you out on anything.

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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2006, 04:48:29 AM »

I find that too many contemporary Americans in general share the mentality of "I've made up my mind, don't bother me with the facts." Democrats and Republicans, Protestants and Catholics, Southerners and "Yankees," etc. Everything has become so polarized that people aren't able to consider new information that is contrary to their own worldview.

Peace.
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2006, 05:40:14 AM »

Well then, perhaps you may want to consider changing the title of this thread to something that may invite discussion about this phenomenon of poilarization you encounter rather than alienate an entire group of posters and add to that polarization yourself?
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2006, 08:36:40 AM »

Well then, perhaps you may want to consider changing the title of this thread to something that may invite discussion about this phenomenon of poilarization you encounter rather than alienate an entire group of posters and add to that polarization yourself?

"The Woefull Ignorance of M....", no, no, no....  Wink

The only thing that ticks me off in engaging Protestants is having to defend RCs for a large part of the discussion.
Polarization? No way...I listen to the other side at least two or three pico-seconds
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2006, 09:12:19 AM »

Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen?

Perhaps it's because most Protestants, like most people, aren't interested in getting sucked into a round of religious contentiousness.

And I suppose the whole thing is balanced out by all those orthodox who can figure out that Prestantism covers more territory than Southern Baptists.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2006, 12:26:07 PM »

Sadly I find pretty much all of what M7's statements are to be truthful in most cases. But the witness I discovered to reign very true to the Protestants I know is to just live the Orthodox Life, and after the few jokes every season some start joining me in Church or start attending ones close to them. No conversions yet but I do have one Catechumen from my old peer herd.

Blessings,
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2006, 08:45:29 PM »


The only thing that ticks me off in engaging Protestants is having to defend RCs for a large part of the discussion.


ME TOO!!!!!!!!  I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me.  I end up saying things like "RC's arn't really THAT bad"   Cheesy  Actually, in a lot of ways they really have things going for them.  And its not like we orthodox don't have our issues either...

Anyway, it really is amazing how a lot of Protestants that i've talked to automatically associate Orthodoxy with Catholicism (roman).  Which brings me to the original question, why is it that they can't seam to break from their "world view"?? 

I think we need to try different approaches, as someone else said.  I also think that we need to be patient...really, really, really patient.  If you try telling a hard-core Serbian person who Christ REALLY is (loving, carring, wants you to take communion) they might flip a lid.  So it goes for anyone who has entrenched themselves in one view. 
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2006, 11:56:42 PM »

Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen? It's quite bothersome. Since when is closedmindedness a tenet of the Bible?
I have no anger nor hatred against our Protestant neighbors, but I hope they could be more open to new knowledge and perspectives. And it's not just me, I've spoken with Orthodox clergymen about how, in their own experiences, Protestants can be almost completely unreachable. What's the deal?

Peace.
My best friend is a Protestant. He is an amazing man. God loving and devout. We have discussed Christian history and theology a great deal. I can say that he is genuinely convinced that Protestantism is true. If he was not convinced of this he would not be a Protestant. I believe he is mistaken in his theology, but I do not doubt for a second that he is following what he believes to be the true expression of Christianity. And there in lies the the complex nature of conversion. If a person truely believes that his religion is true, then he feels no reason to seek out something else.
Many blessings in Christ.
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2006, 12:32:13 AM »

My best friend is a Protestant. He is an amazing man. God loving and devout. We have discussed Christian history and theology a great deal. I can say that he is genuinely convinced that Protestantism is true. If he was not convinced of this he would not be a Protestant. I believe he is mistaken in his theology, but I do not doubt for a second that he is following what he believes to be the true expression of Christianity. And there in lies the the complex nature of conversion. If a person truely believes that his religion is true, then he feels no reason to seek out something else.
Many blessings in Christ.

I've wondered that myself.  I used to be a very strong Catholic, went to a conservative Catholic school, thought I was going to be a priest, was reading Aquinas on my own and taught a few theology classes, etc.  Now I am on my journey to converting to Orthodoxy.  Why did I look elsewhere?  Partially because of all the mess I saw with Vatican II (I looked at the traditionalists), but I also looked outside Catholicism because I felt something was lacking even in Traditional Catholicism.  So you never know, your friend may end up leaving Protestantism Smiley.  If you asked me 3-4 years ago if I would be where I am right now, I'd tell you that you are crazy.  Of course now, I wouldn't seek out anything else, after seeing the beauty and glory of Orthodoxy, I have never seen anything that comes close.   
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2006, 02:50:33 AM »

Many American Protestants have never even heard of Orthodoxy, and if you try to explain to them what it is, they will brush it off as inconsequential or "the traditions of men" or "not the Bible alone," etc.

Peace.
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2006, 03:14:32 AM »

Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen? It's quite bothersome. Since when is closedmindedness a tenet of the Bible?
I have no anger nor hatred against our Protestant neighbors, but I hope they could be more open to new knowledge and perspectives. And it's not just me, I've spoken with Orthodox clergymen about how, in their own experiences, Protestants can be almost completely unreachable. What's the deal?


Ummm...yeah.  Mattiewos 7:4-6

Or were those three verses deleted from the Biblical Canon of Matthew777??  Angry
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2006, 03:34:31 AM »

Making the observation that many people are either unable or unwilling to consider the Orthodox faith in a logical way is not being judgemental, it's being honest.

Peace.
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2006, 03:52:24 AM »

Perhaps it's because most Protestants, like most people, aren't interested in getting sucked into a round of religious contentiousness.

Why hasn't an honest and thorough investigation of Church history converted you to the Orthodox faith?

Peace.
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2006, 04:01:43 AM »

Quote
Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen? It's quite bothersome. Since when is closedmindedness a tenet of the Bible?
I have no anger nor hatred against our Protestant neighbors, but I hope they could be more open to new knowledge and perspectives. And it's not just me, I've spoken with Orthodox clergymen about how, in their own experiences, Protestants can be almost completely unreachable. What's the deal?

I think the "deal" is that most Protestants rely too much on their emotions in discerning the truth.  It is this theatrical and carnal approach to Christianity that sets them apart from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Once they have laughed enough, cried enough and hated enough, that's the only time they will seek the kind of spirituality, mysticism and philosophy that only the Orthodox Church can offer.
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2006, 08:36:06 AM »

I think the "deal" is that most Protestants rely too much on their emotions in discerning the truth.  It is this theatrical and carnal approach to Christianity that sets them apart from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Once they have laughed enough, cried enough and hated enough, that's the only time they will seek the kind of spirituality, mysticism and philosophy that only the Orthodox Church can offer.


This is a very interesting observation.  Can you maybe go into this more?  What makes you say this?  What do you think is behind it?  Etc. 
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2006, 09:50:11 AM »

I think the "deal" is that most Protestants rely too much on their emotions in discerning the truth.  It is this theatrical and carnal approach to Christianity that sets them apart from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Once they have laughed enough, cried enough and hated enough, that's the only time they will seek the kind of spirituality, mysticism and philosophy that only the Orthodox Church can offer.


I would be interested in what your definition of "Protestant" is.  I suspect that there is a lot of question begging involved, as in:

Protestants are by definition people who claim they have found the truth based on their emotions, as opposed to their reason, unlike us rational Orthodox and Catholics.  Therefore "I think the "deal" is that most Protestants rely too much on their emotions in discerning the truth.  It is this theatrical and carnal approach to Christianity that sets them apart from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy."

By the way, I am a Lutheran (you know, THOSE Protestants), inquiring into Orthodoxy.  Last I checked there was little theatrical carnality in our Lutheran liturgy, just heartfull (you know, that central faculty of the soul) prayer in and with the Spirit and thanks to and in communion with the Lord.  Perhaps you didn't get the memo?  Or perhaps you think that the TBN crowd is representative of Protestantism?

And for the other commenters on this thread, I would note that I have never expected an Orthodox to defend a Catholic on a point of faith - seems kind of like asking a Calvinist to defend a Mormon.  Nor do I consider Catholics in general to be other than intelligent, informed, and sincere in their faith, as most Protestants also are (and some are not).  That being said, I sometimes wonder about you Orthodox.  Wink I am inquiring into Orthodoxy for a number of reasons, but certainly not because Orthodox are somehow inherently more rational or less emotional than us 'Protestants'.  Do I detect a bit of sinful pride at work in this Protestant bashing?  The Lord moves whom He will for His reasons, not yours.  His will be done.

By the way again, for those of you who have this chip on your shoulder about how little known or understood Orthodoxy is among Protestants, perhaps you should stop blaming their ignorance on them and look at yourselves.  If their ignorance so offends you, it is your responsibility to do something about it.  That is what we in the adult world call "taking responsibility", an integral part of "growing up."

Now that I think on it, this whole thread reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with a couple young male co-workers.  We were out on the town one night sitting at an outdoor cafe and they were complaining about how they didn't have girlfriends at the time.  Meanwhile I looked over and saw plenty of pretty young things also out enjoying the summer evening.  So I said to them straight up, "Why are you sitting here over your suds complaining to me about it?  If you were really desperate for a girlfriend you would be out there getting one!"  At this they both sort of started, looked at me, looked at each other, then one of them said, "Damn, you're absolutely right!" and we all busted out laughing.  The moral of the story?  Simple: Be a man.  If you see something you don't like that you have the power to do something about, don't sit around complaining in your suds to your buds.

Cheers and God bless your efforts to spread the Gospel,
Brian
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2006, 10:22:45 AM »

"The only thing that ticks me off in engaging Protestants is having to defend RCs for a large part of the discussion.

A Southern Baptist recently came to my door to invite me to his church for Sunday which then brought on a twenty minute discussion on the faith before he started to get quite distressed by the answers I was giving him, not because they were different from his beliefs but because he thought that they were true. But he began his whole speech by assaulting Roman Catholicism; I had to ask repeatedly to tone down the Catholic bashing.  But then I realized that I have done more than my share of that.  Otherwise, he was quite cordial and I, in turn, invited him to Saturday Great Vespers and the Liturgy.  It seems that Protestantism has become a cultural identity of its own.  It's the "I can't become Orthodox because I was born Protestant" excuse.  But the truth takes longer with some people; you can only hope and pray.

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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2006, 11:44:45 AM »

Do I detect a bit of sinful pride at work in this Protestant bashing?
I think it's fatigue, actually. You can only listen to someone pontificate on the subject of "But the 2nd Commandment forbids use of these graven images!" in regards to icons only so many times before you start "getting a little snippy about it."
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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2006, 01:32:08 PM »

I think it's fatigue, actually. You can only listen to someone pontificate on the subject of "But the 2nd Commandment forbids use of these graven images!" in regards to icons only so many times before you start "getting a little snippy about it."

That sounds just like the lame excuses used by my friends complaining over their suds about not having girlfriends rather than going out and doing something about it.  My advice is the same - deal with your problems directly rather than seeking comfort through suds with buds, otherwise you are just tip-toing effeminately around the problem.  Instead of getting "snippy" in a public forum over "Protestants" in general, which is just a way of avoiding any real issues, and which is furthermore an unwarranted, unjustified, and untruthful generalization that is both insulting and discouraging to Protestants like myself, why don't you simply get snippy with the specific people who "fatigue" you?  Time to grow up boys, stop blaming your frustrations, failures, and fatiques on Protestants, because your frustrations ultimately stem from something within yourself rather than in the supposed bad behavior of those nasty "others".  Okay, that's enough tough love for the day.  I'll leave you to your sudsy ponderings.

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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2006, 01:55:50 PM »

Willfull is a strong word. I beleive some non-Orthodox are willfully ignorant while others are apathetic. In regards to American Culture, I believe many people, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, are ignorant of not only church history but Christian history. I do agree that I hate having to first explain to the ignorant the Orthodoxy is not Catholicism.
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2006, 02:00:28 PM »

Brian,

I would be remis if I didn't tell you that when I was writing my response to the subject of "protecting" RC's I really tried to use my words carefully, so that no one would be offended by them.  If that did not happen due to laziness, tired-ness, or any other reason, I sincerely appologize. 

I think you should also realize that if so many people on this forum are having the same expience, and an non-pleasant one at that, then there's something to be said about it. 

I like your approach, and your answer.  If we spent 1/10th of our time actually doing instead of complaining, we would have a lot less complaining in general. 

But I also think that its a good idea to bring these things forward and talk about them.  At least your friends on the porch were willing to talk about it.  A lot of people just sit and stare at their problems go by them, and say nothing. 

Anyway, I really hope that our idiosyncracies have not detered you in any way.  Sometimes when you don't understand something, the dialogue about it can be misunderstanded itself. 
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2006, 02:10:49 PM »

Making the observation that many people are either unable or unwilling to consider the Orthodox faith in a logical way is not being judgemental, it's being honest.

Peace.

You missed my point, but whatever...I am not gonna bother myself over you, I do have more important things to do.

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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2006, 02:18:01 PM »

That sounds just like the lame excuses used by my friends...
Then perhaps you could have taken the time to note that I wasn't using it as an excuse for any behavior on my part but was rendering an opinion based upon what I had observed.

Don't worry about it, though. Such mis-directed "tough love" is somewhat amusing.  Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2006, 03:01:55 PM »

Brian,

I would be remis if I didn't tell you that when I was writing my response to the subject of "protecting" RC's I really tried to use my words carefully, so that no one would be offended by them.  If that did not happen due to laziness, tired-ness, or any other reason, I sincerely appologize. 

I think you should also realize that if so many people on this forum are having the same expience, and an non-pleasant one at that, then there's something to be said about it. 

I like your approach, and your answer.  If we spent 1/10th of our time actually doing instead of complaining, we would have a lot less complaining in general. 

But I also think that its a good idea to bring these things forward and talk about them.  At least your friends on the porch were willing to talk about it.  A lot of people just sit and stare at their problems go by them, and say nothing. 

Anyway, I really hope that our idiosyncracies have not detered you in any way.  Sometimes when you don't understand something, the dialogue about it can be misunderstanded itself. 

