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Author Topic: Must I receive the label "Orthodox" to be serious about Orthodoxy?  (Read 5925 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 20, 2007, 09:10:03 PM »

As a freethinker, it's difficult for me to attach labels to myself, though I am aware that "freethinker" itself can be considered a label. The more serious I am about loving Yeshua and following His teachings, the less comfortable I am with creating barriers between myself and fellow Christians.

One can say that I am an Orthodox Christian in that I attend a church whose Orthodoxy is rejected by half the world's Orthodox Christians. One can say that I am an Orthodox Christian in that I believe Orthodox theology and praxis to be the most correct theology and praxis. But even then, I'd still rather consider myself a follower of Christ and leave it at that.

I belong to the Church because I love Christ, not because I love the Church in and of itself or consider it to be an authority equal to God's. This might make me a "heretic" to the most ardent Orthodox partisan, but I'd rather be a heretic for Christ than a blind sectarian.

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2007, 09:31:21 PM »

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One can say that I am an Orthodox Christian in that I believe Orthodox theology

Oh I don't know about that. Unless the OO are different, Orthodox ecclesiology considers Christ ontologically bound with the Church. To consider just Ephesians, does not the bridegroom and the bride become one in a mysterious way (Eph. 5:22-33)? Isn't the Church the theanthropic "body of Christ," (Eph. 4:12-16) literally a living organism (Eph. 2:19-22)? If there is one faith and one baptism (Eph. 4:5), and someone else has a different faith and different baptism (or no baptism at all), how can you be in communion--either in prayer or sacrament--with them? Would this not be spiritual adultery? Smiley Don't get me wrong, I think the divisions in Christianity are scandalous, I just doubt whether your idea in your post are Orthodox. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it's something to think about.
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2007, 09:46:02 PM »

One can say that I am an Orthodox Christian in that I believe Orthodox theology and praxis to be the most correct theology and praxis.

Really? Can a Russian say that they are an American because they they like American TV shows?
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2007, 09:46:50 PM »

Don't get me wrong, I think the divisions in Christianity are scandalous, I just doubt whether your idea in your post are Orthodox.


It's the deeper faith in Orthodox Christianity which allows the individual to recognize our common faith with non-Orthodox Christians. Oftentimes, it is the one who sees the complexities who better understands life rather than those who think in black and white terms. If the Orthodox Church really is THE Church rather than another denomination, why must I attach a denomination name to myself?

Even more so than the label "Orthodox Christian," I am uncomfortable with the label "Oriental Orthodox." The very words "Eastern" and "Oriental" are synonymous, and I see no meaningful difference between Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy, or even Orthodox Christianity and Eastern Catholicism for that matter.

Peace.
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2007, 10:10:23 PM »


I see no meaningful difference between Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy,

Agreed.


or even Orthodox Christianity and Eastern Catholicism for that matter.

Disagreed. The major reason for the schism was the Pope claiming superiority. One man is not infallible.
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2007, 10:16:56 PM »

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If the Orthodox Church really is THE Church rather than another denomination, why must I attach a denomination name to myself

I don't quite understand how this works. Why not take this to it's logical end? If Christ is the way, why must you call yourself a Christian? If free thinking is the right approach, why bother calling yourself  a free thinker? Just be, man!
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2007, 10:18:47 PM »

Hmmm...I don't think I need to say this, but I will point out the obvious anyway. Nothing fruitful is going to come out of this thread. I suggest a boycott. This is not a personal attack on you Matthew, even though I am aware I have done that before; you're just re-hashing ridiculous ideas and arguments that you have already offered on numerous occasions, in different words. The title of this thread is in the form of a question (and one which I fail to make any sense out of, but that's besides the point), but for those of who have enough experience interacting with you, we all know you've answered your own question for yourself already, and that as that answer makes you feel comfortable (for whatever reason, God only knows) you will not be inclined to budge. So what is the point?
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2007, 10:19:09 PM »

Disagreed. The major reason for the schism was the Pope claiming superiority. One man is not infallible.

