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scamandrius
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« on: November 26, 2006, 12:49:18 AM »

Something I found while "lurking" on another board.  This is an ELCA congregation in San Francisco, which is not considered heretical by the ELCA hierarchy.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4639219646887101318&q=church&pr=goog-sl

This may or may not shock you.  To me it came as no surprise, having been raised Lutheran, but it begs the question: Why do we bother dialoguing with people who hold and practice such erroneous and  heretical teachings?  I'm not afraid of dialoguing, but where do you begin to find common ground with persons such as these?

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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2006, 01:02:42 AM »

Well obviously as an anti-ecumenist I think the only solution is to offer the Orthodox position and baptize anyone interested, praying for the rest.  I think the type of Faith and Order roundable talks that happened before the current WCC came about were useful--participants gave talks and did not vote on common statements, looking for actual misunderstandings, not compromises that might be manufactured--but those days are long gone.

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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2006, 01:03:17 AM »

btw, I am also a former Lutheran, having been LCMS and WELS, with some ELCA visits.
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2006, 01:37:14 AM »

Hahaha, yeah I've seen that video before. I like how they hijacked some icons and put it behind their "altar," "pagan goddess table," whatever you want to call it.

Scary church with scary ideas!
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2006, 01:49:26 AM »

It's really with a sad heart that I became anti-ecumenism though; I had high hopes for Church reunion during most of my life, but the nail in the coffin was that I perceived ecumenism was weakening missionary endeavors, resulting in less actual conversion to Orthodoxy taking place.
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2006, 02:29:57 AM »

For conservative, Bible-believing, Trinitarian, Nicene Creed affirming protestants, this is the battle they have been fighting since the mid-1800's. It was always a matter of degree, and when to separate from liberalizing denominations.

It just gets worse and worse. Smugly, many insensitive boors on OC.net say protestants start a new denomination any time they feel like it (and maybe among the fundamentalist and charasmaniac groups this is the case). But in reality, there are faithful people in churches with a statement or confession of faith and doctrine that the liberals and modernists have so distorted and abused that they leave  and start a new denpmination to try to preserve sound doctrine.

Many, like me until 4 years ago, don't even know about Orthdooxy (so don't judge them for not converting to something they know nothing about). They are just trying to preserve the faith they know so they create a new, more conservative denomination (Missouri Synod Lutheran, Presbyterian Church in America, Episcopal under an African bishop) to get away from such heathen and pagan garbage in their ecclesiastical arrangements.

My sister's Presbyterian church is going thru this - leaving the PCUSA in the upcoming year.

When I learned about Orthodoxy, it was like "Finally, no need for a new denomination." I have been blessed to discover the one true Church that's been around for 2,000 years - rather than a couple hundred, or a century or a generation, or 20 years.

And I was and am still truly thankful to learn of this, almost "out of the blue."

So, to cradles or converts -- Never be smug, never be smug. "There, but for the grace of God goes YOU!"
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2006, 06:39:22 PM »

Yeah, we really cant blame people for not converting to Orthodoxy. For those raised in a heavily Catholic or Protestant background with a very small Greek/Russian/Slavic community, they have no idea it even exists, or are taken aback by its sheer pomp (the good kind). Due to the minimalistic nature of ALL non-Orthodox churches these days, stumbling into something so colorful, vibrant, and incensed can either be love at first sight or send a ultra-conservative Evangelical scrambling for higher ground. When I tell people about my religion, they either say "Oh, Ive heard of that. My cousin is Greek. I hear its very old and secret" or "You mean Orthodox Jew?"
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2006, 08:46:35 PM »

This may or may not shock you.  To me it came as no surprise, having been raised Lutheran, but it begs the question: Why do we bother dialoguing with people who hold and practice such erroneous and  heretical teachings?  I'm not afraid of dialoguing, but where do you begin to find common ground with persons such as these?