Serb1389,

Nothing said on these boards will deter me from continuing on the path to Orthdoxy, but I appreciate your comments nonetheless.  I expect people to act like, well, the fallen human beings we all are pretty much all the time.  I am under no illusion that your average Orthodox is a saint, nor is your average Protestant.  So even when people are being deliberately (one might even say 'Willfully') insulting of entire categories of people, I can take it in stride.  Of course, that doesn't mean I won't lovingly call them on it, as it would be unChristian of me to not help keep my brother in truth.  Wink

In Christ,
Brian
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« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2006, 03:31:39 PM »

Then perhaps you could have taken the time to note that I wasn't using it as an excuse for any behavior on my part but was rendering an opinion based upon what I had observed.

Don't worry about it, though. Such mis-directed "tough love" is somewhat amusing.  Cheesy

You aren't fooling anyone you know.

 Roll Eyes

Cheers in Christ,
Brian

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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2006, 06:26:12 PM »

will you males knock it off!  You guys get your tighties in a bunch over the most absurd things. 

I was a baptist for 33 years, and i can tell you the language is totally different.  The basic understanding of just about every core belief is different.  They piece together history as it suits them, leaving out hundreds and hundreds of years and truths that don't sit well.  And this practice varies within the many demoms.

You have to UNDERSTAND protestant teaching, prot. beliefs in order to minister to them. You have to speak kindly in their "language", or your just another arrogant twit.  Just pulling on the many lose threads of their faith while they are at your door isn't enough.  Most will walk away not even seeing their nakedness, they are that imbedded in the teaching.  I do not say this to put anyone down at all, remember I was protestant far longer than I have been Orthodox.  Rather than rant like Yosemite Sam about how ignorant protestants are, do something about your attitude then reach out correctly. You can't be ignorant of what they have been taught and programmed with, then call them ignorant.
 Not every protestant is ready to hear the truth, remember!  Only the Holy Spirit can prepare a fertile heart for a truth so foreign to most of us here in the US.  It's FAR easier to remain a protestant that drives a mercedes, lives in a million dollar home and a vacation home, and has the rapture to hang onto.  The mind loses a lot when it converts to Orthodoxy, little matter many protestant bastions are false.



 
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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2006, 06:29:04 PM »

You aren't fooling anyone you know.

 Roll Eyes

Cheers in Christ,
Brian



Brian,
Also try to keep in mind that M777 has a habit of starting these out of left field or outlandish threads.  It amuses most of us other posters too.
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« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2006, 06:54:05 PM »

Perhaps we should rename this the "Sweeping Generalisations Thread".
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« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2006, 08:15:26 PM »

Perhaps we should rename this the "Sweeping Generalisations Thread".

Nah, because then we'd be discriminating against the threads that make sweeping generalizations.  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2006, 10:52:12 PM »

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I would be interested in what your definition of "Protestant" is.  I suspect that there is a lot of question begging involved, as in:

Protestants are by definition people who claim they have found the truth based on their emotions, as opposed to their reason, unlike us rational Orthodox and Catholics.  Therefore "I think the "deal" is that most Protestants rely too much on their emotions in discerning the truth.  It is this theatrical and carnal approach to Christianity that sets them apart from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy."

You are misconstruing my statement.  Don't make it appear that your assumptions are mine.  I never said that Orthodoxy relies on reason, nor did I say that the Protestants discovered the truth based on their emotions. 

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By the way, I am a Lutheran (you know, THOSE Protestants), inquiring into Orthodoxy.  Last I checked there was little theatrical carnality in our Lutheran liturgy, just heartfull (you know, that central faculty of the soul) prayer in and with the Spirit and thanks to and in communion with the Lord.  Perhaps you didn't get the memo?

I believe that carnality is a general characteristic of Western Christianity.  Roman Catholicism introduced it, and Protestantism elevated it to another level.  One can better understand this by comparing western art with Orthodox iconography.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/webgalleryart.html
Also from Photios Kontoglou: "The works of Western religious art are emotional and dramatic. The dramatic element is carnal, even though it is thought to be spiritual. In the Orthodox icon there exists the liturgical element. Wherever the liturgical element is present, there the dramatic and emotional [or carnal] element is neutralized. In the works of Western religious art there is no spiritual ascent. The saints, Christ, the All-holy Mother of God are simply people painted from life, ordinary people who portray Christ, the All-holy One, or the saints. With us the iconographer is not an ordinary painter as in the West; he has a special service [liturgy] to perform through this art, a spiritual service [liturgy] and for this reason his is called "iconographer".

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Or perhaps you think that the TBN crowd is representative of Protestantism?

Talk about elevating carnality to the HIGHEST level. 

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And for the other commenters on this thread, I would note that I have never expected an Orthodox to defend a Catholic on a point of faith - seems kind of like asking a Calvinist to defend a Mormon.

I am also one of those who defend the Catholic Faith next to Orthodoxy.  Ironic isn’t it?

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Do I detect a bit of sinful pride at work in this Protestant bashing?

Do you not detect "sinful pride" in taking potshots at the TBN crowd?  I don't.  In the first place, criticizing religios groups for being emotional is not bashing.

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By the way again, for those of you who have this chip on your shoulder about how little known or understood Orthodoxy is among Protestants, perhaps you should stop blaming their ignorance on them and look at yourselves.  If their ignorance so offends you, it is your responsibility to do something about it.  That is what we in the adult world call "taking responsibility", an integral part of "growing up."

But we should know who we are dealing with first--in this case, the Protestants--before we introduce Orthodoxy to them.

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Now that I think on it, this whole thread reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with a couple young male co-workers.  We were out on the town one night sitting at an outdoor cafe and they were complaining about how they didn't have girlfriends at the time.  Meanwhile I looked over and saw plenty of pretty young things also out enjoying the summer evening.  So I said to them straight up, "Why are you sitting here over your suds complaining to me about it?  If you were really desperate for a girlfriend you would be out there getting one!"  At this they both sort of started, looked at me, looked at each other, then one of them said, "Damn, you're absolutely right!" and we all busted out laughing.  The moral of the story?  Simple: Be a man.  If you see something you don't like that you have the power to do something about, don't sit around complaining in your suds to your buds.

But don't expect us to knock on your door.  You have to go out and seek for yourself.  The doors of Orthodoxy are open to those who want to come in.

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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2006, 01:20:06 AM »

will you males knock it off!  You guys get your tighties in a bunch over the most absurd things. 

um...this may be a little extreme

In fact, I would LOVE to hear what you think we are getting our "tighties in a bunch over" 

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It's FAR easier to remain a protestant that drives a mercedes, lives in a million dollar home and a vacation home, and has the rapture to hang onto.

Really?  How do you figure?  (genuinly interested in knowing) 

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The mind loses a lot when it converts to Orthodoxy, little matter many protestant bastions are false.

Would you mind following this up with something...more substantive? 
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« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2006, 01:41:00 AM »

You are misconstruing my statement.  Don't make it appear that your assumptions are mine.  I never said that Orthodoxy relies on reason, nor did I say that the Protestants discovered the truth based on their emotions. 

I didn't misconstrue your assumptions as you haven't stated them.  I asked what your assumptions were, and stated that I suspected some question begging may be (not 'is') occuring.  As you still haven't defined 'Protestantism' I have no way of really knowing what your assumptions are.

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I believe that carnality is a general characteristic of Western Christianity.  Roman Catholicism introduced it, and Protestantism elevated it to another level.  One can better understand this by comparing western art with Orthodox iconography.

You can believe whatever you want, but assertions are not arguments.  So I ask you to prove it - make a real argument so we can examine your premises and evidences.  It would help if you would first define what exactly you mean by 'Protestantism' and 'Western Christianity' before making your argument for general characteristics.  Otherwise you are just making blanket assertions that no one can discuss or refute since only you know what you mean or who you are referring to.

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http://www.traditionaliconography.com/webgalleryart.html
Also from Photios Kontoglou: "The works of Western religious art are emotional and dramatic. The dramatic element is carnal, even though it is thought to be spiritual. In the Orthodox icon there exists the liturgical element. Wherever the liturgical element is present, there the dramatic and emotional [or carnal] element is neutralized. In the works of Western religious art there is no spiritual ascent. The saints, Christ, the All-holy Mother of God are simply people painted from life, ordinary people who portray Christ, the All-holy One, or the saints. With us the iconographer is not an ordinary painter as in the West; he has a special service [liturgy] to perform through this art, a spiritual service [liturgy] and for this reason his is called "iconographer".

I think this author is trying to compare apples to oranges to make a predetermined point.  He talks about western secular art on religious themes, such as by Grunwald.  Then he compares that to Orthodox art used for liturgical purposes.  I would agree that secular art on religious themes is inherently carnal - that is why it is 'secular'.  I even agree that Western art tends towards realism since the Renaissance.  However, I totally disagree with his claim that one can properly compare western secular art with eastern liturgical art and thereby make some claim as to the inferiority of western liturgical art or practice.  To make the comparison apples to apples one needs to compare the use of aesthetics in the actual organized non-secular worship - the images, rituals, architecture, music, etc.  Only then can you decide whether carnality is a general characteristic of either Protestantism or Western Christianity, or both.  To do the comparison properly would require that we examine the various styles of liturgical art used in the West, which naturally requires that we have a clear idea of the various categories, such as 'Protestant', Roman Catholic, non-Protestant Christian, etc.  Even before you start, however, I state that you are going to have a hard time arguing that the simplicity and abstract character of traditional Protestant liturgy is very carnal.  If anything, carnality is a criticism that Protestants level against Orthodox (though I think this is a mistaken charge), just as they have traditionally leveled it against Catholics with their realistic and emotional statuary, crucifixes, murals, etc.

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Talk about elevating carnality to the HIGHEST level. 

Yes, I agree many there is a distinct section of American Christendom that is prone emotionalism and drama, maybe even a few modern Protestant denominations qualify as many have drifted from the principles of the reformation.  So what?  You STILL haven't given a clear definition of what you mean by 'Protestant'.

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I am also one of those who defend the Catholic Faith next to Orthodoxy.  Ironic isn’t it?

And I went to a Catholic university and have enormous respect for the Catholic faith and heritage.  I too would defend Catholics against unwarranted criticism.  I would also defend Orthodox, Baptists, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists and any other tradition against false charges.  Ironic isn't it?  Actually what I said is that I wouldn't expect an Orthodox (or any non-Catholic for that matter) to defend a Catholic point of faith.  If they wished to do so and were able to do so that would of course be just fine.  I like truth and precision, which is why I'm insisting on you clearly defining 'Protestantism'.

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Do you not detect "sinful pride" in taking potshots at the TBN crowd?  I don't.  In the first place, criticizing religios groups for being emotional is not bashing.

You are correct, I retract my comment and sincerely apologize to any and all devotees of TBN for making it.  I think it would be appropriate for others here to also retract blanket and unwarranted statements about Protestantism, which I note once again that you haven't defined.

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But we should know who we are dealing with first--in this case, the Protestants--before we introduce Orthodoxy to them.

I agree, you SHOULD know who you are dealing with before trying to evangelize them, that way you don't make unwarranted blanket statements that immediately discredit your evangelical efforts.  It would help if you first defined who you mean when you say 'Protestant' so that WE know who you THINK you are dealing with, as well as knowing who you think you are NOT dealing with.

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But don't expect us to knock on your door.  You have to go out and seek for yourself.  The doors of Orthodoxy are open to those who want to come in.

I have sought for myself, and I agree the doors of Orthodoxy are generally open (if you go to a congregation that is open to converts).  I have had no negative experiences in this regard for which I am thankful, but what's your point?  Until you define your terms you are just making unwarranted blanket statements about millions of undefined people. Even if I didn't consider myself a Protestant or wasn't moving towards Orthodoxy I would STILL step up and defend Protestants against the kinds of ignorant blanket statements made by many in this thread.  There's nothing personal in this for me, except not letting falsehood lie unanswered.  There are far too many falsehoods passed around casually these days, particularly in the form of unsupported generalizations, and Internet boards are often the worst.

Here's the deal.  If you want to critique Protestantism that's fine by me, there's a lot there worth looking at.  But make darn sure you aren't judging Protestants by the characteristics of non-Protestant Christians.  And also make darn sure that you aren't taking a few anecdotal or personal experiences and blowing them up into blanket assertions about millions of real Protestants.  I'm a statistician so I expect at least an attempt to present solid evidence on claims about large and diverse populations, but first I'd like you to precisely define your terms so we know what groups you are including and excluding.

Well, isn't this fun?  Grin

Sincerely in Christ,
Brian the possible Protestant (depending on definition)
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« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2006, 03:07:46 AM »

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You have to UNDERSTAND protestant teaching, prot. beliefs in order to minister to them. You have to speak kindly in their "language", or your just another arrogant twit. 

This is one of the best things posted on this forum, IMO.  Many Orthodox apologists seem to be lacking even basic respect for those whom they seek to convert. 
« Last Edit: October 31, 2006, 03:08:07 AM by Νεκτάριος » Logged
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« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2006, 03:51:17 AM »

Brian,
Also try to keep in mind that M777 has a habit of starting these out of left field or outlandish threads.  It amuses most of us other posters too.

It is not "left field" to make the observation that to understand history is to seize being a Protestant.
 

Evangelical Protestant: Do you have Jesus in your heart as your personal savior?

Orthodox Christian: Yes, but there is much more to the faith than that. Accepting Christ is only the beginning of salvation.

Evangelical Protestant: Oh, so you believe in salvation by works?

Orthodox Christian: Sola Fide is a relatively recent idea, you must understand that. What do you know concerning the history surrounding the New Testament? How long did Christianity exist before the Reformation? How can you understand Scripture once removed from the context of the Apostolic Fathers?

Evangelical Protestant: I believe in Jesus, and that's all that matters! Don't bother me with your church history!

Orthodox Christian: I have this short book, an Orthodox Christian Response to Evangelical Claims, would you care to read it?

