Author Topic: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world  (Read 16477 times)

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Offline Labosseuse

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Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« on: May 09, 2007, 11:28:32 AM »
My husband met with his dad yesterday to discuss Orthodoxy.  His dad and mom researched the faith years ago, but decided not to convert.  One of their main objections was the fact that Orthodoxy, to them, had no visible face in mission work throughout the world and was therefore not really fulfilling the Great Comission.  Apparently my father in law asked a bishop about this and he felt that the bishop sort of laughed him off. 

I just wanted to find out from members of the faith what the state of evangelism is in Orthodoxy.  Are there Orthodox missionaries?  Are there missions abroad?  I don't want to generalize.  I know things can change in 15 years.

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Offline FrChris

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 11:55:37 AM »
Here's a start for your question re: international missions:

http://ocmc.org/index.php

Domestically you'd need to search through each archdiocese to sort out which ones are missions and which ones aren't. I know in AL we have 3 Orthodox missions.

And I know that 15 years ago, when your in-laws were looking into missions in the Orthodox Church, AL alone had two missions (both are now parishes). It drives me nuts when people do inadequate research and then come to a completely inaccurate conclusion that affects their and other's lives.
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Offline Labosseuse

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 12:12:58 PM »
Thanks Fr. Chris!
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Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 01:18:48 PM »
What Orthodox in this country do is proselytism for the most part though, not evangelism.

Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2007, 01:22:48 PM »
What's the difference between proselytism and evangelism?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 01:23:06 PM by authiodionitist »
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Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2007, 01:29:14 PM »
Evangelism = trying to reach the unchurched and those who haven't heard the gospel.
Proselytism = cherry picking other Christians

We really do the latter, not the former in this country.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2007, 01:36:09 PM »
Labosseuse

Quote
I just wanted to find out from members of the faith what the state of evangelism is in Orthodoxy.

I would think that many Orthodox would say that the oppression of the Orthodox (e.g., by the Muslims and Soviets) has severely hurt Orthodox evangelism. For example, before the soviets took over, the Russians had been sending missionaries to the new world (especially Alaska), and even when the soviets took over, many Russian Orthodox exiled to non-Orthodox countries (e.g., in France) had a visible presence. Personally, I'm not sure how much of an explanation that is (what ever happened to "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the faith," as Tertullian put it?). Many of the stories that I've read about martyrs during the middle ages in Muslim countries were usually of the same style: guy becomes monk, guy wants to serve God zealously, guy decides to confront Mulsims and let them martyr him, guy confronts Muslims, guy gets killed, no one converts but he gets a nice blurb in a book on the lives of the saints. Now, I am obviously generalizing here, but of all the stories from that time period, those are the only ones that I can really remember.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 01:37:26 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2007, 01:40:07 PM »
Many of the stories that I've read about martyrs during the middle ages in Muslim countries were usually of the same style: guy becomes monk, guy wants to serve God zealously, guy decides to confront Mulsims and let them martyr him, guy confronts Muslims, guy gets killed, no one converts but he gets a nice blurb in a book on the lives of the saints. Now, I am obviously generalizing here, but of all the stories from that time period, those are the only ones that I can really remember.

Everyone knows those aren't martyrs.  They're posers.  The stories you may be thinking of sometimes make it seem very convenient that a Turk pulls a Greek monk out of the monastery to kill him.  But I'm not from the Old World - I don't know what it's like over there.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2007, 01:47:42 PM »
I was thinking of monks during the 15th-17th centuries, who supposedly were not under any direct threat, but decided to go out and preach the gospel, facing certain martyrdom. These seem to be exceptions, though, and didn't have much of an effect on society at large. I'm going purely on hagiographical material, however, which are IMO not intended to be actual historical/biographical records as we would think of them, but rather tools for inspiring Christians to remain faithful. But I think there is probably some truth to some of them, and not completely fictional.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 01:49:09 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Thomas

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2007, 01:54:09 PM »
I like this explaination From Orthodoxwiki

Evangelism or witnessing or bearing witness to Orthodox Christianity is the process of bringing Orthodox teachings to people who are outside of the Church, in hopes that they will accept these teachings and decide to become a part of the Church. In Greek, the word witness is μαρτυρια, martyria, from which English derives the word martyr. Martyrs gave their lives as a witness for the Gospel of Christ. In Othodox Christianity, then, witness is primarily a character of one's life more than a program of proselytism. Still, individual acts of evangelism can result from deliberate missionary work or evolve from a casual discussion about faith between an Orthodox Christian and a person (or people) outside the Orthodox Church.