Perhaps there's something in the video I missed, but I watched it twice to be on the safe side. While I saw many things that were unconventional and uncomfortable, I must have missed the part where heretical theology was proclaimed. There were a couple parts where I thought it was borderline watching the video the first time through, but watching it a second time they wern't as bad as I initially thought they were.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2006, 09:27:49 PM »

Perhaps there's something in the video I missed, but I watched it twice to be on the safe side. While I saw many things that were unconventional and uncomfortable, I must have missed the part where heretical theology was proclaimed. There were a couple parts where I thought it was borderline watching the video the first time through, but watching it a second time they wern't as bad as I initially thought they were.

Uhhhh......hello?  The rosary to the "goddess"?  Newfangled non-Christian terminology, instead of bothering with that "horrible misogynist trinitarian language"? A female presiding in a decidedly eucharistic setting?  (Oh, I forgot, you're for female ordination to the priesthood!)  Plus many other childish heresies too numerous to mention?........Are you trying to provoke a response, or are you serious about your post? Huh
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2006, 09:33:57 PM »

Uhhhh......hello?  The rosary to the "goddess"? 

Also, whilst praying their goddess-rosary, they were gathered around some fat-ugly goddess statue.

Theyre a church that mixes secular notions with their own form of Christianity. That in itself, by its redefinition of anthropology and God, is heretical as it clearly preaches a feminist, liberation theology. All of what Bob said are valid points. Then again, we have to remember that these women do belong in the ELCA and are a definitively liberal synod. So what else should we, as traditional Orthodox Christians who (I hope) will not stoop down to post-Enlightenment, humanistic influences, think of them?
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2006, 09:41:19 PM »

Uhhhh......hello?  The rosary to the "goddess"?  Newfangled non-Christian terminology, instead of bothering with that "horrible misogynist trinitarian language"?

Oh, I'm quite aware that pagan terminology was used, which is probably because half the point of their services is to shock and offend people. But theologically they didn't actually say anything heretical in the little clip. Now I'm sure that they adhear to heretical beliefs, they probably accept the double procession of the holy spirit and have a dubious sacramental theology, as do most protestants. But I doubt that would shock too many people here.

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A female presiding in a decidedly eucharistic setting?  (Oh, I forgot, you're for female ordination to the priesthood!)

Yes, yes, very true, I do support the Ordination of Women and see nothing heretical in that. However, that is not the reason I responded to this issue. We did a pretty good job of killing that issue than continuing to flog it for several more pages. I just dont have the time to resurrect that topic right now.

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Plus many other childish heresies too numerous to mention?........Are you trying to provoke a response, or are you serious about your post? Huh

Oh, I'm sure there are several other such heresies of which they are guilty, but these are heresies shared with nearly every protestant group and, for the most part, the Latins...regardless of how conservative. Infact, the more conservative Latins and Protestants tend to be the more heretical ones.
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2006, 09:50:32 PM »

Also, whilst praying their goddess-rosary, they were gathered around some fat-ugly goddess statue.

Ah yes, what could be less Christian than using images in worship.

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Theyre a church that mixes secular notions with their own form of Christianity. That in itself, by its redefinition of anthropology and God, is heretical as it clearly preaches a feminist, liberation theology.

Right, because our theology was never influenced by secular notions. It's mere coincidence that Plotinus was the first real trinitarian theologian and that the earliest origins of the doctrine are found mesopotamian religion. Of course, in this instance I think you're confusing praxis with dogma.

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All of what Bob said are valid points. Then again, we have to remember that these women do belong in the ELCA and are a definitively liberal synod. So what else should we, as traditional Orthodox Christians who (I hope) will not stoop down to post-Enlightenment, humanistic influences, think of them?

You say 'post-Enlightenment, humanistic' as though it was a bad thing Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2006, 09:54:49 PM »

It's really with a sad heart that I became anti-ecumenism though; I had high hopes for Church reunion during most of my life, but the nail in the coffin was that I perceived ecumenism was weakening missionary endeavors, resulting in less actual conversion to Orthodoxy taking place.