Evangelical Protestant: I'm set in my beliefs, thank you very much!

Orthodox Christian: You need not change your mind, but at least you could understand where I'm coming from.

Evangelical Protestant: I said I've made up my mind!!!


This kind of behavior, in other circumstances other than religious, would be attributed to mental illness.
This salvation by faith alone concept has gone so far that facts no longer matter. But my decision to become an Orthodox Christian was based in fact, that only the Orthodox Church could trace itself, theologically, liturgically, and historically, to the earliest Christian communities.

Peace.

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« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2006, 06:12:42 AM »

Evangelical Protestant: Do you have Jesus in your heart as your personal savior?

Orthodox Christian: Yes, but there is much more to the faith than that. Accepting Christ is only the beginning of salvation.

Evangelical Protestant: Oh, so you believe in salvation by works?

Orthodox Christian: Sola Fide is a relatively recent idea, you must understand that. What do you know concerning the history surrounding the New Testament? How long did Christianity exist before the Reformation? How can you understand Scripture once removed from the context of the Apostolic Fathers?

Evangelical Protestant: I believe in Jesus, and that's all that matters! Don't bother me with your church history!

Orthodox Christian: I have this short book, an Orthodox Christian Response to Evangelical Claims, would you care to read it?

Evangelical Protestant: I'm set in my beliefs, thank you very much!

Orthodox Christian: You need not change your mind, but at least you could understand where I'm coming from.

Evangelical Protestant: I said I've made up my mind!!!

You're not seriously resorting to the lame "let's create a dodgy fictional dialogue that seriously misrepresents the other's position" tactic are you?

Close-mindedness is a human problem; not a strictly "Evangelical" one. I'm quite certain that many Orthodox are close-minded and not even willing to seriously consider the reasons why those Protestants with genuine and well-thought out objections to Orthodoxy hold to those objections in the first place.

In any event, you disturbingly speak of Orthodoxy as if it is some sort of abstract truth to be logically deduced from a set of historical premises. If I were you, I would invest more time understanding what Orthodoxy actually is than making open-blanket criticisms of those who don't know it any better than you do.
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« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2006, 08:18:17 AM »

I believe that carnality is a general characteristic of Western Christianity.  Roman Catholicism introduced it, and Protestantism elevated it to another level.  One can better understand this by comparing western art with Orthodox iconography.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/webgalleryart.html
Also from Photios Kontoglou: "The works of Western religious art are emotional and dramatic. The dramatic element is carnal, even though it is thought to be spiritual. In the Orthodox icon there exists the liturgical element. Wherever the liturgical element is present, there the dramatic and emotional [or carnal] element is neutralized. In the works of Western religious art there is no spiritual ascent. The saints, Christ, the All-holy Mother of God are simply people painted from life, ordinary people who portray Christ, the All-holy One, or the saints. With us the iconographer is not an ordinary painter as in the West; he has a special service [liturgy] to perform through this art, a spiritual service [liturgy] and for this reason his is called "iconographer".

Oh, please. This is one of THE lamest East vs. West comparisons out there.

A REAL hyper-Protestant would point out that Eastern liturgical art and architecture are emotional and dramatic out the wazoo. And while we're at it, you can find easily enough those who will say that using a real person as the model for Christ emphasizes his humanity in a way that Eastern iconography incorrectly obscures. Not every difference is meaningful, but it's imprtant that the difference actually exists.
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« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2006, 08:56:46 AM »

Oh, please. This is one of THE lamest East vs. West comparisons out there.

Keble,
I think what Photios Kontoglou is referring to is the rules of Orthodox iconography to portray all figures in icons as "dispassionate". We are forbidden to portray Christ's face as being tormented in agony on the Cross, for example. Thus, a martyr's face is shown as unmoved even during their torture, and the one executing them is similarly depicted as dispassionate. Saints and evildoers are portrayed the same way in icons except for haloes. Similarly, the expression of Christ's Face in the Icon of the Transfiguration is no different to the expression on His Face in the "Nymphios" ("Ecce Homo") Icon. Compare the expression on Christ's face in these two icons.


And in the Icon of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, there is little to distinguish the executioner's face from St. John's other than St. John's halo, and they certainly show no signs of emotion, not even Salome.


Now look at the equivalent portrayals in Western art:

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« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2006, 08:59:11 AM »

I'm lovin this hullabaloo!!!!! Cheesy
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« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2006, 09:40:50 AM »

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Why hasn't an honest and thorough investigation of Church history converted <xyz Protestant> to the Orthodox faith?

Protestantism is fundamentally ahistorical.  Its various forms are built on denial or disregard for whole portions of the received tradition of the church (and in some places on insertions of invented history such as with the Mormons).  One of course may go back and revisit one’s assumptions, but you can’t get around the fact that the founders of the Reformation started out by tossing things in the trash heap (literally and figuratively).

The situation with American Protestantism, both liberal and conservative, probably shares some common elements.  In no particular order I would say they are:

Complete (or near complete) reliance on individual autonomy and authority.
Distrust and suspicion of institutions and hierarchy.
Emphasis on the spiritual and not the material (in other words quasi to full Gnosticism).
Iconoclasm (related to the previous).
A general disinterest in history itself.

So on and so forth.  I’m sure there are other reasons why simply a "reading of church history" would do nothing to sway people.  I know it wouldn't have worked on my wife.

I think really we have to drop some of our hubris though.  The fact is many more people become Protestant (and leave Orthodoxy and Catholicism) than go the other direction.  Pentecostals are exploding in terms of numbers in the Global South (read the excellent study by Philip Jenkins on this).  What is it in Protestantism that resonates with these people and where are we failing?  That seems like a worthy question for consideration.
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« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2006, 09:54:07 AM »

You aren't fooling anyone you know.
Just calling a spade a spade.
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« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2006, 10:09:42 AM »

Brian,

I have to admit that the original Lutherans, who are immediate offspring of the Roman Catholics as opposed to the Evangelicals who came in much later, are much less carnal in their worship.  I would also confess that since becoming Orthodox, I have developed a tendency to lump together all the groups that formed after 1517 into one denomination and dare call it "Protestants" in much the same way that a typical Christian would lump together the various forms of Islam.  For this, I apologize.  I suppose that slight differences in doctrine become irrelevant when one discovers a totally different brand of Christianity.  Take note that I am not the only one who sees it this way.  The chart in the following doesn't even mention the names of the splinter groups!

http://www.saintignatiuschurch.org/timeline.html#timechart

Anyway, you have made it perfectly clear that you are a Lutheran.  We appreciate that.  You have also expressed the importance of being specific when conversing with "Protestants."  I now realize that there is no single approach to introducing Orthodoxy in the West.  It is imperative therefore that we employ specific methods for each "Protestant" denomination.  More importantly, after opening your mind to Orthodoxy, I suppose that you are in the best position to suggest as to how we Orthodox could effectively share what we know to your Lutheran brethren.  For instance, Where do we begin?  Do we go about discussing Church history, or is questioning the validity of the juridic concept of atonement a valid starting point?  Finally, it would also help us if you could relate your experience and identify the points of interest which led you to explore the Orthodox Church.


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« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2006, 12:00:54 PM »

It's not really fair to take a Caravaggio and some other Italian Catholic painter as representing a Protestant aesthetick, though. A really hardline Protestant would of course reject liturgical imagery at all. An Anglican would tend to reject the notion that the images needed to be so stylized, but would tend in practice to have much more stylized images in church than those Italianate examples. The true East/West difference is that there is consensus in the East and no consensus in the West; and even then, one notes in Slavic iconography that nasty Western influence in some periods.

One could make something of an argument for an Orthodox vs. Catholic difference, but then one runs into the more dominating difference that the Catholic perspective has changed dramatically over the years. Again, a Protestant might say (and with quite a bit of justification actually) that the differences in artistic taste between Constantinople and Rome are insignificant in comparison to their common acceptance of ornament and imagery in the church.

I generally assume that when someone in an Orthodox forum makes some sort of statement about "protestants" or "protestantism", it's going to be a wildly inaccurate and typically tendentious overgeneralization. There are some common points to different sorts of Protestants, but they are as a rule either so high level or so utterly historical as to be unhelpful on any specific point.
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« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2006, 12:22:38 PM »

It's not really fair to take a Caravaggio and some other Italian Catholic painter as representing a Protestant aesthetick,
Woah there. Photios Kontoglou was one of Greek Orthodoxy's most famous modern Iconographers, and he is talking about Eastern Orthodox Iconography vs Western Christian Religious art. He is not talking specifically about Protestant asthetic- and neither am I. I was simply trying to say that, in context, Photios Kontoglou's quoted statement is in fact an accurate observation. He is comparing Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox devotional art.
Now, as to how someone may choose to use what Photios Kontoglou said, that's another matter.......
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« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2006, 01:00:37 PM »

It's not really fair to take a Caravaggio and some other Italian Catholic painter as representing a Protestant aesthetick, though. A really hardline Protestant would of course reject liturgical imagery at all.

They may have rejected the imagery, but being children of Roman Catholicism, have they rejected the philosophy and theology behind it?

Quote
Again, a Protestant might say (and with quite a bit of justification actually) that the differences in artistic taste between Constantinople and Rome are insignificant in comparison to their common acceptance of ornament and imagery in the church.

It's not even about "artistic taste".  I used western art to make the carnal aspect visible to the audience.  But that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Art Through the Ages: Its Philosophical and Theological Meaning 1
http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/articles/pastoral/art-ages.htm

It has been commonly understood by experts that art tells two stories. First it tells the story represented by the picture itself. It can be a portrait, a landscape, a biblical scene, a magnificent cathedral, and just about anything that the artist desires to paint. We appreciate the fact that man has the ability to reproduce, often to exact likeness, what he sees in the world around him.

Second, and probably most important, the painting tells us about the philosophy, the theology, the culture and even the personality of the painter and his times. Hidden within almost every artwork produced by the famous artists is a commentary on life itself, often a deep commentary.

...

Starting our analysis with the Byzantine period (400-1400), we have a form of art that is definitely cast into the Christian mold. Since the church held sway in the period of the Middle Ages, the art of Europe and many parts of the east was financially supported and inspired by the Catholic Church. As such, Byzantine art was more or less confined to representing the doctrines and moods of the Church. The object of art was the institution as opposed to the individual, although this would surely change in later periods. Byzantine art did not portray family or city life as we would understand it today. Only late Byzantine art, the Gothic period, provides the first glimpse into the city, but then only to magnify the presence of the great Gothic cathedrals. [D].

In this period there are some striking characteristics. The reason is not precisely known, but the art of the Byzantine period is very abstract, that is, it had little resemblance to actual material things. It was concerned more with concepts. The abstraction in Byzantine art grew out of the church's practice to put both practical and spiritual life into symbols. Much of the populace was uneducated, and thus the Church displayed the meaning of life through symbolic representations in art. The artist was not concerned with historical events as such, nor with archeological accuracy, but with dogma in the credal statements. The mystique of Mary, the saints, the sacraments, transubstantiation and the allegorical method of biblical interpretation, were all subjects of symbolic art designed to fathom the mysteries of the supernatural.

...

The shift away from the mystical in the Gothic period was due in large part to the developing philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Prior to Aquinas, philosophy and theology were dominated by the Platonism or Neo-Platonism of Augustine. The emphasis was on the universals, and thus the spiritual, heavenly or ethereal things. Life was explained with reference to the "ideal" image, not the real image. With the discovery of an Aristotelian library in the middle east, Aristotle's "particularist" philosophy became prominent in the late Middle Ages. This philosophy concentrated on the details and specifics of life, things in themselves. Aquinas incorporated much of Aristotle's thought-forms and methodology, even in his explanation of church doctrines and theology (e.g., transubstantiation and natural law). As a result of Aquinas' incorporation of Aristotelian thought-forms, man began to have a greater appreciation of nature and the natural. As we will see later, the focus on nature was taken to greater heights, or we might say, taken to the extreme, in the Renaissance, a level that certainly would have displeased St. Thomas.


Note that this was written by Robert Sungenis, a Roman Catholic.

And, by the way, it gets better on the second page where Mr. Sungenis discusses the Reformation.
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« Reply #45 on: October 31, 2006, 01:39:21 PM »

Mr. Sungenis is 1) giving his own ideas and 2) is a rather controversial RC apologist.  He also puts forth the claim that the universe is Geocentric amoung other ideas. 

I decline to accept his particular opinions as binding fact.

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« Reply #46 on: October 31, 2006, 02:00:26 PM »

Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen? It's quite bothersome. Since when is closedmindedness a tenet of the Bible?
I have no anger nor hatred against our Protestant neighbors, but I hope they could be more open to new knowledge and perspectives. And it's not just me, I've spoken with Orthodox clergymen about how, in their own experiences, Protestants can be almost completely unreachable. What's the deal?

Peace.

Well, I have noticed that you posted the same first two sentences on at least 2 other EO fora.  While the E-cafe hasn't gotten involved, the other one that doesn't allow non-EO to engage in general discussions has given you some response (and you put it in a section that is supposed to be EO only).  One wonders if you added your other sentences here since you knew that there are more no-EO/OO that would read it and that they are allowed to respond. Undecided  One also wonders why you post the exact same things on more then one forum.

As to your question, no I haven't noticed that. But then is it possible that the "messenger" could be treating other people in such ways that do not encourage them to stick around to hear more?  Why should a person want to be dictated to or perhaps patronized by another who is very clear that his own position is superior to theirs?  Why would such treatment make the person being talked down believe that the speaker really does have the "Truth"(tm)?   Just how are you "addressing the truth"?

You personally do not know "most Protestants", nor are they some kind of monolithic block.  Not agreeing with you or accepting your ideas is not the same thing as "willful ignorance".  But accusing someone of that makes not going along with you their own fault having nothing to do with how the "message" was delivered.