This Sunday, I visited a Byzantine Catholic church for the first time because my church wasn't having liturgy. I observed absolutely no difference between it and Orthodox Christianity other than its reference to the Pope rather than Orthodox hierarchs. Not even the filioque is included in their liturgy! One could build a case for papal supremacy from the church fathers and Scripture, though I'd reject it upon considering the historical abuses of the institution and its fruits. Though we do not share the same hierarchy, that does not mean that we don't share the same faith.

I don't quite understand how this works. Why not take this to it's logical end? If Christ is the way, why must you call yourself a Christian? If free thinking is the right approach, why bother calling yourself  a free thinker? Just be, man!

I think you're starting to get it. However, I'd reserve the label "Christian" for myself, merely to separate myself from those who reject Christ. Yet the first disciples of Yeshua did not originally refer to themselves as "Christian," but followers of the Way. And in my daily life, walking in the Way is what's ultimately most important to me.

I suggest a boycott.

I suggest you do that which you feel compelled to do. May God's love be with you.

Peace.
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2007, 11:06:10 PM »

Just be, man!
Wouldn't that be a label?
I submit that there is no such thing as thought without labeling.  From before the time we are born our brains begin catagorizing experiances.  Without labels, how do you catagorize these things?  You have to catagorize in order to recall.  You have to be able to recall in order put two ideas/experiences together and draw conclusions.  Without labels, how do you express your thoughts and beliefs?
In order to have no label, you would have to not be.
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2007, 11:11:15 PM »

Isn't the label "Homo sapian" enough?
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2007, 11:41:01 PM »

Isn't the label "Homo sapian" enough?

No....because it's homo sapiens, not "homo sapian."
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2007, 11:43:14 PM »

Yet the first disciples of Yeshua did not originally refer to themselves as "Christian," but followers of the Way.

So why not call yourself a Taoist?
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2007, 11:45:04 PM »

So why not call yourself a Taoist?

Because that fad's another three months away on his checklist. Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2007, 11:59:57 PM »

FYI - The term "free thinker" refers to people who are atheistic and non-religious; some of these people call themselves by that term.

Existentially, one need not "receive" any label he doesn't wish to be known by; but if you walk out of an Orthodox Church regularly, people will probably call you Orthodox.

Basically this is a nonsensical thread!

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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2007, 12:25:45 AM »

Because that fad's another three months away on his checklist. Cheesy

The whole point of being a freethinker is to avoid fads. The name of my column for the past year had been Fostering Free Thought, a name I coined for my brand of journalism.

free·think·er     
a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, esp. a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief.

Being a freethinker also applies to how I form political views.
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2007, 12:30:49 AM »

The whole point of being a freethinker is to avoid fads. The name of my column for the past year had been Fostering Free Thought, a name I coined for my brand of journalism.

Why define yourself in the absence of something else?  I mean, I know Orthodoxy is dripping with apophaticism, but this is too far...

Honestly, you're gonna be serious or un-serious about Orthodoxy whether you've got the label "Orthodox" or "Martian."  However, since the Christian Way is one marked by our relationships with others in various spheres (World, Worshipping Community, Family, God - Going from further out to closer in) labels and human conventions are important in order to relate with these others.  Thanks to the myriad of people claiming to be followers of Christ (and who do a good job of duping others into believing so), the label Orthodox is helpful, and is helpful for the community of believers that identifies itself as such to remain focused on its historical roots and future goals.  Call yourself whatever you want to on your own, but when it comes time to grow towards Christ with your fellow Christian who is a member of your worshipping community, then the use of the term Orthodox will bear much fruit.  And, if you are walking in the Way as well as you've stated to us, then your use of the world will not foster division, but rather understanding, growth, and love.
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2007, 12:47:23 AM »

Well, you can't be a "free thinker" and be Orthodox, because by being Orthodox you are under the authority of the Church and her bishops. There are boundaries Matthew. Why don't you accept that and quit trying to get a rise our of everyone.
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2007, 12:56:14 AM »

Well, you can't be a "free thinker" and be Orthodox, because by being Orthodox you are under the authority of the Church and her bishops. There are boundaries Matthew. Why don't you accept that and quit trying to get a rise our of everyone.