It is the right conclusion. Why is it reached with a sad heart though ? Just curious. It seems to me that the Eastern Chalcedonian group are by far the most conservative when it comes to pursuing talks with others, an approach that should be respected regardless of my opinion regarding the group doctrines and history. I do not believe there is much pressure on you when you voice your discontent with such efforts or actively work against it.
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2006, 09:55:20 PM »

Bleh, there was absolutely nothing heretical about that.  It's not heresy if it's an entirely different religion, after all. Wink

Still, it reminds me of the infamous Episcopalian "raisin-cakes" "liturgy" where they actually invoked the names of pagan fertility goddesses that the Caananites worshipped.  Scary stuff.
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2006, 09:55:43 PM »

Oh, I'm quite aware that pagan terminology was used, which is probably because half the point of their services is to shock and offend people. But theologically they didn't actually say anything heretical in the little clip.

Lex orandi, lex credendi.  If their worship doesn't clearly expose them as heretics, what else does?  You could argue that Byzantine Catholicism is not heretical if you followed this line of reasoning.  But then I would catch you in pointing out that the liturgical commemeration of the Pope is a much less spectacular, but still valid way to determine that Orthodoxy is lacking.  The same could be said of the conservative Anglicans or Latins that you mention.

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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2006, 09:59:10 PM »

Bleh, there was absolutely nothing heretical about that.  It's not heresy if it's an entirely different religion, after all. Wink

You could argue that.  Then again, many see Islam as a Christian heresy, and the abomination portrayed here still believes itself to be Christian.
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« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2006, 10:04:02 PM »

Ah yes, what could be less Christian than using images in worship.

Okay. Let's remove all the icons from our churches, go to downtown San Francisco and visit some neo-pagan store and get some pretty lil' goddess statues! Or perhaps we can keep our icons but adorn them with a bunch of Chinese Buddhist imagery - because syncretism is at the center of our faith.  Smiley

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Right, because our theology was never influenced by secular notions. It's mere coincidence that Plotinus was the first real trinitarian theologian and that the earliest origins of the doctrine are found mesopotamian religion. Of course, in this instance I think you're confusing praxis with dogma.

Hahaha. Do I remember correctly that you got your education of HCHC?  Wink

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You say 'post-Enlightenment, humanistic' as though it was a bad thing Undecided

As if some philosophy invented out of the 18th century belongs in the 2,000 year old Orthodox Church.

Pointless to argue since we are coming from Tradition vs. (clearly) a sanctioning of syncretism.
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2006, 10:06:13 PM »

Lex orandi, lex credendi.  If their worship doesn't clearly expose them as heretics, what else does?  You could argue that Byzantine Catholicism is not heretical if you followed this line of reasoning.  But then I would catch you in pointing out that the liturgical commemeration of the Pope is a much less spectacular, but still valid way to determine that Orthodoxy is lacking.

While they used terminology that was reminiscent of paganism (and they wouldn't be the first, ignoring the whole trinitarian theological evolution, numerous christian prayers and practices in the early church can be linked to pagan (as well as jewish) practices and rites), it really seems that that's as far as it goes. There was no real polytheistic inclinations in their services nor any indications of a contract based theology which is elemental to most (at least pre-platonic) paganism (mind you, one can find much of this in protestant and latin thought, so perhaps they are pagans...not because they're new age feminists who use the word 'goddess' in their prayers but, rather, becuase they are Lutherans). To the contrary, you actually see Pastor Stacy going out of the way to describe God in numerous ways that indicate he Transcends gender. The language used, while clearly having a feminist twist, is more reminiscant of Dionysius than Homer.
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2006, 10:18:11 PM »

While they used terminology that was reminiscent of paganism (and they wouldn't be the first, ignoring the whole trinitarian theological evolution, numerous christian prayers and practices in the early church can be linked to pagan (as well as jewish) practices and rites), it really seems that that's as far as it goes. There was no real polytheistic inclinations in their services nor any indications of a contract based theology which is elemental to most (at least pre-platonic) paganism (mind you, one can find much of this in protestant and latin thought, so perhaps they are pagans...not because they're new age feminists who use the word 'goddess' in their prayers but, rather, becuase they are Lutherans). To the contrary, you actually see Pastor Stacy going out of the way to describe God in numerous ways that indicate he Transcends gender. The language used, while clearly having a feminist twist, is more reminiscant of Dionysius than Homer.