One gathers that you have been dealing with individual human beings and not getting many to agree with you.  In the past you have shown a degree of disdain for others not of your faith, using such epithets as "Billy-bobs" and other put-down phrases.  Why should they listen to you? Why should Your opinion or ideas be accepted wholesale and without question or objection? Could you be wrong about some things that they know or do, and this makes them reluctant to hear more? How are you dealing with them? Look hard at what you are doing and think if you would like to be treated that way, perhaps. 

Ebor

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« Reply #47 on: October 31, 2006, 02:00:56 PM »

The problem remains that using Carravaggio as the epitome of all Western religious art is completely rediculous. And trying to make a common theme out of all the varieties of Western religious art is essentially pointless. For any given Western style, you can find some other Westerner condemning it. There are even Westerners who accept (somewhat) the Eastern theory about use of images (while not necessarily rejecitng statuary).

The one clear distinction that can be made is how art figures in the liturgy. There simply isn't anything anywhere in the west that parallels the Eastern use of the iconostasis. One could make something of  case for this resulting in the range of Western art, because it freed it from the constraint of rubric. But the whole emotionality argument is just as much, or more, within the West as it is between East and West.
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« Reply #48 on: October 31, 2006, 02:04:01 PM »

For example, calling an entire group of people "Willfully Ignorant" is not going to make them want to hear you out on anything.

Indeed it will not. No one likes to be told such things.
 Undecided

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« Reply #49 on: October 31, 2006, 02:10:11 PM »

I find that too many contemporary Americans in general share the mentality of "I've made up my mind, don't bother me with the facts."

An over-generalization to say the least. One might suggest that people may have considered many facts before making up their minds.

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Democrats and Republicans, Protestants and Catholics, Southerners and "Yankees," etc. Everything has become so polarized that people aren't able to consider new information that is contrary to their own worldview.

Aren't able?  There is much more subtlety and shades of grey in this world then you would seem to realize.  As to "new information" how do you know that it is "new" to them?  Perhaps they know more about it then you think, but do not agree with your particular point of view.

How open are you to "new information" that is contrary to your "worldview"?

Ebor
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« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2006, 02:20:16 PM »

ME TOO!!!!!!!!  I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me.  I end up saying things like "RC's arn't really THAT bad"   Cheesy  Actually, in a lot of ways they really have things going for them.  And its not like we orthodox don't have our issues either...

Anyway, it really is amazing how a lot of Protestants that i've talked to automatically associate Orthodoxy with Catholicism (roman).  Which brings me to the original question, why is it that they can't seam to break from their "world view"?? 

Well, people have their own experiences and lives and what they know. Why should anyone expect others to know the same things as oneself?  I will give you an example.  As people here know, I grew up in Montana.  It is a huge state with a low population.  There are, to my knowledge about 6 EO churchs in that state which is roughly the size of the mid-atlantic and New ENgland states with some room for Ohio and Virginia and all of them are in a major city/town. There are lots more RC churches as well as Lutheran (lots of settlers from Scandinavia and Germany) and some Episcopalian and others.  Why would it be reasonable to expect a person who has grown up and lived hundreds of miles from an EO church or person to know much or anything about the subject?  So if they see a church with candles and paintings and vestments, it's possible that the closest reference they have is something RC?

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If you try telling a hard-core Serbian person who Christ REALLY is (loving, carring, wants you to take communion) they might flip a lid.  So it goes for anyone who has entrenched themselves in one view. 

Could you explain this a bit more, please?  The idea that someone would get upset with the information that Jesus is loving and caring etc is ummm alarming to me.  Thank you.

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« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2006, 02:28:57 PM »

How open are you to "new information" that is contrary to your "worldview"?
Just speaking for myself, I wasn't always a Christian and making the change sort of required revising my worldview just a tad.
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« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2006, 02:36:50 PM »

Just pulling on the many lose threads of their faith while they are at your door isn't enough.  Most will walk away not even seeing their nakedness,

There's also the chance that the person talking to them is showing some missing threads or holes, as it were, depending on their attitude.

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It's FAR easier to remain a protestant that drives a mercedes, lives in a million dollar home and a vacation home, and has the rapture to hang onto. 

 Huh Undecided  I can't say that that description fits most of the people I know who belong to any kind of a Protestant Church.  It certainly doesn't apply to my family.

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2006, 02:38:51 PM »

Just speaking for myself, I wasn't always a Christian and making the change sort of required revising my worldview just a tad.

And was it the case that making the change wasn't a matter of someone coming up to you, then calling you "willfully ignorant" if you didn't immediately agree?  That it took some time and effort to work things through? 

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« Reply #54 on: October 31, 2006, 02:41:43 PM »

This is one of the best things posted on this forum, IMO.  Many Orthodox apologists seem to be lacking even basic respect for those whom they seek to convert. 

I agree with you on this, Nektarios.  Respecting another person leads to treating them with at least a modicum of charity and courtesy.  But I've seen too many cases of patronizing disdain for the "Other". 

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« Reply #55 on: October 31, 2006, 03:42:27 PM »

And was it the case that making the change wasn't a matter of someone coming up to you, then calling you "willfully ignorant" if you didn't immediately agree? 
It might have more impact it you asked that of someone who actually conducted themselves in such a manner, don't you think?  Undecided
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« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2006, 03:52:19 PM »

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What is it in Protestantism that resonates with these people and where are we failing?  That seems like a worthy question for consideration.

WIthout denying that something "resonates" with people converting to Protestantism, I would add that, particularly the Evangelicals, pur forth a strong marketing push for converts. I am not talking just about those people that knock on your door or stop you on the street. I am talking about marketing as in advertising, calling, appealing to the person. In fact the latter is the big one with Evangelicals. Come to Jesus and he'll meet your needs, heal your shame, get you a Cadillac, etc. It's great marketing and its focused on the person. Now even some Evangelical church services are tailored to appeal to "seekers." These services are light on theology and big on stage show type productions with music, skits, interpritive dance and preaching that comes right from the Comedy channel. This hyper focus on the individual removes primary focus from God. But it is appealing. Who doesn't like to attend a party, meeting, etc. where you are doted over, listened to, hugged.  (Please, I know I've been hugged, kissed and doted over in an Orthodox church but this was not the main reason that I attend Orthodox liturgy. My biggest appeal to me about Orthodoxy is it seeks to focus one energies toward God, the saints and the church and away from the person or individual. Not entirely, but I think you get my drift.  But I would go further to say that the focus on the individual is also an American cultural phenomenon. America was founded and built on rugged individualism. Our "icons" are the lone cowboy on the horse, easy rider on the motorcycle, the scrappy rags to riches millionaire. I do not know if we are failing so much as we are presenting, as someone noted earlier, a different brand of Orthodoxy. I am afraid that to some extent the brand that we represent is that a convert is a thoughtful person. Someone who has struggled with their faith and read about the history and sought more than the facile trappings of what passes for American Christianity and these people are a minority in this culture which wants everything fast and easy.
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« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2006, 04:39:56 PM »

There simply isn't anything anywhere in the west that parallels the Eastern use of the iconostasis.
What about the Rood Screen?
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« Reply #58 on: October 31, 2006, 04:51:45 PM »

What about the Rood Screen?

Do a search here - it's been discussed before.

IIRC, Keble and Ebor made good input ( and may be the poster formerly known as Serge).
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« Reply #59 on: October 31, 2006, 04:58:20 PM »

Do a search here
I just did, and only the last 2 posts come up. Was it called something else?
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« Reply #60 on: October 31, 2006, 05:29:30 PM »

Short form: the rood screen is kind of like the Iconostasis, and kind of not. However, it never had any liturgical function, and in fact was really always kind of in the way (which is why it tended to disappear).

One should note that the examples in the Wikipedia articles are rather extreme. Here's a much sparer example (note that the rood itself is missing from this one). It should also be noted (as the Wiki article hints) that the more wall-like cases generally had altars applied to them.

A little bit longer form (heavily indebted to Duffy): By the middle ages Catholic liturgical piety had in many respects turned away from participation and towards an array of private devotions. However, the one important focus was the elevations, culminating in the fraction. It was very important to see that; however, the rood screen, as a barrier, was in the way, which is why as a rule it is constructed of tracery. Its real point was to divide choir into a separate subchapel. The liturgy itself made no reference to it at all.

In Anglicanism it was pretty much suppressed for a while, and then revived more or less out of general principle with the rest of the Gothic Revival. However, by that point the boundary where it used to sit now divided the singers from the rest of the congregation; the priests' territory was now the sanctuary rather than the choir, and it had already been fenced off (literally) by the altar rail. As a result one sees some churches where the rood has moved over the altar rail, which then takes on some aspects of a screen.

In any case, the decoration of the screen was always of a piece with the rest of the mural decoration (including the windows). The rood itself was (and is) often the focus of Good Friday liturgical acts, but that is a special case.
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« Reply #61 on: November 01, 2006, 12:05:43 AM »

I do agree that I hate having to first explain to the ignorant the Orthodoxy is not Catholicism.

In my experience, what anti-Catholic Protestants criticize about Catholicism tends to be shared by Orthodox---Mary, saints, creeds/councils, faith+works, etc. To most, the differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy are irrelevant. It's what Catholics and Orthodox SHARE that is the problem.
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« Reply #62 on: November 01, 2006, 03:02:04 AM »

You're not seriously resorting to the lame "let's create a dodgy fictional dialogue that seriously misrepresents the other's position" tactic are you?

I paraphrased, more or less, an actual Yahoo messenger conversation. If you'd like the original, I could PM it to you.

In any event, you disturbingly speak of Orthodoxy as if it is some sort of abstract truth to be logically deduced from a set of historical premises.

It is an objective truth that Orthodoxy is the true Church, a truth which can be learned from multiple lines of evidence. If it weren't, what validity would there be in the name "Orthodox"?

Peace.
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« Reply #63 on: November 01, 2006, 03:35:19 PM »

I think that protestantism for most people is a matter of convenience and not "willful ignorance".

In the USA the mass market, fast-faith is protestantism and its many sub-elements (ie mormans, 7th day, and the like).

The marketeers use the catch phrases: Christian, Church, Christ, Holy, Bible, and the like. These phrases add currency and ligitimacy to the 'product'. The marketeers (Evangelicals as they are called) are looking for those who are ignorant yes; but the marketeer swoops down on the innocent albeit disgrunteld public in a flury "TRUTH" and the rest is history.

Willful ignornace comes into once the innocent victim begins to see for himself that thier is something missing but refuses to heed.

Americans are fat people because it is more convenient to eat a Big Mac and large fry and a Large milk shake....supersized. It is even more convenient since this food costs very little money. But sadly the positive health beenfits are very little as well. BUT .... It feels good.

Thus is the current protestant.

He is protestant because it is what he saw on TV and or what everyone is doing. It must be good.

Have you ever tried to get people to eat organic foods who are conditioned to eat fatty unhealthy food?

I have.

I have seen people eat completely healthy organic snacks at my house and once I mention the organic food items they stop eating them. Strange.

I had someone tell me " if it is healthy I won't eat it"

Again this is the mind of the protestant today.

If he sees Orthodoxy he shuns and runs.

He knows that his situation is no good. BUT...It feels good.

It is what he knows. Orthodoxy is asking him to do too much...(Too organic!....yes; good health benefits but too much work)

This is complacency and laziness, faithlessness, Godlessness...Sin which leads to death.

Orthodoxy is the first mass market faith as Christ teaches to preach and teach to all the world. The marketing was based on Holiness which lead to rightiousness and salvation.

Not to be confused with the above noted marketing which is MASSive and based on personal choice, freedom, and the right to succeed in the world at all cost since "god" is merciful and HAS forgiven ALL sin.

Thus man can forget holiness then and focus on the world and his place in it. The "church" is at mans use or disposal. This is common protestant mindset.

Orthodoxy is a blessing in America. The Holy Church is doing great work.

"full great and exalted is the word of God and it has increased in His Holy Church and many are they that believe in our Lord Jesus Christ is is both now and forever..Amen" (Acts).

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« Reply #64 on: November 01, 2006, 03:55:02 PM »

Willful ignornace comes into once the innocent victim begins to see for himself that thier is something missing but refuses to heed.

It is what he knows. Orthodoxy is asking him to do too much

Before converting to the Orthodox faith, I attended an Evangelical mega-church for about a month. I found the services to be hollow, and wondered why skits about being a Walmart greeter belonged in a house of worship. I knew something was missing, but wasn't willing to consider the Orthodox faith until a girl at school, whose father happened to be a deacon, invited me to liturgy. Almost immediately, I fell in love with the liturgy, and decided to study church history for myself. Upon doing so, I realized that Orthodox Christianity is the only intellectually honest option.

I explained to someone church history, and how Scripture supports Orthodox doctrines like confession and the Eucharist. Her only response was that she didn't want to take her shoes off and wear a headscarf in a church. If that isn't laziness, I don't know what is.

Peace.
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« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2006, 04:26:18 PM »

ya'll take your shoes off?  that's a new one on me, and headscarves are popular in the legalistic groups of evangelicals so it's nothing "new." (not fun, don't go there)

As for the organic stuff, yeah I can deal with that.  It's the same change that has been afforded as life has had to change for us, due to Heather's Rett's syndrome.  We make changes or adaptations as the Lord leads us, and Orthodoxy was one of those steps in life where we were led.  It had to come through a great deal of pain, frustration, blatant errors, and hurt before one of us could see there were any holes in protestantism.  Okay, it happened for both of us, but I was in middle school and dh was well into adulthood. (praise be to God it happened at all)  Admittedly,I still hate juicing vegetables, and the taste/texture issues!!