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2007, 02:07:32 PM »
Quote
In Othodox Christianity, then, witness is primarily a character of one's life more than a program of proselytism.

But is this really evangelism? Taking into account the natural increase in population (ie. Orthodox affiliation due to birth into an Orthodox family), how much has the Orthodox Church increased it's membership in the last 500 years through evangelism (whether direct or indirect witnessing)? For comparison, how much have the Catholic and Anglican Churches grown during the same period? I don't have a clue what the numbers would be, but considering Anglican gains in Africa and other places, and Catholic gains in the New World, I don't think Orthodoxy would be anywhere close? I hope I'm not sending the wrong signal... I think Orthodoxy is the most authentic representative of early Christianity. But evangelism... I think you guys went off the path somewhere on that one.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 02:09:12 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2007, 02:19:28 PM »
What about Japan?  What about America?  What about China?  What about Africa?

Those are the places where Orthodoxy has blossomed in the modern period (since 1500).  Perhaps this criticism is directed at something else?
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Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2007, 02:24:16 PM »
Quote
But is this really evangelism?

It isn't, it's hoping people show up.  Evangelism is going in to areas where the people are not Christian and bringing the Gospel to them.  We don't do that.  The people in this country who do go outside, pretty much engage in proselytism, i.e. trying to convince other Christians to convert to Orthodoxy.

The growing areas for Christianity are in what's termed the "Global South"; which really means Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.  We have virtually no presence in those places.

In the United States, despite the highly publicized convert boomlet, the overall number of Orthodox Christians is now probably less than it was during the South and East European immigration era (1890-1920 roughly).

Offline Ebor

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2007, 02:44:18 PM »
What about Japan?  What about America?  What about China?  What about Africa?

Those are the places where Orthodoxy has blossomed in the modern period (since 1500).  Perhaps this criticism is directed at something else?


Ummm, I'm not sure how Japan and EO could be said to have "blossomed" since 1500, considering that Christianity (in the form of RC) was suppressed there for centuries and even now only a tiny percentage of the Japanese people belong to any kind of Christian Church.  EO only arrived via Hokkaido and a Russian presence after Japan was "opened" in the mid 1800's.

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2007, 02:45:44 PM »
As one of those converts, I believe that there is evangelism and  bringing of new people into Orthodox Christianity. Metropolitan Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya and Irinoupolis has written, “The mission of the Church is to free the world from the dominion of Satan and the slavery of death and of sin and all other bondages. This liberation is the real Gospel for mankind. Therefore the ministry of evangelization is a ministry of liberation. The Messiah was anointed "to preach deliverance to the captives ...... to set at liberty them that are bruised'(Lk.4:18) To the hard task of evangelization, the even harder task of evangelism is being added; more and more nominal believers need to be challenged afresh with the message of the Gospel.” So evangelization is also the spark that renews the faith of those who are nominally Christians.

There are many  reverts returning to the Orthodox Church after a hiatus where they became inactive  or even tried heterodox christian groups. They have found in recent orthodox movements the challenging of their faith afresh by the Orthodox witness. My parish which has about 50 families and averages 100 in attendance at Divine Liturgy members has begun to see additional growth through reverts returning to the faith, renewed by a new understanding or hunger for Orthodox Christianity.

Thomas
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 08:35:59 AM by Thomas »
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2007, 03:07:35 PM »
Quote
What about Japan?  What about America?  What about China?  What about Africa? Those are the places where Orthodoxy has blossomed in the modern period (since 1500).  Perhaps this criticism is directed at something else?