Very interesting and stimulating points.  However, just because "numerous Christian prayers" were based on pagan models, doesn't make them pagan.  The attitude is completely different.  The early Church was taking  the culture it knew and baptising it, offering it up to God in its transfigured form.  The people under discussion here are heretics because they are effectively and arrogantly ignoring Christian revelation.  God has chosen to reveal himself to us as Father, Son, and Spriit, not "creator mother" or whatever mumbo-jumbo they are conjuring up here. 
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2006, 10:18:48 PM »

Okay. Let's remove all the icons from our churches, go to downtown San Francisco and visit some neo-pagan store and get some pretty lil' goddess statues! Or perhaps we can keep our icons but adorn them with a bunch of Chinese Buddhist imagery - because syncretism is at the center of our faith.  Smiley

Only if we can throw in the cool-looking orange robes too Grin

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Hahaha. Do I remember correctly that you got your education of HCHC?  Wink

Yes this is true...I started out more conservative and traditionalist than most (perhaps all?) on this board. But much to the satisfaction of at least some of my professors (and as a result of the immense patience of one in particular, to whom I owe an eternal debt of gratitude for helping me see in more colours than black and white) I was eventually converted to my current liberal ecumenist thought.

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As if some philosophy invented out of the 18th century belongs in the 2,000 year old Orthodox Church.

Actually, I'd say that enlightenment philosophy has always been part of the Christian faith, all the thinkers of that era did was present it in a context that went beyond dogma into other spheres of our life.

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Pointless to argue since we are coming from Tradition vs. (clearly) a sanctioning of syncretism.

If we're coming from those perspectives, then there is a problem, I intended to address the issue in terms of dogma, you seem to be trying to change the discussion into one about linguistics and social philosophy.
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« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2006, 10:29:24 PM »

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Yes this is true...I started out more conservative and traditionalist than most (perhaps all?) on this board. But much to the satisfaction of at least some of my professors (and as a result of the immense patience of one in particular, to whom I owe an eternal debt of gratitude for helping me see in more colours than black and white) I was eventually converted to my current liberal ecumenist thought.

How unfortunate.  Tongue

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Actually, I'd say that enlightenment philosophy has always been part of the Christian faith, all the thinkers of that era did was present it in a context that went beyond dogma into other spheres of our life.

Whatever floats your boat.

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If we're coming from those perspectives, then there is a problem, I intended to address the issue in terms of dogma, you seem to be trying to change the discussion into one about linguistics and social philosophy.

Oooh, I never "changed" it. Heresy, at least in my train of thought, is not limited to dogmatic/canonical incongruencies. It also extends to how we view the milieu of the Church - whether or not it may benefit from feminist theological innovations or a continuity in traditional exegesis. As you may note from the beginning of the conversation, I stood firm in this premise, opting to criticize the redefinitions of traditional Trinitarian thought and liturgical rite. I think that if we do wish to criticize their dogmas, we can only criticize based on their Lutheran foundation - as this is what we can only deduce from this 2 minute or so infomercial. We would have to research their positions very closely beyond this to figure out if they really do practice pagan beliefs. But, if you ask me, the fact that theyre using such terms as "the Incarnated Sophia" in light of today's gnostic-controversy, it is rather suspicious.
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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2006, 10:34:39 PM »

Very interesting and stimulating points.  However, just because "numerous Christian prayers" were based on pagan models, doesn't make them pagan.  The attitude is completely different.  The early Church was taking  the culture it knew and baptising it, offering it up to God in its transfigured form.

And why do you believe that these people are doing anything different? They are taking the culture they know and offering it to God.

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The people under discussion here are heretics because they are effectively and arrogantly ignoring Christian revelation.