Anyway, I would suggest that a protestant has to see the brokenness of his/her faith before they can see their need to search.  That may take more or less for each person.  if they are content and comfortable within protestantism, like my inlaws, then they will only see with the amount of LIGHT they have been afforded thus far. That isn't necessarily to be construed as "ignorance." We can't say what has to happen in their lives before they will be receptive to the fullness of the Faith.
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« Reply #66 on: November 01, 2006, 04:29:23 PM »

ya'll take your shoes off?  that's a new one on me, and headscarves are popular in the legalistic groups of evangelicals so it's nothing "new." (not fun, don't go there)

In the Middle East, it's common to take your shoes off when a guest in someone's house. What more appropriate a place than the house of God? Furthermore, if I am not mistaken, Moses felt the need to take off his shoes when he encountered the burning bush. As for headscarves, it's in the Epistles of Saint Paul that women should cover their hair.
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« Reply #67 on: November 01, 2006, 05:57:50 PM »

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Anyway, I would suggest that a protestant has to see the brokenness of his/her faith before they can see their need to search.  That may take more or less for each person.  if they are content and comfortable within protestantism, like my inlaws, then they will only see with the amount of LIGHT they have been afforded thus far.

Amen!
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« Reply #68 on: November 02, 2006, 01:38:14 PM »

An interesting perspective I ran across.

http://conversiaddominum.blogspot.com/2006/10/statement-of-resignation.html
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« Reply #69 on: November 02, 2006, 05:51:39 PM »

I think that protestantism for most people is a matter of convenience and not "willful ignorance".

I'm sorry.  I think that is a gross oversimplification.

Quote
In the USA the mass market, fast-faith is protestantism and its many sub-elements (ie mormans, 7th day, and the like).

The marketeers use the catch phrases: Christian, Church, Christ, Holy, Bible, and the like. These phrases add currency and ligitimacy to the 'product'. The marketeers (Evangelicals as they are called) are looking for those who are ignorant yes; but the marketeer swoops down on the innocent albeit disgrunteld public in a flury "TRUTH" and the rest is history.

This seems to be lumping all "Protestants" with some more publicized or recent manifestations.  It also does not take into account long established parishes/churches/Churches who are not using the publicity methods cited. 

Quote
Willful ignornace comes into once the innocent victim begins to see for himself that thier is something missing but refuses to heed.

Innocent victim?  Churches that have supported and sustained people and taught the Gospel are somehow 'victimizing' people?  Huh  And what of people who do not have something "missing"?


Quote
He is protestant because it is what he saw on TV and or what everyone is doing. It must be good.

Perhaps there are many people who belong to one "Protestant" Church or another because they were raised in it, it is part of their family, they have learnt about Jesus Christ and how to be a Christian there, it is the only church for many many miles around, there is love and support among the members or some other reason.

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Have you ever tried to get people to eat organic foods who are conditioned to eat fatty unhealthy food?

Yes, and you don't get them to eat it willingly by making disparaging remarks about what they do eat or acting superior for being organic to someone who may not have known about it. (again, not every person knows as much or anything about things that you or I know a great deal about.) or telling someone to eat it when they may be allergic to it....

Quote
Again this is the mind of the protestant today.

That is your opinion.  And there is no such thing as "the protestant today", there are millions and millions for real people just as human as you are.

Quote
If he sees Orthodoxy he shuns and runs.

He knows that his situation is no good. BUT...It feels good.

It is what he knows. Orthodoxy is asking him to do too much...(Too organic!....yes; good health benefits but too much work)

This is complacency and laziness, faithlessness, Godlessness...Sin which leads to death.


This is, again, terribly oversimplified and does not look at other people as having real reasons for being what they are, but makes them something like cardboard targets for other people to mock and denigrate and be condescending to.  Sad  None of your judgement applies to my reasons for not becoming EO, just for starters.

Ebor

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« Reply #70 on: November 02, 2006, 05:55:34 PM »

Anyway, I would suggest that a protestant has to see the brokenness of his/her faith before they can see their need to search. 

And if a "protestant"s faith is not "broken"?  or is it a given that it must be? What if it has sustained them through many trials, and they deeply believe in and trust Our Lord?

Quote
That may take more or less for each person.  if they are content and comfortable within protestantism, like my inlaws, then they will only see with the amount of LIGHT they have been afforded thus far. That isn't necessarily to be construed as "ignorance."

Thank you for that last sentence.  Smiley

The tossing off of calling people who are not EO/OO as "ignorant" as in the thread title is condescending and offensive.

Ebor
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« Reply #71 on: November 02, 2006, 05:59:31 PM »

Upon doing so, I realized that Orthodox Christianity is the only intellectually honest option.

The only intellectually honest option?  In your opinion.  Undecided

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I explained to someone church history, and how Scripture supports Orthodox doctrines like confession and the Eucharist. Her only response was that she didn't want to take her shoes off and wear a headscarf in a church. If that isn't laziness, I don't know what is.

Perhaps there is something awry in the way you are "explaining".  Not agreeing with one is not necessarily a sign of "laziness" on the part of the other person.  Perhaps they are truly not convinced or swayed by the messenger.

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« Reply #72 on: November 02, 2006, 06:03:31 PM »

It might have more impact it you asked that of someone who actually conducted themselves in such a manner, don't you think?  Undecided

I beg your pardon.  I was not writing clearly.  My apologies.  I was trying to ask if in the course of your conversion to Christianity you made a fast decision when someone talked to you about it, or did it take time that was not a case of "willful ignorance" but working things out.

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« Reply #73 on: November 02, 2006, 06:09:16 PM »

Before converting to the Orthodox faith, I attended an Evangelical mega-church for about a month. I found the services to be hollow, and wondered why skits about being a Walmart greeter belonged in a house of worship. I knew something was missing, but wasn't willing to consider the Orthodox faith until a girl at school, whose father happened to be a deacon, invited me to liturgy. Almost immediately, I fell in love with the liturgy, and decided to study church history for myself. Upon doing so, I realized that Orthodox Christianity is the only intellectually honest option.

I explained to someone church history, and how Scripture supports Orthodox doctrines like confession and the Eucharist. Her only response was that she didn't want to take her shoes off and wear a headscarf in a church. If that isn't laziness, I don't know what is.

Peace.

No one at the Orthodox Mission take there shoes off or wear headscarfs. Are they "lazy" in the OCA?
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« Reply #74 on: November 02, 2006, 06:10:41 PM »

The tossing off of calling people who are not EO/OO as "ignorant" as in the thread title is condescending and offensive.
I too was offended by the title of the thread until I noticed something:
If one does not understand a concept because one chooses not to make the effort to understand a concept do we not say that they are "willfully ignorant of that concept"? If I choose not to make the effort to understand another's point of view, am I not "willfully ignorant of their point of view"?
So reflect back on some of the gross oversimplification and sweeping generalisations that have been expressed on this thread, then think about the phrase "The Willful Ignorance of Protestantism" and reflect: "Who is being willfully ignorant of Protestantism?"!
The Lord moves in mysterious ways!

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« Reply #75 on: November 02, 2006, 06:13:50 PM »

Aaahhh..  Now That is an interesting way of looking at it.  Thank you  Smiley

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« Reply #76 on: November 03, 2006, 03:21:18 AM »

The only intellectually honest option?  In your opinion.  Undecided

The Orthodox Church is THE Church which Christ and the Apostles founded.

Perhaps they are truly not convinced or swayed by the messenger.

If she had a well thought argument against the Eucharist or Apostolic Succession, perhaps I could agree with you. But if your only argument is that you don't like taking your shoes off, that's just laziness.

Peace.
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« Reply #77 on: November 03, 2006, 03:24:08 AM »

No one at the Orthodox Mission take there shoes off or wear headscarfs. Are they "lazy" in the OCA?

It's a tradition with a small "t." I think it would be laziness if one were to refuse taking off one's shoes when standing on holy ground. But my point was that it's laziness if that's your only argument against Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #78 on: November 03, 2006, 03:28:51 AM »

If one does not understand a concept because one chooses not to make the effort to understand a concept do we not say that they are "willfully ignorant of that concept"?

Would you agree that to understand history is the seize being a Protestant?

Peace.
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« Reply #79 on: November 03, 2006, 04:14:07 AM »

Would you agree that to understand history is the seize being a Protestant?

Peace.

You mean "To be deep in history is to cease being a Protestant"? No?
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« Reply #80 on: November 03, 2006, 04:20:30 AM »

Yes, I think you are correct that "cease" is the right word.
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« Reply #81 on: November 03, 2006, 05:11:50 AM »

Would you agree that to understand history is the seize being a Protestant?
No.
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« Reply #82 on: November 03, 2006, 05:27:31 AM »

No.

Please elaborate. What basis in history does Protestantism have? To be Protestant, one must ignore that the Church existed for centuries before the Reformation.

Peace.
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« Reply #83 on: November 03, 2006, 05:44:53 AM »

Please elaborate. What basis in history does Protestantism have? To be Protestant, one must ignore that the Church existed for centuries before the Reformation.
You seem to think that history stopped at the Reformation, and that the Reformation itself was not part of history.
It was when I went to school.
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« Reply #84 on: November 03, 2006, 06:00:25 AM »

You seem to think that history stopped at the Reformation, and that the Reformation itself was not part of history.
It was when I went to school.

Please at least try to understand what I am saying. To have a historical basis for their faith, Protestants would need to prove that the early Christians believed and practiced as they did. But the early Christians most certainly did not, and therefore, no person who honestly understood the early Church could remain a Protestant. An intellectually honest person, who actually understood the 2,000 year history of Christianity, would have to choose Orthodoxy over Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
What good is it to believe the interpretation of Scripture of someone who broke from longstanding Apostolic Tradition?

Peace.
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« Reply #85 on: November 03, 2006, 06:22:20 AM »

Please at least try to understand what I am saying.
I'll try, but I just don't have the wisdom of your years.

To have a historical basis for their faith, Protestants would need to prove that the early Christians believed and practiced as they did.
How early?

But the early Christians most certainly did not,
"Did not believe and practice" what? What exactly do the High Church of England or Anglo-Catholics believe and practice which the early Christians did not? Could you clarify for me please?

and therefore, no person who honestly understood the early Church could remain a Protestant. An intellectually honest person, who actually understood the 2,000 year history of Christianity, would have to choose Orthodoxy over Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
Oh, so all that the Church of England needs to do is to realise that they are not part of Christian history (being Protestant) and that John Keble was not part of Christian history, nor was the Oxford Movement, and that the only milieu where Christian history took place was in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Orthodox Church- none of which are in Communion with one another, and are seperate Churches, each claiming to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church....Oh, it's so simple! I've seen the light now! I should pop all this in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and no doubt he will instantly lead his flock straight back to the One True Church- which is either the Roman Catholic Church, The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church or the Assyian Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #86 on: November 03, 2006, 06:28:58 AM »

Oh, so all that the Church of England needs to do is to realise that they are not part of Christian history (being Protestant) and that John Keble was not part of Christian history, nor was the Oxford Movement

What reason would you have for defending the Church of England? Anglicanism is a tangent of Roman Catholicism, which is a tangent of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #87 on: November 03, 2006, 06:31:37 AM »

What reason would you have for defending the Church of England? Anglicanism is a tangent of Roman Catholicism, which is a tangent of Orthodoxy.
Oh...so there is an historical connection between them all then?

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« Reply #88 on: November 03, 2006, 06:33:33 AM »

Oh...so there is an historical connection between them all then?



There is one Church which is historically the Church of Christ, and there are those who have chosen to break themselves off. Why do you choose to insult my intelligence, when you should know exactly what I mean?

Quote
Christians of the Eastern Churches call themselves Orthodox. This description comes to us from the fifth century and has two meanings which are closely related. The first definition means true teaching. The Orthodox Church believes that she has maintained and handed down the Christian faith, free from error and distortion from the days of the Apostles. The second definition, which is actually the more preferred, means true praise. To bless, praise, and glorify God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--is the fundamental purpose of the Church. All her activities, even her doctrinal formulations, are directed toward this goal.
http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7052.asp

Have Anglicans and other Protestants maintained and handed down the Christian faith, free from error and distortion, from the days of the Apostles?

Peace.
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« Reply #89 on: November 03, 2006, 06:47:04 AM »

There is one Church which is historically the Church of Christ, and there are those who have chosen to break themselves off. Why do you choose to insult my intelligence, when you should know exactly what I mean?

Peace.
I'm asking you what you mean...so how am I insulting your intelligence with your own position?
You said that "An intellectually honest person, who actually understood the 2,000 year history of Christianity, would have to choose Orthodoxy over Protestantism and Roman Catholicism." OK, I presume that's because the Roman Catholic Church broke away fro the "historical Church", and is not itself the "historical Church". So now we have the problem of finding out which is the historical Church of Christ, since the Assyrian Apostolic Church claims that it is, you guys claim that you are, and we claim that we are, and each of these groups have broken off from one another. So if "breaking off" renders one outside the "historical Church" then only one of the Churches (Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox, or Eastern Orthodox) can be the "historical Church" since they have all broken off from one another. So which one is it?
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« Reply #90 on: November 03, 2006, 06:59:42 AM »

That is a complex question that deserves to be answered. Personally, I believe that the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Orthodox Churches have equal right to consider themselves Orthodox. The schism of Ephesus did not occur because the Assyrian Christians were Nestorian, that was an unfortunate misunderstanding. Furthermore, neither did the Chalcedonian schism occur due to the Oriental Orthodox Christians being Monophysite, that was another unfortunate misunderstanding.
Steps have been taken, and are still ongoing, for all Orthodox Christians to be re-united. This is not part of the ecumenical movement and should not be confused as such. This is fellow Orthodox Christians making the conscious decision to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Even when apart, we are united by the doctrinal and liturgical tradition of the faith.

Peace.
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« Reply #91 on: November 03, 2006, 08:02:10 AM »

Personally, I believe that the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Orthodox Churches have equal right to consider themselves Orthodox. The schism of Ephesus did not occur because the Assyrian Christians were Nestorian, that was an unfortunate misunderstanding. Furthermore, neither did the Chalcedonian schism occur due to the Oriental Orthodox Christians being Monophysite, that was another unfortunate misunderstanding.
So if you have come to the conclusion that the Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox have all broken Communion with one another simply over "misunderstandings" which can be overcome by simply "honestly understanding Christian history", how come, in over 1500 years, the Fathers of these Churches did not come to the same conclusion and re-establish Communion? Aren't they "honestly" studying the same "historical Christianity"? And what makes you say that the Protestants are not?
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« Reply #92 on: November 03, 2006, 12:19:29 PM »

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2 Thessalonians 1

5All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.