And the total Orthodox in Japan and China are... 150,000? And in America about 500,000 (please don't say 6 million, lol)? I think the Orthodox population in Japan today is roughly the same that it was when Orthodoxy's first missionary to Japan, Nicholas, died. As Welkodox pointed out, much of the American Orthodoxy was the product of immigration. The only two major booms in conversions that I can think of were the Alexis Toth/Eastern Catholic situation, and the Evangelical Orthodox situation. True, Orthodoxy does attract some independent converts, but visit many of the Orthodox Churches in the rust belt and, unfortunately, what you'll see are parishes with about 50 Liturgy attenders, most of them elderly (ie. not going to have any more children, and if they do have children they don't attend). I'm not familiar with the Orthodox presence in Africa, beside Egypt, though maybe the fact that I know about other missionary activity (Anglican, Wesleyan, etc.) there says something in itself. Maybe not. I don't know for sure.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 03:11:15 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2007, 03:13:45 PM »
Ummm, I'm not sure how Japan and EO could be said to have "blossomed" since 1500, considering that Christianity (in the form of RC) was suppressed there for centuries and even now only a tiny percentage of the Japanese people belong to any kind of Christian Church.  EO only arrived via Hokkaido and a Russian presence after Japan was "opened" in the mid 1800's.

I believe he was referring to the overall period after 1500.  Either way, Japan is not what I would call a major success.  The Orthodox Church of Japan probably has under 10,000 members.  A good comparison might be South Korea, since Protestantism arrived there in the 1880's, about the same time as Orthodoxy in Japan.  It's estimated now that out of a population of 49 million, 18% are Protestant (another 10% are Catholic).  There are probably more Protestants in Korea than several autocephalous Orthodox churches put together.  My wife's family are Korean Protestants btw.

I don't know why China was pointed to as a success, since my understanding is there are virtually no Orthodox Christians there.  Catholicism and Protestantism both do have a significant presence there. 

In Africa, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate has tried to mount missionary efforts, and it has a respectable quarter of a million adherents in all likelihood.  Again a comparison is in order.  The Anglican Church just in Nigeria probably has 15 million members.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2007, 03:17:58 PM »
Quote
The Orthodox Church of Japan probably has under 10,000 members. 

I see my numbers for Japan/China are way off! I believe that a lot of people fleeing Russia during the early 20th century went to China, though those were cradles and not converts through evangelism, and perhaps that population died off or went elsewhere?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 03:18:49 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2007, 03:47:41 PM »
The church in China was never large, but was home to a fairly sizable number of white Russians (politically, not Bielarussians) who went to China to escape the Bolshevik Revolution.  They mostly left after the second world war, and then the community was basically annihilated by the Cultural Revolution.  The situation in China was recently in the news - http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=8981&geo=4&size=A

While Patriarch Aleksei is certainly right in decrying the situation in China (which is deplorable for Orthodox Christians), I think he was rather unwise to play the Taiwan card.  He did a lot of damage to his cause.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 03:51:53 PM by welkodox »

Offline GiC

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2007, 03:58:08 PM »
I hope I'm not sending the wrong signal... I think Orthodoxy is the most authentic representative of early Christianity. But evangelism... I think you guys went off the path somewhere on that one.

I would argue that our approach to evangelism is one of the things that makes us one of the most authentic representations of Christianity.

Offline dantxny

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2007, 04:11:16 PM »
  Labosseuse,
I know ROCOR has missions in the Carribean and Africa for certain and has been trying to expand its mission work there.  Often, though, it is faced with lack of funds.
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Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2007, 04:18:11 PM »
I would argue that our approach to evangelism is one of the things that makes us one of the most authentic representations of Christianity.

Well, in the context of a Christianized society, it is certainly far preferable to the type of blatant proselytism you see among some Orthodox. Whether it's things like the distasteful propositioning of Anglicans in the guise of a conference or the blather (like "Becoming Orthodox") turned out by the convert literature industry.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2007, 04:30:01 PM »
Quote
I would argue that our approach to evangelism is one of the things that makes us one of the most authentic representations of Christianity.

Oh... well maybe you could read the book of Acts and get back to me? ;) The style of evangelism there doesn't seem to match the passive style that says to just be good and hope people see you being good, even though you should be humble and not make your good deeds too obvious.  I mean, come on, the Apostles tried to give evidences out the ying yang (prophecies, genealogies, eye witness accounts, theological arguments, etc.) and traveled all over the Roman world (and beyond), actively challenging people to think about Christianity. That's one reason I feel perfectly comfortable giving contrary opinions on a forum like this, rather than feeling like I'm just attacking you guys: authentic Christianity (despite what some anti-intellectuals have said) puts itself out there openly, and de facto invites examination and criticism. The problem here is that Orthodoxy really doesn't put itself out there, IMO. (on a personal--completely anecdotal--note, I had an Orthodox Church 1/2 of a mile from the houses that I spent most of my life in, in a town of 3,000 (ie. where everyone knows everyone), and I had never heard of Orthodoxy until I was actively seeking an alternative to low-church Protestantism and found out about Orthodoxy on the net.)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 04:34:07 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Ebor

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2007, 05:27:41 PM »
I believe he was referring to the overall period after 1500. 