Amen.  Isn't there a certain degree to which we're called to give up our freedoms in order to become truly free?
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2007, 01:21:53 AM »

Landon77

Quote
Wouldn't that be a label? I submit that there is no such thing as thought without labeling.  From before the time we are born our brains begin catagorizing experiances.  Without labels, how do you catagorize these things?  You have to catagorize in order to recall.  You have to be able to recall in order put two ideas/experiences together and draw conclusions.  Without labels, how do you express your thoughts and beliefs? In order to have no label, you would have to not be.

That's probably the best paragraph I've ever read on the use of labels. Very well put, I stand corrected. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2007, 03:17:04 AM »

Well, you can't be a "free thinker" and be Orthodox, because by being Orthodox you are under the authority of the Church and her bishops.

Being a freethinker does not necessarily mean that I disagree with my hierarchs, but that I seek evidence and rational arguments in believing the Church's teachings. This seems like a proper course of action if we are to love God with all our minds. In high school, I decided to not believe in anything that I did not find tangible. Besides my commitment to the Gospel, being a freethinker is the only idea which has stuck with me since that time. That might sound scandalous, and I'm sorry if it does, but even more scandalous are the divisions that belief in Christ has caused, divisions that, as a Christian, I'd hope to avoid.

Amen.  Isn't there a certain degree to which we're called to give up our freedoms in order to become truly free?

Are we to submit ourselves to God or a human institution? The Ecclesia is supposed to be the body of believers, not the object of belief. My signature about two years ago was "Jesus is not a religion" and I still stand by that statement.

Peace.
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2007, 03:48:00 AM »

The Church IS an object of belief: "I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church."  The Church is not a mere human organization but a Divine-Human Organism.

http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b12.en.the_mind_of_the_orthodox_church.00.htm

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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2007, 03:53:58 AM »

The Church IS an object of belief: "I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." 

I believe in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church only so far as its teaching conforms with Christ's. Her authority is not self-evident. The Church is our means to the Truth, but not Truth itself. The Church makes many mistakes, some painfully embarassing, and God does not. If the Church were the fourth person of the Godhead, God would be rather foolish to let the Great Schism and many other crazy things happen.

Peace. 
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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2007, 04:19:26 AM »

No Matthew, what you SHOULD do is get off this forum like you said you would and go to church!  Stop worrying about having to validate yourself online for us.  And that doesn't mean you need to tell us that either - just do it!
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2007, 04:24:15 AM »

No Matthew, what you SHOULD do is get off this forum like you said you would and go to church! 

That is a good idea. In fact, the best response in this thread so far.

Peace.
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2007, 04:26:19 AM »

No Matthew, what you SHOULD do is get off this forum like you said you would and go to church!  Stop worrying about having to validate yourself online for us.  And that doesn't mean you need to tell us that either - just do it!

Good advice, but this is not the first time good advice has been offered to Matthew, and it is certainly not the first time good advice will be ignored by him.

When this thread reaches its 10th pages, I hope those new to the "Matthew experience" will realise that I was not being a jerk when I said what I said.
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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2007, 04:52:05 AM »

This Sunday, I visited a Byzantine Catholic church for the first time because my church wasn't having liturgy.

Was it St. Georges? My grandma made me confess and commune there when I was 16 for my uncle's funeral and I hadn't confessed since like 11 or 12 or whatever, and the priest gave me 90 rosaries for penance! 90! I mean c'mon who does that! I'm still upset about it.......
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« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2007, 11:01:53 AM »

As a freethinker, it's difficult for me to attach labels to myself, though I am aware that "freethinker" itself can be considered a label. The more serious I am about loving Yeshua and following His teachings, the less comfortable I am with creating barriers between myself and fellow Christians.