You could use Scripture as evidence. Verse 7 means, that this church will be around to the end. Verse 10 shows us that the Thessalonians have the true faith.

Most of all it comes down to faith. This is clear when Christ told doughting Tomas. Blessed Is he who believes without seeing. Or in our case, without CSI type evidence.
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« Reply #93 on: November 03, 2006, 12:35:19 PM »

So if you have come to the conclusion that the Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox have all broken Communion with one another simply over "misunderstandings" which can be overcome by simply "honestly understanding Christian history", how come, in over 1500 years, the Fathers of these Churches did not come to the same conclusion and re-establish Communion? Aren't they "honestly" studying the same "historical Christianity"? And what makes you say that the Protestants are not?

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I'm going to *gasp*, go out on a huge limb here, but will say that ozgeorge is NOT ARGUING WITH YOU AT ALL!  He is simply trying to get you to critically think how to articulate your points better.  I sure as heck know that I have trouble doing it myself.  You keep making a ton of these broad, sweeping generalizations that smack of haughtiness, that it must be obvious to anyone who hasn't had their head in the sand.  I'm sure you mean that your statements are not this way and you mean them in a genuine and sincere way.  But the problem is that none of us here are interpreting them that way.  Please just read through what you type first before clicking on 'Post' and try to see it from another's pov.
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« Reply #94 on: November 03, 2006, 12:54:41 PM »

The Orthodox Church is THE Church which Christ and the Apostles founded.

You decided that that was the case *for you* and even then you are OO rather then EO or AO.  Other people have read the history and become RC.  You personally are not the "rule" of reason or intellect or right thinking.

Quote
If she had a well thought argument against the Eucharist or Apostolic Succession, perhaps I could agree with you. But if your only argument is that you don't like taking your shoes off, that's just laziness.

Or one might have a foot condition that makes it awkward or painful, or one might be embarrassed by a hole on ones sock or... I can think of other reasons that people might have.  You declare it just a matter of being "lazy".  What makes you an authority on what other people do?

Also, why would you expect another person to have the knowedge at her fingertips to a "well thought arguement" against something when she is possibly hearing about for the first time or hasn't studied in depth?

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« Reply #95 on: November 03, 2006, 12:56:21 PM »

Would you agree that to understand history is [to cease] the seize being a Protestant?

No

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« Reply #96 on: November 03, 2006, 01:07:04 PM »

Please elaborate. What basis in history does Protestantism have? To be Protestant, one must ignore that the Church existed for centuries before the Reformation.

And this shows you know little about believing "Protestants" (which kind btw?  Anglican? Methodist?  Presbyterian? ) or their Churches or their history.  You have decided that those who are not like you must be ignorant, are "intellectually dishonest" are "lazy" and more.  Sad  You have made up your mind and your opinion must be the only "right" one?  I'm sorry.  Many millions of real human beings do not fit your opinion or labels

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« Reply #97 on: November 03, 2006, 01:14:20 PM »

Please at least try to understand what I am saying. To have a historical basis for their faith, Protestants would need to prove that the early Christians believed and practiced as they did.

Such as?  One God? Three Persons?  The Resurrection?  Prayers and psalms and good works and Love your neighbor? Preaching and learning and reading the scriptures?

Quote
But the early Christians most certainly did not, and therefore, no person who honestly understood the early Church could remain a Protestant. An intellectually honest person, who actually understood the 2,000 year history of Christianity, would have to choose Orthodoxy over Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.

So you understand the history of Christianity better then billions of other people through 2000 years who did not do as you did?  You keep saying "intellectually honest" which suggests that those who do not go as you did are "dishonest".  You do not know them, you do not know their thoughts or what they went through.  You are labeling people with casual ease and disdain.

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What good is it to believe the interpretation of Scripture of someone who broke from longstanding Apostolic Tradition?

Such as an interpretation of the Golden Rule?  Undecided 

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« Reply #98 on: November 03, 2006, 04:09:45 PM »

So if you have come to the conclusion that the Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox have all broken Communion with one another simply over "misunderstandings" which can be overcome by simply "honestly understanding Christian history", how come, in over 1500 years, the Fathers of these Churches did not come to the same conclusion and re-establish Communion? Aren't they "honestly" studying the same "historical Christianity"? And what makes you say that the Protestants are not?

If Protestants were studying the same history, they would see that the early Christians did not believe as they do. The Eucharist was never considered "just symbolic," baptism for adults only was never the norm, personal interpretation was never placed above the Church's understanding of Scripture, etc.
The Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Assyrian Orthodox Christians share enough in common that we have no reason to repeat the mistakes of our fathers.
That they did not re-establish communion long ago shows that they were only human.

Peace.
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« Reply #99 on: November 03, 2006, 04:16:50 PM »

You have decided that those who are not like you must be ignorant, are "intellectually dishonest" are "lazy" and more. 

I considered myself a Protestant before converting to Orthodoxy, but felt that there was something missing from Protestantism. Only in Orthodoxy is there continuity with the earliest Christian communities, a 2,000 year liturgical and theological tradition.
The churches which began in the Reformation are flawed from the start, in that they began in the Reformation. Anybody can start his own church and claim it to be "Apostolic," but only the Orthodox Church can demonstrate itself as such.
I belong to the Indian Orthodox Church, which was established by St. Thomas the apostle in 52 A.D.

Apostolic Christianity and the 23,000 Western Churches
www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/apostolic_christianity_s_kovasevich.htm


Peace.
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« Reply #100 on: November 03, 2006, 04:21:47 PM »

Also, why would you expect another person to have the knowedge at her fingertips to a "well thought arguement" against something when she is possibly hearing about for the first time or hasn't studied in depth?

The last conversation we had, we took a walk in the park with me describing the basics of the faith, such as Apostolic Succession, the Eucharist, the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the saints, etc. At the time, she said that it all made sense to her, and that she was genuinely interested in experiencing the liturgy.
The next time we discuss Orthodoxy, she's completely changed her mind without giving a reason, and insists on remaining an Evangelical Protestant.
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« Reply #101 on: November 03, 2006, 05:14:58 PM »

I considered myself a Protestant before converting to Orthodoxy, but felt that there was something missing from Protestantism.

What kind of "Protestant" might one ask?  To repeat, it is not all one bloc of the same thing.

Quote
Only in Orthodoxy is there continuity with the earliest Christian communities, a 2,000 year liturgical and theological tradition.

And I have have read RCs say the same about *their* church.  Just repeating yourself does not prove your point.  You are not addressing other peoples ideas or statements when you do it either.
 
Quote
The churches which began in the Reformation are flawed from the start, in that they began in the Reformation.

They did not "begin" out of whole cloth or with new ideas or denials of basic doctrines such as the Trinity or the Resurrection.  They were attached or shoots of from a stem as it were.

Quote
Anybody can start his own church and claim it to be "Apostolic," but only the Orthodox Church can demonstrate itself as such.

And how do *you* see this demonstrated with back up and not just on your own authority please?

Quote
I belong to the Indian Orthodox Church, which was established by St. Thomas the apostle in 52 A.D.

Which isn't EO, I know that.

Quote
Apostolic Christianity and the 23,000 Western Churches
www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/apostolic_christianity_s_kovasevich.htm

23,000  It's the Barrett numbers again, I'll wager, though from what I've had a chance to see, the writer doesn't give a source for that number.  If you're going to use Barrett, his methodology of counting includes *ALL* Christian bodies, not just "Protestant" or "Western" ones, as has been discussed here before.

Ebor

Peace.
[/quote]
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« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2006, 05:22:17 PM »

The last conversation we had, we took a walk in the park with me describing the basics of the faith, such as Apostolic Succession, the Eucharist, the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the saints, etc. At the time, she said that it all made sense to her, and that she was genuinely interested in experiencing the liturgy.
The next time we discuss Orthodoxy, she's completely changed her mind without giving a reason, and insists on remaining an Evangelical Protestant.

Perhaps she was being polite, or didn't want to hurt your feelings by disagreeing, or she thought things over and decided that she did not agree with your points or.....

Again, there are other possible reasons why the lady did not go along with you.  But you decided that she was "lazy".  How do you *know* that? Or might that be an easy excuse that it was all on her and had nothing to do with what you might have said or not said or did or didn't do?  What if she thought she was being treated only as something to be brought around to *your* viewpoint?

People who don't agree with you or share your opinions are still Human Beings.

Ebor
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« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2006, 06:35:38 PM »

People who don't agree with you or share your opinions are still Human Beings.

That is true. But human beings who don't have well thought out reasons for their beliefs may just be intellectually lazy.
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« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2006, 06:37:34 PM »

Just repeating yourself does not prove your point.  You are not addressing other peoples ideas or statements when you do it either.

While the Roman Church has changed dramatically over time, the Orthodox Church has kept the Apostolic faith intact. Why should one have to defend the Orthodox faith, to Orthodox Christians, on an Orthodox forum? Dealing with the irresponsiveness of non-Orthodox Christians to the truth of the Orthodox faith is bad enough.

Peace.
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« Reply #105 on: November 03, 2006, 06:42:42 PM »

It's time to lock or close this thread...
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« Reply #106 on: November 03, 2006, 06:45:28 PM »

It's time for the members of an Orthodox forum to recognize that the Orthodox Church is the one Apostolic and uncorrupt faith.

Peace.
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« Reply #107 on: November 03, 2006, 08:07:40 PM »

It's time for the members of an Orthodox forum to recognize that the Orthodox Church is the one Apostolic and uncorrupt faith.
And what if they don't Matthew? What are you suggesting? Should the forum be shut down? Should non-Orthodox posters be banned unless they sign a declaration to this effect?

Peace.
An 'interesting' way to end that post.

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« Reply #108 on: November 03, 2006, 08:09:49 PM »

Should non-Orthodox posters be banned unless they sign a declaration to this effect?

So if we sign under pain of being banned, is it under duress, and thus void?  Or what if we disagree on which Orthodox church we're talking about.  Not all of us adhere to your version of the branch theory, you know.
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« Reply #109 on: November 03, 2006, 08:12:54 PM »

Should non-Orthodox posters be banned unless they sign a declaration to this effect?

There should be a special inquirers forum for non-Orthodox Christians who choose to dispute the truth of the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #110 on: November 03, 2006, 08:17:05 PM »

There should be a special inquirers forum for non-Orthodox Christians who choose to dispute the truth of the Orthodox faith.

And this coming from someone who rejects 4 of the 7 Oecumencial Synods (or if he accepts him, he's in direct disobedience to the Bishops of his church).
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« Reply #111 on: November 03, 2006, 08:25:39 PM »

And this coming from someone who rejects 4 of the 7 Oecumencial Synods (or if he accepts him, he's in direct disobedience to the Bishops of his church).

What about Pan-Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #112 on: November 03, 2006, 08:26:44 PM »

There should be a special inquirers forum for non-Orthodox Christians who choose to dispute the truth of the Orthodox faith.

Should there be a special forum also for debating the proper way to do an son then?  Really, Matthew, this topic is not so huge for a forum  Free-For-All is a fine place for it.
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« Reply #113 on: November 03, 2006, 08:28:27 PM »

What about Pan-Orthodoxy?

Pan-Orthodoxy usually refers to those canonical Orthodox churches in the USA...as in SCOBA members and probably ROCOR and JP as well, but not SCOOCH members (Oriental/Indian/et.).
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« Reply #114 on: November 03, 2006, 08:33:39 PM »

Pan-Orthodoxy usually refers to those canonical Orthodox churches in the USA...as in SCOBA members and probably ROCOR and JP as well, but not SCOOCH members (Oriental/Indian/et.).
Actually, Pan-Orthodox refers to Orthodox Churches in Communion with one another anywhere, (not just the USA). As in a Pan-Orthodox Synod or a Pan-Orthodox Liturgy.
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« Reply #115 on: November 03, 2006, 08:34:39 PM »

Pan-Orthodoxy usually refers to those canonical Orthodox churches in the USA...as in SCOBA members and probably ROCOR and JP as well, but not SCOOCH members (Oriental/Indian/et.).

Yes, but why not consider all Orthodox Churches under the same umbrella?
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« Reply #116 on: November 03, 2006, 08:35:22 PM »

Pan-Orthodox usually implies times when the Russians and Greeks get together and actually agree on something...it generally does not include denying the Oecumenical Synods.
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« Reply #117 on: November 03, 2006, 08:35:39 PM »

Yes, but why not consider all Orthodox Churches under the same umbrella?

George just told ya why; we're not in communion.
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« Reply #118 on: November 03, 2006, 08:36:52 PM »

Yes, but why not consider all Orthodox Churches under the same umbrella?
Well, the fact is, we don't. And it seems you are disputing this. So should I move your post to a new special "inquirers" forum?
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« Reply #119 on: November 03, 2006, 08:41:21 PM »

we're not in communion.

Someday, that will be changed.
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« Reply #120 on: November 03, 2006, 08:42:11 PM »

Someday, that will be changed.

See Reply#118
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« Reply #121 on: November 03, 2006, 08:54:42 PM »

There should be a special inquirers forum for non-Orthodox Christians who choose to dispute the truth of the Orthodox faith.

The Eastern Orthodox Forum, as you know since you post there,  is one such place where non-EO are not supposed to post in any section except the "Inquirer's" area.  It keeps things less umm bouncy I'd quess. Smiley

I do not see how objecting to gross oversimplifications and put-downs of other people is "disputing the truth"? The dismissals and perjoratives applied to large groups of human beings are not the "truth" they are the judgements of individual posters.  Why should someone not be allowed to offer a countering idea?