Yes, and that was what I was addressing.  Christianity did not arrive in Japan until 1549 with Frances Xavier.  After some success (and it's an interesting bit of history) it was forbidden under pain of death by the Tokugawa Shogunate.  It was not until the Meiji Restoration that Christianity was permitted publicly.  There were "Hidden Christians" that survived in small groups and their history and what they passed down from generation to generation makes for some interesting reading as well.  But EO came later and while there is a presence it would not be, as you wrote a "major success".  For the record there is an Anglican Church of Japan  as well and an RC presence.

Quote

 A good comparison might be South Korea, since Protestantism arrived there in the 1880's, about the same time as Orthodoxy in Japan.  It's estimated now that out of a population of 49 million, 18% are Protestant (another 10% are Catholic).  There are probably more Protestants in Korea than several autocephalous Orthodox churches put together.  My wife's family are Korean Protestants btw.

I've been told that Presbyterians were particularly successful in Korea.  One thought is that after that country was taken over by Japan (brutally) for some Christianity was a way of being "Not like the conquerors".  Here is a site that I found with religious demographics from 12 years ago:

http://pewforum.org/world-affairs/countries/?CountryID=194   just for a data point.

Quote
  The Anglican Church just in Nigeria probably has 15 million members.

That's what the Nigerian Anglican official site says.  http://www.anglican-nig.org/introduction.htm

I've heard it said that if one "averaged" out all of the Anglicans, the representative would be a Nigerian woman in her 20's with several children.
 
Ebor
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2007, 06:14:21 PM »
Quote
I believe that a lot of people fleeing Russia during the early 20th century went to China, though those were cradles and not converts through evangelism, and perhaps that population died off or went elsewhere?

Most of these were staunch anti-communists, so they fled (or were forced out in some cases) of China as a result of the revolution.  Most of them ended up in either the US or Western Europe.  Even for those willing to be loyal to Mao's regime, there were purges and such as Sino-Soviet relations were never great.

Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2007, 06:22:33 PM »
Oh... well maybe you could read the book of Acts and get back to me? ;) The style of evangelism there doesn't seem to match the passive style that says to just be good and hope people see you being good, even though you should be humble and not make your good deeds too obvious.  I mean, come on, the Apostles tried to give evidences out the ying yang (prophecies, genealogies, eye witness accounts, theological arguments, etc.) and traveled all over the Roman world (and beyond), actively challenging people to think about Christianity. That's one reason I feel perfectly comfortable giving contrary opinions on a forum like this, rather than feeling like I'm just attacking you guys: authentic Christianity (despite what some anti-intellectuals have said) puts itself out there openly, and de facto invites examination and criticism. The problem here is that Orthodoxy really doesn't put itself out there, IMO. (on a personal--completely anecdotal--note, I had an Orthodox Church 1/2 of a mile from the houses that I spent most of my life in, in a town of 3,000 (ie. where everyone knows everyone), and I had never heard of Orthodoxy until I was actively seeking an alternative to low-church Protestantism and found out about Orthodoxy on the net.)

2 comments:
1) Christians have lived and been Christian legally since St Constantine's time.  So the Acts of the Apostle's time of evangelism as such is not the same in the Christian West.  Where Orthodoxy goes outside of the Christian West, we get a good response (if my understanding of my friends' missionary stories and the OCMC accounts are correct) from those who are not baptized.  So in the West, the Apostle's argument doesn't hold - it's legal here, which means we are preaching civil Christianity.  This is a different challenge than what the Apostles faced (in which no one was baptized... c'mon, some Christians back then also did not go straight to heaven, look at the couple that died from withholding their tithe! Acts 5:1-11).