Names and labels are not necessarily barriers; it isn't what they are, but what you do with them that counts. "Freethinker" is a dangerous self-label not in its own right, but because its implied opposition to intellectual slavery tends one towards the argumentative and the gratuitously deviant.

And again, we're back to the problem that is also implicit in this self-label: that you want part of what "orthodoxy" implies: knowing what must be accepted and accepting it. But you absolutely refuse the other part that it implies: that you have to take instruction in what must be accepted.
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« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2007, 11:55:49 AM »

I believe in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church only so far as its teaching conforms with Christ's. Her authority is not self-evident. The Church is our means to the Truth, but not Truth itself. The Church makes many mistakes, some painfully embarassing, and God does not. If the Church were the fourth person of the Godhead, God would be rather foolish to let the Great Schism and many other crazy things happen.

Peace. 

So in other words, you elevate your ability to reason over the Church's. The Church's teachings cannot contradict Christ's and the Church has never made a mistake.

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« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2007, 12:49:44 PM »

So in other words, you elevate your ability to reason over the Church's.

No, I am saying that the Church should conform to the standards of logic, though I am not the best example of a logician.

The Church's teachings cannot contradict Christ's

In that, we are in agreement.

the Church has never made a mistake.

If that were true, The Council of Chalcedon and the Great Schism would never have happened. It's evident in history that the Church makes mistake after mistake after mistake. One cannot deny the human element and its flaws.
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« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2007, 12:53:42 PM »

Was it St. Georges? My grandma made me confess and commune there when I was 16 for my uncle's funeral and I hadn't confessed since like 11 or 12 or whatever, and the priest gave me 90 rosaries for penance! 90! I mean c'mon who does that! I'm still upset about it.......

Wow, how about that. I've often been told to say an Our Father and a Hail Mary before the Blessed Sacrament and be done with it. And I'm no saint, either. When I feel like I've gotten off easy, I try to add a few things of my own---not self-flagellation, mind you, but stuff that hurts in other ways Wink
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« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2007, 01:32:46 PM »

I believe in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church only so far as its teaching conforms with Christ's. Her authority is not self-evident. The Church is our means to the Truth, but not Truth itself. The Church makes many mistakes, some painfully embarassing, and God does not. If the Church were the fourth person of the Godhead, God would be rather foolish to let the Great Schism and many other crazy things happen. 

The Church is the Bride of Christ, His Body and the Body of all believers.  There is a mystical element to the Church, a connection with Christ, manifested through the operation of the Spirit and the presence of the Divine Eucharist.  By its definition, the Church is Christ-made, not man-made; anytime problems have occured in the Church it has been because of bad people within it, not its nature.  Get a clue about what your own group, the other OO's, and the EO's believe about the faith and the Church.  If your personal beliefs are not in line with them, then you're not being genuine to yourself when you partake of Communion in a Church that believes in this Ecclesiology.
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« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2007, 04:00:51 AM »

From the text of Scripture, I have found that the label "Christian" is beneficial in following Christ:

1 Peter 4:16 If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God through that very name.

In turn, the label "Orthodox" is useful in separating that which is truly Christian from that which is heretical. However, in the company of non-Orthodox Christians, whose sincerity in faith I do not doubt, "Orthodox" may not be a distinction I choose to emphasize.

If your personal beliefs are not in line with them, then you're not being genuine to yourself when you partake of Communion in a Church that believes in this Ecclesiology.

I have not necessarily claimed that my personal beliefs are not in line with them, but that I seek evidence and rational arguments in confirming those beliefs. I believe that it is healthy to do so, but please correct me if I am wrong, which I often am.

Peace.
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« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2007, 06:51:43 AM »

In turn, the label "Orthodox" is useful in separating that which is truly Christian from that which is heretical. However, in the company of non-Orthodox Christians, whose sincerity in faith I do not doubt, "Orthodox" may not be a distinction I choose to emphasize.   

I suppose this can be beneficial, insofar as it allows them to see you as compassionate and not divisive.  But when it comes to matters where one's faith and convictions of their community come into play, then the identification of oneself as Orthodox may not only be necessary but also beneficial, not only to self but to those who are not part of the community, exposing them to the Light of the world which cannot be hidden.