Disagreeing with you personally is not the same thing as disagreeing with 'the Orthodox faith' either.  Saying that people who do not do as you do are "intellectually dishonest" is not part of any statement of faith that I know of either.  I am not EO or OO or AO and I try to behave myself here.  But I deny that your assessment of what you think "Protestants" are like has any truth in regards to my faith or my beliefs or my intellect or my knowledge of history. Your opinions (which do come across as haughty as another poster mentioned) are not in anyway related to the true state of *this* particular human being.

I'm apologize for any untoward harshness.  Would the mods please let me know if or where I should edit things?

Thank you.

Ebor

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« Reply #122 on: November 03, 2006, 08:58:17 PM »

That is true. But human beings who don't have well thought out reasons for their beliefs may just be intellectually lazy.
  Roll Eyes  I would love to know how you are certain this girl (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't have well thought out reasons for her (their) beliefs.  And, just because people aren't ready or willing to convert when you speak to them doesn't mean they never will.  Not everyone is even remotely interested in Orthodoxy when first confronted with it.  I certainly wasn't.  It was something like twelve years later when I decided to give it a second glance.  Everything happens in God's time and each person has to make their own choices.  I would much rather see you pray for your friends and acquaintances than tear them down on-line for being Protestant.  
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« Reply #123 on: November 03, 2006, 09:31:45 PM »

If Protestants were studying the same history, they would see that the early Christians did not believe as they do. The Eucharist was never considered "just symbolic," baptism for adults only was never the norm, personal interpretation was never placed above the Church's understanding of Scripture, etc.

Well, that's what you say. But since not all Protestants believe each and every one of the positions you attribute to them, and indeed there are some Protestants who do not accept any of them, where does that leave us?

Only your last point is even close to some position universally accepted by Protestants, and even then only in a sort of unified rejection of the irreconsiderability that is part and parcel of Orthodox/Catholic theology. There's not much point in taking your Coluphidistic dismissal of Protestantism if you can't be bothered to actually know anything substantial about it.
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« Reply #124 on: November 03, 2006, 10:15:27 PM »


I'm apologize for any untoward harshness.  Would the mods please let me know if or where I should edit things?

You're fine, Ebor. Just don't allow yourself to get dragged down to the low level of the individual(s) you are debating... Wink
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« Reply #125 on: November 04, 2006, 12:35:19 AM »

Let's return to the original topic. How may we better reach Protestants, if not to convert them, than to least help them better understand why we are who we are? This can be rather hard, especially if we are dealing with individuals who have never even heard of the Orthodox faith. Given that Christianity began in the East, one would think that more Westerners would have interest in Eastern Christianity. Furthermore, if they really are all about going by the Bible, wouldn't they find the genuine New Testament Church to be a refreshing alternative?

Peace.
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« Reply #126 on: November 04, 2006, 12:43:18 AM »

Let's return to the original topic. How may we better reach Protestants, if not to convert them, than to least help them better understand why we are who we are?
That wasn't the original topic.
The original topic and title of this thread, as started by yourself , was your accusation of "The Willful Ignorance of Protestants" and their problem in not being "open to new knowledge and perspectives". Here is your opening Post in case you've forgotten:
Have you ever noticed how most Protestants, no matter how you address the truth of the Orthodox faith, refuse to listen? It's quite bothersome. Since when is closedmindedness a tenet of the Bible?
I have no anger nor hatred against our Protestant neighbors, but I hope they could be more open to new knowledge and perspectives. And it's not just me, I've spoken with Orthodox clergymen about how, in their own experiences, Protestants can be almost completely unreachable. What's the deal?

Peace.
So it seems that people have in fact been responding to this and kept the discussion on track. Now it seems you wish to send this thread in a direction of an unrelated topic about Orthodox Christians missioning to Protestants. If you wish to do so, you must start a new thread with a title related to what you want to put up for discussion.
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« Reply #127 on: November 04, 2006, 12:52:32 AM »

There really wouldn't be a point to starting a thread like this if it weren't to find a solution. It's not like I'm into Protestant-bashing just for the fun of it. If more Protestants were informed of Orthodox Christianity, we wouldn't encounter the problems that arise when they are completely clueless of who we are and what we believe. How can we help make them more open to new knowledge and a new perspective?

Peace.
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« Reply #128 on: November 04, 2006, 12:57:44 AM »

There really wouldn't be a point to starting a thread like this if it weren't to find a solution.
That's assuming that your original assesment of Protestants in this thread is correct. Until you establish this, you cannot shift the focus of this thread to finding a "solution" to a "problem" that not everyone who has contributed to this thread believes exists. This would be completely unrelated to the topic of this thread.
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« Reply #129 on: November 04, 2006, 01:13:52 AM »

Moderation:
I have split a response posted by Matthew on the subject of "Missioning to Protestants" into a new thread entitled:
"Matthew777's Question About Missioning to Protestants".
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10089.msg137303.html#msg137303
Any responses to it should go there.

Please keep this thread on topic. This thread is already long enough without having to include any more sub-topics.
In short, therefore, THIS THREAD discusses the topic "The Willful Ignorance of Protestants" and whether that is a valid assesment or not.
The OTHER THREAD is where those who wish to answer Matthew777's Question About Missioning to Protestants may do so.

George
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« Reply #130 on: November 04, 2006, 03:29:35 AM »

Do you see the dilemma that I've presented? Liberal Protestants are turned off by Orthodoxy due to our adherence to tradition, while conservatives are turned off from our not adhering to Sola Scriptura. I turned to Orthodoxy, originally, because I was desperate, due to my dissatisfaction with both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Over time, I became very grateful of the faith which I had found.

Peace.
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« Reply #131 on: November 04, 2006, 03:52:42 AM »

Liberal Protestants are turned off by Orthodoxy due to our adherence to tradition, while conservatives are turned off from our not adhering to Sola Scriptura.
Roll Eyes
Exactly how often am I going to have to repeat this?
Anglo-Catholics are Conservative Protestants who are not "Sola Scriptura". Your premise is false.
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« Reply #132 on: November 04, 2006, 03:55:02 AM »

Anglo-Catholics are Conservative Protestants who are not "Sola Scriptura". Your premise is false.

That depends on whether one is an Evangelical Anglican, or a supporter of the Oxford Movement. There is such diversity and disagreement within Anglicanism as to demostrate it as not the Apostolic faith.

Peace.
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« Reply #133 on: November 04, 2006, 03:59:34 AM »

That depends on whether one is an Evangelical Anglican, or a supporter of the Oxford Movement. There is such diversity and disagreement within Anglicanism as to demostrate it as not the Apostolic faith.

Peace.
And on that premise, what does the diversity and disagreement between Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy demonstrate?

You've been asked this before. We are going in circles now.
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« Reply #134 on: November 04, 2006, 04:18:02 AM »

And on that premise, what does the diversity and disagreement between Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy demonstrate?

It is rather scary that a church which claims to have Apostolic Succession would allow female priests and yoga meditation within its walls. Anglicanism, in placing human reason and personal interpretation over the patristic witness, is flawed from the start.
The case is much different for the Oriental Orthodox Churches. We have a 2,000-year-old theological, liturgical, and ecclesiological tradition. We are not anti-Chalcedonian but pre-Chalcedonian.
It's hard enough keeping the Orthodox faith strong and growing in the Western world, why not have all Orthodox Christians unite? Our hierarchs have not always been right on every decision, why not realize that the schism of Chalcedon was an unfortunate mistake? Love and our common faith should matter more than whatever may have divided us in the past.

Peace.
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« Reply #135 on: November 04, 2006, 04:46:55 AM »

It is rather scary that a church which claims to have Apostolic Succession would allow female priests and yoga meditation within its walls. Anglicanism, in placing human reason and personal interpretation over the patristic witness, is flawed from the start.
The case is much different for the Oriental Orthodox Churches. We have a 2,000-year-old theological, liturgical, and ecclesiological tradition. We are not anti-Chalcedonian but pre-Chalcedonian.
It's hard enough keeping the Orthodox faith strong and growing in the Western world, why not have all Orthodox Christians unite? Our hierarchs have not always been right on every decision, why not realize that the schism of Chalcedon was an unfortunate mistake? Love and our common faith should matter more than whatever may have divided us in the past.

Peace.

AFAIK, Anglo-Catholics don't have female priests or allow yoga in church.  Try again and see if you can correctly articulate your arguement.
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« Reply #136 on: November 04, 2006, 04:54:03 AM »

AFAIK, Anglo-Catholics don't have female priests or allow yoga in church.  Try again and see if you can correctly articulate your arguement.

But isn't that still within the Anglican Communion, which does allow female priests and yoga in the church? My point is rather simple, that adherence to the patristic witness would not allow for such peculiarities. Being "high church" would still make Anglo-Catholicism a product of Western thought, which is not patristic in nature.

The Anglican Church has considered itself the middleground between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Have either the Roman Church or the Protestant reformers preserved the Apostolic faith?
If there's more to the Orthodox faith than the ritualism of the liturgy, then there isn't a meaningful difference between "high church" Anglicans and other Anglicans. A Western approach, rather than a patristic one, would make any religious movement flawed from the start. 

Quote
Since the 1970s at least the Anglo-Catholic party in the Anglican church has been fracturing in two divergent directions, though in retrospect the tensions could be traced back to Charles Gore's work in the 19th century. The Oxford Movement had been inspired in the first place by a rejection of liberalism and latitudinarianism in favour of holding to the traditional faith of the "Church catholic", defined by the teachings of the Church Fathers and the common doctrines of the (Roman) Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. Thus until the 1970s most Anglo-Catholics, emphasising the need to stay in line with tradition and the doctrines of Rome and the East, would have rejected such innovations as the possibility of women receiving Holy Orders. However, Gore's work, bearing the mark of liberal Protestant higher criticism, paved the way for an alternative form of Anglo-Catholicism influenced by liberal theology. Thus, in recent years, many Anglo-Catholics have accepted the ordination of women. Furthermore, in many places, Anglo-Catholic parishes also drew a large following of gay communicants, and many Anglo-Catholic parishes have been at the forefront of inclusion and acceptance for openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people — including non-celibates — in the priesthood and throughout the Church. Many Anglo-Catholics have embraced other aspects of liberalism such as the use of contemporary and inclusive language in Bible translations and the liturgy. Thus today there are two strands of Anglo-Catholicism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Catholicism
Does this sound like the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

I'm lost for words as to why the Church of England would be defended by Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum. Would this happen at Saint Euphrosynos Cafe? What's next, a defense of the filioque and papal supremacy by Orthodox Christians?

Peace.
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« Reply #137 on: November 04, 2006, 05:55:16 AM »

Anglo-Catholics are Conservative Protestants who are not "Sola Scriptura". Your premise is false.
That depends on whether one is an Evangelical Anglican, or a supporter of the Oxford Movement.
Anglo-Catholicism came out of the Oxford Movement, the Evangelicals did not. So the Anglo-Catholics being non-Sola Scriptura and Conservative does not "depend" in any way "on whether one is Evangelical Anglican or from the Oxford Movement".
Your premise remains false.
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« Reply #138 on: November 04, 2006, 06:23:03 AM »

Brian,

I have to admit that the original Lutherans, who are immediate offspring of the Roman Catholics as opposed to the Evangelicals who came in much later, are much less carnal in their worship.  I would also confess that since becoming Orthodox, I have developed a tendency to lump together all the groups that formed after 1517 into one denomination and dare call it "Protestants" in much the same way that a typical Christian would lump together the various forms of Islam.  For this, I apologize.  I suppose that slight differences in doctrine become irrelevant when one discovers a totally different brand of Christianity.  Take note that I am not the only one who sees it this way.  The chart in the following doesn't even mention the names of the splinter groups!

http://www.saintignatiuschurch.org/timeline.html#timechart

Anyway, you have made it perfectly clear that you are a Lutheran.  We appreciate that.  You have also expressed the importance of being specific when conversing with "Protestants."  I now realize that there is no single approach to introducing Orthodoxy in the West.  It is imperative therefore that we employ specific methods for each "Protestant" denomination.  More importantly, after opening your mind to Orthodoxy, I suppose that you are in the best position to suggest as to how we Orthodox could effectively share what we know to your Lutheran brethren.  For instance, Where do we begin?  Do we go about discussing Church history, or is questioning the validity of the juridic concept of atonement a valid starting point?  Finally, it would also help us if you could relate your experience and identify the points of interest which led you to explore the Orthodox Church.

Dear Theognosis,

Sorry for the delay in responding.  I've been very busy the last few days.

Your apology is noted, and accepted.  I sincerely appreciate your openness to the counter-arguments, a true sign of intellectual maturity.  I in turn apologize if my tendency to 'stick the barbs in' has caused any offense or hurt on your part.  I have a tendency towards the caustic, but it is never meant to be hurtful.  In the same spirit, we can hopefully move on to a more balanced discussion of Protestantism, one that might yield productive insights.  I think your question on how Orthodox should approach people in specific denominations such as Lutheranism is excellent and worth discussing in depth.  I may not be the best person for that but I am happy to contribute what I can.  As OzGeorge has noted, however, that discussion is better had on other threads than this one.  However, I do think we still need to discuss exactly what we mean when we use the term 'Protestant'. (I note, now in jest, that you STILL haven't defined it. Wink)  In any event, I certainly agree with you that there are SOME Protestants who have taken to a carnal, dramatic approach in recent years - it is rather complicated.  So in order to be more precise, let me spend some time discussing my views on how the term may be used.

One can use the term 'Protestant' in many different ways and for different purposes, and this is the problem.  Errors in use usually occur, as on this thread, when one has in mind one definition but is speaking to another definition.  For example, many of the criticisms on this thread leveled at Protestants are of an attitudinal or doctrinal quality, the accuser criticizes Protestant ignorance or Protestant emphasis on particular beliefs.  And yet the definition that seems to be operative is broad and historical, encompassing many attitudes and many docrines (even contradictory doctrines).  As a result, the charge of overgeneralization is perfectly legitimate.  Here are all the many ways I have seen the term 'Protestant' used.  There may be others as well.