2) I'm not familiar with your story, Asteriktos, but if you came to Orthodoxy via internet, you're always gonna be tempted to argue about these fine points.  The internet resources are intrinsically impersonal, and we are personal Christians.  God is a Person, and we struggle to imitate him by being personal.....
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Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2007, 06:24:59 PM »
I would like to point out that Orthodoxy is interested in depth, not breadth.
Success measured by numbers of converts does not necessarily mean that everyone is a diehard.  That's why we do evangelism in the way that we do.  But if you've met me and you're not Orthodox, I've probably invited you to Church if you seemed even slightly interested.
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Offline Eleos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2007, 06:46:31 PM »
Here's some info on relatively recent orthodox mission history:
Orthodoxy in China: http://www.orthodox.cn/
Orthodoxy in Africa: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/orthmiss.htm
Orthodoxy in Jamaica: http://www.jamaicans.com/culture/rasta/rasta_future.htm

I read a book on the mission in Aleutian Alaska, it was very fascinating view into how orthodox missions are different than what ive read in western history.  I'll link it if I remember its name.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2007, 06:52:06 PM »
Thank you for the links Eleos, I hope everyone looks at them, and gets some perspective on the very limited nature of missions at this point. Perhaps, dismayed by how poorly and slowly things are going, people will be energized to change things. I'd rather see the expansion of the EO, rather than an expansion of Muslims or Protestant fundamentalists.

Offline The young fogey

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2007, 07:16:28 PM »
There were "Hidden Christians" that survived in small groups and their history and what they passed down from generation to generation makes for some interesting reading as well.

Recently talked about that on another board, Googled and found out some of that fascinating history. When Japan was opened to the West some of these crypto-Catholics returned to the RC Church after French missionaries contacted them. But there are other groups that continue to this day: their ancestors were Catholic but these people have forgotten all Christian doctrine. Basically they believe just like other Japanese but retain some unique rituals including distorted Latin prayers (orashio = oratio) said phonetically (they don't know what they mean). 

But EO came later and while there is a presence it would not be, as you wrote a "major success".

Correct. It came with Fr Nicholas Kassatkin (later a bishop) and the Russian embassy after the opening to the West in the 1800s. A few Japanese converted. I used to be in contact with a Westerner who lived in Yokohama who said the Orthodox cathedral there - the Nikolai-do - had a congregation of foreigners and russophile Japanese. 

For the record there is an Anglican Church of Japan  as well and an RC presence.

Right - the Americans started the Anglican presence. Funny story: the church's Japanese name, Nippon Sei Ko Kai, Holy Catholic Church of Japan, is because the American name, Protestant Episcopal Church, came out in Japanese as the Church of the Kicking Bishops.

I've been told that Presbyterians were particularly successful in Korea.  One thought is that after that country was taken over by Japan (brutally) for some Christianity was a way of being "Not like the conquerors".  Here is a site that I found with religious demographics from 12 years ago:

http://pewforum.org/world-affairs/countries/?CountryID=194   just for a data point.

I understand that Korea has the second biggest percentage of Christians in its population (about 30 per cent) in Asia. (The RC-majority Philippines is No. 1.) And that Presbyterianism took there because of its resemblance to Confucianism (the underlying philosophy in Korean culture).

I've heard it said that if one "averaged" out all of the Anglicans, the representative would be a Nigerian woman in her 20's with several children.

I've heard that too.
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Offline Eleos

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2007, 07:44:53 PM »
Thank you for the links Eleos, I hope everyone looks at them, and gets some perspective on the very limited nature of missions at this point. Perhaps, dismayed by how poorly and slowly things are going, people will be energized to change things. I'd rather see the expansion of the EO, rather than an expansion of Muslims or Protestant fundamentalists.

Sure.  The most important missionary region for orthodoxy is the self.  To show the world God, become god.

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Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2007, 12:16:32 PM »
Sure.  The most important missionary region for orthodoxy is the self.  To show the world God, become god.


And while we're doing that, perhaps a mission trip to Seattle is in order?  I think we're very emblematic of the future religious landscape of urban America - largely apostate Protestants, non-practicing Catholics, apostate Orthodox (out of immigration troubles, I think), and a small contingency of (Orthodox) Christians.  Anyone interested?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 12:16:55 PM by authiodionitist »
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Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2007, 12:25:30 PM »
I noticed in both the Seattle and Portland areas that the number of Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians who were religiously active were overwhelmingly Protestant.  I don't have any numbers to back that up, but it was definitely my perception of the situation.