I have not necessarily claimed that my personal beliefs are not in line with them, but that I seek evidence and rational arguments in confirming those beliefs. I believe that it is healthy to do so, but please correct me if I am wrong, which I often am. 

It is okay to seek such evidence.  Just be careful - if the evidence takes much time to arrive, do not be discouraged by its absence, but rather strengthen your prayers to the Lord seeking patience and prudence.  Remember, "blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe" is not just regarding Jesus' resurrected body!
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« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2007, 07:48:26 PM »

But when it comes to matters where one's faith and convictions of their community come into play, then the identification of oneself as Orthodox may not only be necessary but also beneficial, not only to self but to those who are not part of the community, exposing them to the Light of the world which cannot be hidden.

Don't Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians already have the Light within them?

Remember, "blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe" is not just regarding Jesus' resurrected body!

This passage is immediately followed by "Even these are written, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and when you believe you shall have life everlasting in his name." (John 20:21)

Peace.
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« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2007, 08:30:19 PM »

Quote
Don't Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians already have the Light within them?
That's Quakerism, not Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2007, 08:33:45 PM »

That's Quakerism

No, that's Scripture:

John 1:9
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

I'd recommend that you read it.
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« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2007, 09:01:01 PM »

Then atheists and satan worshippers also have that same light within them. So, within the context of this conversation ("exposing them to the Light of the world which cannot be hidden"), you should not missionize anyone, since everyone has this light within them already. Apparently the early Christians were bad, bad people, for insisting on converting people to Christianity.
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« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2007, 09:08:25 PM »

People will have the Light if they believe in Christ and His teachings. Belonging to a particular church is not required to receive Christ.
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« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2007, 09:11:27 PM »

Don't Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians already have the Light within them?

No.  That's why they are received into the Church instead of being considered as part of it already.

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« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2007, 09:11:55 PM »

No, that's Scripture:

John 1:9
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

I'd recommend that you read it.


Well thank you, next time I desire to understand my Church's teaching I shall no longer consult my Church's historical teachings, but an inexperienced and judgmental young man from Everclear University.
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« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2007, 09:12:18 PM »

Quote
People will have the Light if they believe in Christ and His teachings

Then why, in an attempt to defend your unorthodox ecumenism, did you quote a verse that said: "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (emphasis mine)?  Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2007, 09:12:49 PM »

People will have the Light if they believe in Christ and His teachings. Belonging to a particular church is not required to receive Christ.

Yes, it is.  You must belong to the One Church of Christ.  You can't belong to a body that calls itself a Church but which has refused communion with the Church of Christ for 1000 years and think that you are following the will of Christ.

Innocent Roman Catholics can and do become holy and in my opinion can be saved.  But to say this means they are the same as Orthodox is dishonest.

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« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2007, 11:22:11 PM »

Well thank you, next time I desire to understand my Church's teaching I shall no longer consult my Church's historical teachings, but an inexperienced and judgmental young man from Everclear University.

I didn't mean to be judgmental, but to invite you to read the Scriptures. If Protestants and Catholics are excluded from salvation in Christ, then please never call me a Christian. To claim that there is no salvation outside Orthodox Christianity is to place the Orthodox Church as a higher authority than God's. My Oriental Orthodox church is rather ecumenical toward Protestants and Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2007, 11:46:14 PM »

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd." John 10:16
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« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2007, 12:03:06 AM »

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd." John 10:16

Exactly my point.  There are other people who follow Christ in some way who he wants to bring into his fold, and if they hear his voice, they will be given the fullness of grace.  The Church owes it to the many other Christians and non Christians who are sincere and loving to make the fullness of the faith available to them.  It is a scandal that members of the Church have dropped the ball in many places and times as far as evangelism is concerned.  Despite the fact that there are other followers of Christ (and I do not deny they may be much holier than I) this does not excuse the fact that Christ established one visible Church.
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