(1) As a general label denoting all Christians of a particular branch of (western) Christianity.  This definition tends to operate by elimination.  If a denomination or sect calls itself Christian, is of western creation, and is not Roman Catholic, then it is by definition Protestant.  Under this definition even Oneness Pentecostals and Unitarian-Universalists are Protestant.  Some might even include Mormons, Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses under this label depending on how one also defines 'Christian'.

(2) As a general historical label denoting all Christians who can trace a lineal relationship to the Reformation.  Under this definition all those western Christian groups who identify themselves with one of the four Reformation traditions - Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinist), Anabaptist, or Anglican - are Protestants.  Groups such as the Quakers (Society of Friends) wouldn't likely count since they generally see themselves as distinct even though they arise from Anabaptist roots.  Nor would groups like Mormons even though Joseph Smith came from a Protestant matrix.

(3) As a specific historical label more restrictive than (2) and including only the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of the Reformation, since Anglicans have always been of a different character of 'protest', and Anabaptists were never reformers but radicals, and thus opposed by the Reformers as well as the Catholics.  Obviously those groups that are offshoots of the Anabaptist or Anglican traditions, including Mennonites, Methodists, and Pentecostals, would not qualify as Protestant under this definition.

(4) As a very restrictive historical label applying only to Lutherans, since they (we) were the original issuers of the protestio.

(5) As a doctrinal label to varying degrees of specificity.  Here a Protestant would not be defined historically but rather doctrinally.  A very restrictive doctrinal tag would require confession of all the solas.  However even here there are significant differences between Protestants on the nature of free will, whether Calvinists, Arminians, or Lutherans.  A looser and more common standard might simply affirm sola scriptura, sola gratia, and sola fide as the primary standard for being a Protestant, though the actual views on sola scriptura are quite nuanced between traditions.  For example Lutherans dont believe that sola scriptura means that all beliefs and practices must be explicitly present in scripture to be valid - there is still a place for historical developments as with the Catholics and Orthodox.  Other doctrinaire Protestants do take the view that if it isn't in Holy Scripture, then it shouldn't be adhered to at all.  While most Protestants probably hold to a substitutionary atonement view, there are various competing views here throughout history, including Christus Victor.  I think it is true that the Orthodox have the fuller teaching here, but it is incorrect to claim that all Protestants are Anselmians exclusively.  In short, regardless of what YOU THINK Protestants believe, it is actually VERY difficult to make assumptions about what constitutes true Protestant belief, even when considering the foundational solas.  And those who do go around making those sorts of assumptions...well you know what they say about those who ass/u/me.

(6) Finally one might be able to define a category for Protestant practice, liturgy, ritual, art, and aesthetic, as distinct from the Catholic approach.  Obviously this will again depend on which of the above definitions one is using, which traditions are included and which are not.  Anglicans look very Catholic in their approach, while most of the mainline Protestant groups are more minimalist.  It really depends.  However, I would claim that Protestants in general are (or at least have been) almost Japanese in their minimalism and simplicity.  And in my experience God can be found in the minimal as well as the maximal.

So this is why I found the charge of artistic carnality to be so outrageous, coming from an Orthodox source especially.  As I said, there are certainly Protestants (depending on definition) who have confused the dramatic and carnal with the spiritual.  And I tend to decry those congregations that have turned to guitars and tambourines, scripturally shallow modern Christian music, and preacher centeredness over traditional choir, organ, and scripturally-based hymns.  Certainly I find the current spread of megachurches with latte and popcorn, or the arising of "Prosperity Gospels" to be a travesty and an insult to Christ.  Perhaps one can find salvation in such places, but I am skeptical.  Nevertheless, what I think really doesn't matter - it is in God's hands.  But I think we must certainly acknowledge religious secularism, the loss of the sense of the vertical, and the loss of the sense of the virtuous as the psycho-spiritual diseases of our times.  I suspect that Orthodox are not totally immune from this, though I have found in my explorations that Orthodox have perhaps more resistance than most, and that is a major reason for my turn towards Orthodoxy.

One more comment on the issue of carnality in art.  It is without a doubt that the most carnal art ever produced in the last century (apart from advertising) came from that abhorent school called socialist realism.  Carnality is not a purely western phenomenon, even if socialism, that most carnal of political ideologies, originated in the west.  It certainly found fertile enough soil in the east.  While capitalism at its worst seeks to make the heart into a commodity, the ultimate in kitsch, socialism seeks to deny the heart altogether.  Adam Smith realized that capitalism could not operate properly apart from the morally and spiritually stabilizing influence of the heart - we often forget that in our modern world, and then the carnal truly does take over.  However, when capitalism does operate properly it acts as a partial antidote for one of the most pernicious sins at the center of the human condition - envy.  [As an aside, I recommend reading "Business As a Calling" for a discussion of the positive moral aspects of capitalism and the defeat of envy.  It's a short book worth picking up used if you can.]  Anyway, this conflict over the vertical and the virtuous is at the heart of our culture wars, and this war extends into the inner sanctum as well, as we have seen every denomination challenged from within.

So to summarize a few conclusions.  First, the term 'Protestant' is a practically meaningless term unless explicitly defined.  In particular one often sees an implicit definition that is historical mixed up with a criticism based on perceived doctrine.  This is an incorrect approach in every case, particularly since it is questionable to what extent one may even generalize from denominational labels these days.  Intra-denominational diversity is a real problem.  Unfortunately this applies even to Lutherans.  For example, doctrinally speaking the most traditionally 'Protestant' groups nowadays are the fundamentalists and the Pentecostals.  Now Pentecostals are not particularly big on theology and catechesis, and yet in surveys of members' beliefs they tend to score higher than mainline denominations in their adherence to traditional Protestant doctrines such as sola fide.  Within most mainline denominations only around 20-30% would pass the test of Luther or Calvin, so far has theological knowledge fallen out of favor in the quest to be 'relevant' in society.  And yet as I pointed out above, Pentecostalism may not even qualify as Protestant under some definitions.  Such is the importance of defining terms and applying that definition consistently.

[Side note:  there is much that may be considered carnal in Pentecostalism in my (outsider) opinion, though I think it is unrelated to their fidelity to traditional Protestant thought - this would be an interesting area to explore.]

My apologies, Theognosis, for the length of my answer.  I haven't even gotten to your other points.  Let me address those on the next post.

Sincerely in Christ,
Brian
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« Reply #139 on: November 04, 2006, 08:45:26 AM »


I'm lost for words as to why the Church of England would be defended by Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum. Would this happen at Saint Euphrosynos Cafe? What's next, a defense of the filioque and papal supremacy by Orthodox Christians?

Peace.

Now THAT is funny. Most there think we are all heretics here, you foremost among us in error. Why don't you go there and take over the forum as you do here?

Lord have mercy on any inquirers who visit us and see this inanity.

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« Reply #140 on: November 04, 2006, 09:00:50 AM »

I'm lost for words as to why the Church of England would be defended by Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum. Would this happen at Saint Euphrosynos Cafe? What's next, a defense of the filioque and papal supremacy by Orthodox Christians?

You have to watch out for that slippery slope, first we're arguing that not all protestants are the same, next we'll be defending the filioque and papal supremacy, and before long we will be taking the posistions of those arc-heretics themselves and denying the Most Holy and Oecumenical Synods of the Church...oh wait...
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« Reply #141 on: November 04, 2006, 09:20:37 AM »

It is rather scary that a church which claims to have Apostolic Succession would allow female priests and yoga meditation within its walls. Anglicanism, in placing human reason and personal interpretation over the patristic witness, is flawed from the start.

(rummages around for his Canterbury cap)

Well, I don't know about personal interpretation in this; one can hardly reduce the counciliar decisions of a church to personal interpretation. And as for human reason, well, it is there in the patristic witness too. Indeed, one of the cardinal points of Anglicanism is that since the church fathers are, like us, theologians arguing (like us) about various matters, then (like ours) their arguments can and should be subject to reconsideration.

See, here's the problem: it's perfectly obvious to me (an Anglican) that you don't know anything substantial about my church. But you will not back down from your assumed position of superiority, so you grasp the first point that comes along and wave it about as if it were some sort of all-refuting argument, which it (so far) never is. It's the very behavior the word "sophomoric" was coined to describe. Yet you rashly go on about "willful ignorance", blythely ignoring two points:
  • Your arguments are apparently grounded in the belief that you don't need to know much about any particular Protestant body.
  • The truth is that there are plenty of Protestant theologians (and even clerics and laymen) out there who do study patristics, but who come to conclusions that differ from yours.

Meanwhile the Protestant version of you is going around saying how, if you really looked at tradition, you would see it is a lot of manmade nonsense.
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« Reply #142 on: November 04, 2006, 09:36:31 AM »

Why don't you go there and take over the forum as you do here?

Matthew777 has not "taken over" here. Perhaps his posts are standing out to you, but have a read of some of the insightful, informative, well thought out and well written posts others have made.

Matthew777 has made an assertion in starting this thread, and he is being challenged to defend it. As Christians, we know that there are no "idle words" and that we will be called to account for everything we have said. How much moreso for things we have said in broadcast to an international audience on the internet?

Unless we call people to account here on this forum for they say on it, the forum will just descend into a soapbox for trolls and whackos posting their stupid ideas with no one challenging them.

This is why I am insisting that this thread stay on track.


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« Reply #143 on: November 04, 2006, 09:47:47 AM »

Matthew777 has not "taken over" here. Perhaps his posts are standing out to you, but have a read of some of the insightful, informative, well thought out and well written posts others have made.

Matthew777 has made an assertion in starting this thread, and he is being challenged to defend it. As Christians, we know that there are no "idle words" and that we will be called to account for everything we have said. How much moreso for things we have said in broadcast to an international audience on the internet?

Unless we call people to account here on this forum for they say on it, the forum will just descend into a soapbox for trolls and whackos posting their stupid ideas with no one challenging them.

This is why I am insisting that this thread stay on track.

Amen brother, couldn't agree more.
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« Reply #144 on: November 04, 2006, 09:48:43 AM »

So it would appear to US. But to visitors?

I'll be taking another long vacation until this is over or M777 starts over with the Lord's first two new commandments.
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« Reply #145 on: November 04, 2006, 09:57:11 AM »

So it would appear to US. But to visitors?
This is one thread in one forum on a Board with nine thousand, three hundred and fifty six threads in fifteen public and two private forums.

I'll be taking another long vacation until this is over or M777 starts over with the Lord's first two new commandments.
That's OK, but as long as this thread stays on track and people respond appropriately to Matthew's assertion, on what crietria should I close it?

If anyone else would like to input into how I should moderate this thread, please pm me so that the thread stays on topic.
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« Reply #146 on: November 04, 2006, 05:54:26 PM »

Anglo-Catholicism came out of the Oxford Movement, the Evangelicals did not.

My point in that post was to contrast Anglo-Catholicism with Evangelical Anglicans. And there is a third strand which I had previously not mentioned, the radically liberal Anglicans, whose views I find truly scary.

Peace.
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« Reply #147 on: November 04, 2006, 06:13:46 PM »

    And as for human reason, well, it is there in the patristic witness too.

    As Blessed Seraphim of Platina stressed, the goal of an Orthodox Christian is to forsake his own reason, in search of the patristic mind. Western thought does not enhance our understanding of Scripture and theology, but corrupts it. As Tertullian inquired, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?"

    See, here's the problem: it's perfectly obvious to me (an Anglican) that you don't know anything substantial about my church.

    It's obvious to me that if you understood the Orthodox faith, you would earnestly seek it.

    But you will not back down from your assumed position of superiority, so you grasp the first point that comes along and wave it about as if it were some sort of all-refuting argument, which it (so far) never is.

    As a human being, I am in no way superior to you nor any other individual. As Jesus Christ maintained, "No one is good but God." But as for my chosen faith, I am obliged to believe that the Orthodox Church is superior to all other religious movements, in more ways than one.

    • Your arguments are apparently grounded in the belief that you don't need to know much about any particular Protestant body.

    I've read in depth how the various major Protestant bodies were formed and what they believe. George Fox, John Wesley, and Martin Muther are men I've long respected and admired. That does not mean, however, that I agree with most of their theological views, nor with their approach to Scripture and Tradition. I find that Confessional Lutherans, however, share more in common with the Orthodox Church, in the things that matter most, than Roman Catholics do.

    • The truth is that there are plenty of Protestant theologians (and even clerics and laymen) out there who do study patristics, but who come to conclusions that differ from yours.

    There is a difference between picking and choosing which church fathers are compatible with one's pre-existing theology, and seeking the consensus of the fathers, and the faith which is based on that consensus.

    I'm sorry if I seem like the willfully ignorant one. I'm open to learning about Protestantism, and always have been. But I'm not about to acknowledge it as equally legimite as Orthodox Christianity.

    "The purpose of an open mind is to close it, on particular subjects. If you never do — you've simply abdicated the responsibility to think" -
    William F. Buckley Jr.

    Peace. [/list]
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    « Reply #148 on: November 05, 2006, 01:12:27 AM »

    Well, except that it is extremely presumtuous for you to assume that they are "picking and choosing" in the manner you accuse them of. Perhaps it is the case that They are picking out and chooisng what is right from what is wrong.

    As for your glurge about the patristic mind, the patristic mind is yet, a mind.
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    « Reply #149 on: November 05, 2006, 01:35:19 AM »

    I'm sorry if I seem like the willfully ignorant one.
    Apology accepted.

    Moderation:
    Since this thread is now going nowhere except in circles, I'm locking it, and would direct anyone who wishes to discuss the practicalities of Orthodox Christians missioning to Protestants to the thread:
    http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10089.0.html
    where some very insightful replies have already been posted by both Orthodox and non-Orthodox posters.
    George

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