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2007, 12:29:39 PM »
Welkodox, that is true. I lived in Seattle in 1991-1998. At that time, the greater Seattle metropolitan area had about 30,000 first generation Ukrainian immigrants, and the vast majority of them were Pentecostals. However, there is a very strong, close-knit Ukrainian Orthodox community in Seattle, too (just not very big numerically). --George
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2007, 01:24:11 PM »
I would like to point out that Orthodoxy is interested in depth, not breadth.
Success measured by numbers of converts does not necessarily mean that everyone is a diehard.  That's why we do evangelism in the way that we do.  But if you've met me and you're not Orthodox, I've probably invited you to Church if you seemed even slightly interested.

Another way any parish can open the doors of their church to others is by inviting the neighbors for lunch or a barbacue after the service on Sunday. The theme could be a "thank you for being great neighbors" party. By hosting a lunch, the church will not only exhibit neighborliness and hospitality but it is also a gentle way of exposing the community to Orthodoxy. If a lunch guest is interested in seeing the inside of the church, one could easily give the person a tour. Maybe a neighbor has always wanted to visit but was too shy to cross the threshold. The luncheon provides an opportunity for someone who may have wanted to visit but was hesitant to make the first step.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 01:25:33 PM by Tamara »

Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2007, 01:46:33 PM »
I noticed in both the Seattle and Portland areas that the number of Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians who were religiously active were overwhelmingly Protestant.  I don't have any numbers to back that up, but it was definitely my perception of the situation.
Welkodox, that is true. I lived in Seattle in 1991-1998. At that time, the greater Seattle metropolitan area had about 30,000 first generation Ukrainian immigrants, and the vast majority of them were Pentecostals. However, there is a very strong, close-knit Ukrainian Orthodox community in Seattle, too (just not very big numerically). --George

What both of you say is true.  From public schools growing up, all my Slavic friends are Pentecostals except for one (so 1/30).
I went to the Romanian Pentecostal church a few times.  Romanian is beautiful.  Hearing it made me comfortable when I went to the Romanian Orthodox mission years later.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 01:47:34 PM by authiodionitist »
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Offline Thomas

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2007, 02:21:00 PM »
Pertaining to the main topic Orthodox Evangelism  throughout the world the new May 2007 WORD magazine may be found on www.antiochian.org it has several articles on Evangelism that may be of interest.

Thomas
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 02:21:32 PM by Thomas »
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Offline authio

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2007, 07:43:25 PM »
Antiochian evangelism's formula seems to be: celebrate Arab culture along with the (evangelical protestant) counterculture of Fr Gilquist going on at the same time, stress growth, etc.  It's the same confusing strategy the OCA has: celebrate Slavic/Balkan/Romanian culture alongside the (American) counterculture (although there's no one specifically to blame for that), etc.

I do appreciate the magazine's discussion of integrating newcomers quickly.  In my experience, this is one of the causes of apostasy, especially among young people: lack of inclusion in parish life.
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #38 on: May 11, 2007, 12:23:05 AM »
Antiochian evangelism's formula seems to be: celebrate Arab culture along with the (evangelical protestant) counterculture of Fr Gilquist going on at the same time, stress growth, etc.  It's the same confusing strategy the OCA has: celebrate Slavic/Balkan/Romanian culture alongside the (American) counterculture (although there's no one specifically to blame for that), etc.

I do appreciate the magazine's discussion of integrating newcomers quickly.  In my experience, this is one of the causes of apostasy, especially among young people: lack of inclusion in parish life.

The Antiochians have more than doubled in size over the last forty years. We had 65 parishes in 1966 and there are now close to 250 parishes and missions. Most of our growth comes from American converts (estimates are that nearly 1/2 of our members are non-Arabs) so I don't think our evangelism strategy is confusing otherwise we would not have been able to double in size. And most of our growth has happened in the last twenty years. The number of new Antiochian parishes in the decade between 1990 and 2000 rose by approximately 33% which would seem to suggest that our evangelism efforts are having an exponential effect.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 12:28:49 AM by Tamara »

Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #39 on: May 11, 2007, 08:11:13 AM »
Antiochian evangelism's formula seems to be: celebrate Arab culture along with the (evangelical protestant) counterculture of Fr Gilquist going on at the same time, stress growth, etc.  It's the same confusing strategy the OCA has: celebrate Slavic/Balkan/Romanian culture alongside the (American) counterculture (although there's no one specifically to blame for that), etc.