I dont think they're ignoring it, becuase their theology they are presenting seems to be in line with it. Rather they seem to be adapting it to their cultural experience. Now, I agree that this is bad practice, there is virtue to the form in which the faith was transmitted, which is one of the reasons that I oppose the use of English in the liturgy. But it's quite a jump from saying that what they're doing is distasteful to saying that it's heretical.

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God has chosen to reveal himself to us as Father, Son, and Spriit, not "creator mother" or whatever mumbo-jumbo they are conjuring up here. 

Yes, but this revelation is independent of assigning any gender to the divinity. God is clearly revealed to us as encompassing not only all gender but all creation and transcending it. Now, one of the problems with using terms like 'Mother' or 'Goddess' is that it tends to draw attention to gender in respect to God who, ovbiously, transcends gender and it is a dangerous thing to think of God in gendered terms. However, Pastor Stacy did go to great lengths to ascribe male, female, and non-gender terms to God in the video, demonstrating that they are not confusing these things on a theological level, now whether they are being confused in the minds of the individual parishioners is open to question.
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« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2006, 10:44:31 PM »

Oooh, I never "changed" it. Heresy, at least in my train of thought, is not limited to dogmatic/canonical incongruencies. It also extends to how we view the milieu of the Church - whether or not it may benefit from feminist theological innovations or a continuity in traditional exegesis.

Ah, then it would seem that our disagreement is likewise a result of linguistics, as I have always regarded heresy as a deviation from dogma (I would not regard a (non-dogmatic) canonical deviation as heretical, though one could possibly be regarded as schismatic depending on the situation). Though I confess on these definitions I do remain a bit more conservative than some of my professors, if that makes you feel any better Wink

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As you may note from the beginning of the conversation, I stood firm in this premise, opting to criticize the redefinitions of traditional Trinitarian thought and liturgical rite. I think that if we do wish to criticize their dogmas, we can only criticize based on their Lutheran foundation - as this is what we can only deduce from this 2 minute or so infomercial. We would have to research their positions very closely beyond this to figure out if they really do practice pagan beliefs. But, if you ask me, the fact that theyre using such terms as "the Incarnated Sophia" in light of today's gnostic-controversy, it is rather suspicious.

I basically agree with you here...except for your objection to the term 'the Incarnate Sophia,' that was actually the one thing from the video that I tucked away in my head for future use.
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2006, 11:59:18 PM »

It just gets worse and worse. Smugly, many insensitive boors on OC.net say protestants start a new denomination any time they feel like it (and maybe among the fundamentalist and charasmaniac groups this is the case). But in reality, there are faithful people in churches with a statement or confession of faith and doctrine that the liberals and modernists have so distorted and abused that they leave  and start a new denpmination to try to preserve sound doctrine.

Stay tuned for an Interview with Dr. Brad Nassif on Ancient Faith Radio at the times of:

Sat       Dec 2  9am CT/10am ET
Sat     Dec 2    10pm CT/11pm ET
Sun      Dec 3    3pm CT/4pm ET
Mon     Dec 4    Noon CT/1pm ET

the Interview promo that Dr. Nassif implied that regardless of the Orthodox Church members increasing in the West. Protestanst such as Evangelicals will reconsider Protestant theology by possibly changing? to reaffirm their Confession back to sound doctrine. I was a bit worried about this as an insecure Orthodox trying to be smug about the Apostolic Faith. However after being friended with a popular pastor's daughter in Chicago. It makes it all the more fervent for me to strategically approach this pastor by engaging in unbiased dialogue to ask him the questions for the time being. I won't mention I'm Orthodox however it will require to pray and participate with heterodox. But that is the price that I will have to pay for him to get him to question his faith for a  struggling journey.
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« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2006, 10:56:51 AM »

Very interesting and stimulating points.  However, just because "numerous Christian prayers" were based on pagan models, doesn't make them pagan.  The attitude is completely different.  The early Church was taking  the culture it knew and baptising it, offering it up to God in its transfigured form. 

Recalls the spoils of the Egyptians as exegeted by Augustine in De Doctrina Christiana,  Book 4.

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I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
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