Two points:

At least where I am, the convert AOA parishes do not celebrate Arabic culture, far from it in fact.  I have myself heard people in the AOA (including clergy) ridicule other people and parishes in their own diocese.

Their growth is not through evangelism, it's through proselytism.  They are taking in other Christians.  It's the same thing we call sheep stealing when it happens in Orthodox countries.


Offline Thomas

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2007, 08:31:41 AM »
If as defined earlier, "Evangelism or witnessing or bearing witness to Orthodox Christianity is the process of bringing Orthodox teachings to people who are outside of the Church, in hopes that they will accept these teachings and decide to become a part of the Church. "  It does not matter whether one is a heterodox 'Christian" or pagan, it is the duty for every Orthodox Christian to seek to spread the Good News as found in the One True Faith, The Orthodox Church. As a former Mormon , later an Episcopalian, I wished that the Orthodox would have witnessed to me much earlier---it would have saved 20 years of painful searching for genuine Christianity and the Faith of the early Church. To believe otherwise is to accept the heretical "branch Theory" condemned by many of our theologians and  local councils in the last several hundred years.

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Offline Labosseuse

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #41 on: May 11, 2007, 11:47:51 AM »
What about the fact that Orthodox mission work doesn't have visibility in the Christian world?  For example, I know of no Orthodox equivalent to organizations like Intervarsity Fellowship (the folks that run Urbana) or Wycliffe. 
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Offline AMM

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #42 on: May 11, 2007, 12:02:58 PM »
Aside from a minority in North America, the Orthodox world tends to view the church in ethnic and politico/national terms, and therefore isn't interested in evangelizing other people.  They also complain when other groups try to gain adherents on their territory, yet some Orthodox groups are doing that very thing here.

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #43 on: May 11, 2007, 12:11:58 PM »
ISTM that this is a little bit of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario and should be evalutated more on HOW one is proselytizing/evangelizing/whatever as opposed to fitting exact definitions.  I don't see how it is 'sheep stealing' if one is sharing their faith in a friendly manner, being non-coercive and not deliberately targeting heterodox-Christians.  We usually tell people that if they are not seeking, then there is no reason for them to leave their confession.  Other Protestant groups are not this way in that they frequently are coercive, dishonest, etc.  I know I'm generalizing, but I think this 'sheep stealing' accusation is much more applicable to many Protestant groups (especially in Orthodox lands) than to the Orthodox (e.g. in America).  If a group of Episcopalians are interested in Orthodoxy and ASK local Orthodox to give a conference on Orthodoxy for them, then gimme a friggin break on this 'Sheep stealing' accusation.

Offline dantxny

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Re: Orthodox evangelism throughout the world
« Reply #44 on: May 11, 2007, 12:25:57 PM »
Quote
nario and should be evalutated more on HOW one is proselytizing/evangelizing/whatever as opposed to fitting exact definitions.  I don't see how it is 'sheep stealing' if one is sharing their faith in a friendly manner, being non-coercive and not deliberately targeting heterodox-Christians.  We usually tell people that if they are not seeking, then there is no reason for them to leave their confession.  Other Protestant groups are not this way in that they frequently are coercive, dishonest, etc.  I know I'm generalizing, but I think this 'sheep stealing' accusation is much more applicable to many Protestant groups (especially in Orthodox lands) than to the Orthodox (e.g. in America).  If a group of Episcopalians are interested in Orthodoxy and ASK local Orthodox to give a conference on Orthodoxy for them, then gimme a friggin break on this 'Sheep stealing' accusation.

I think this is a very good definition and a difference between the two.

If a co-worker comes up to me, asks about Orthodoxy, comes to a liturgy or two and converts in a few years this is hardly sheep stealing.  We object to the Protestant prostelysm methods for the reasons the Elisha mentioned.  I know one Calvanist group that goes to poorer parts of Moscow and the Ukraine and will give free food and supplies . . . .only after you confess their faith and come to their services weekly.  This is a far cry from Orthodox evangalism or supposed "prostelysm if you will"
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I think the French may be on to something here.