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Author Topic: Attendance at Protestant Services  (Read 3912 times) Average Rating: 0
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JSOrthodoxy
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« on: May 26, 2007, 08:18:49 PM »

We've been invited to my mother's baptist church next Sunday.  My brother-in-law is going to be baptized (actually, it is not a real baptism since he was baptized Roman Catholic).  We can attend in the morning and then still go to Divine Liturgy.

I understand that the ancient councils forbid prayer with heretics.  What are the views among Orthodox today regarding how those canons apply?  Forgive me if I'm bringing up something that has been discussed over and over.  I just want to focus on the question of whether the ancient canons should be understood in such a way that Orthodox should not ever attend a baptist worship service.  Any thoughts?

Joe
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007, 01:01:51 AM »

Of course ask your priest, but I believe most Orthodox Christians would say it's ok to attend baptisms, weddings funerals etc for family and friends in other churches. just don't receive communion there, should they have it that Sunday.
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lubeltri
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2007, 01:40:32 AM »

I'm a similar situation. Two friends of mine are getting "baptized" (they were baptized as infants) next month at a local Evangelical church. I have been invited, but I do not think I can go to this "baptism." I'm going to check with my priest just to make sure, though.
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2007, 01:43:43 AM »

I'm a similar situation. Two friends of mine are getting "baptized" (they were baptized as infants) next month at a local Evangelical church. I have been invited, but I do not think I can go to this "baptism." I'm going to check with my priest just to make sure, though.

Are you a member of a more conservative RC parish?
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lubeltri
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2007, 01:46:35 AM »

Yes, I am a member of a more traditional Catholic parish.

I'm expecting that I will not be able to attend. It might possibly be different if I were attending their wedding, because they were not brought up in the Catholic faith and thus did not actually leave the Church of their own accord. But a "believer's baptism" is something much more problematic, I think.

I hope they will understand. I know one of them is having this "baptism" so he can give his "testimony" to the church. It'll be his big public moment, since they do not do confirmations. I'd like to speak to them of the indelible and irrepeatable character of baptism, but I worry it might not go off well. Sigh. . . Undecided
« Last Edit: May 27, 2007, 01:53:14 AM by lubeltri » Logged
PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2007, 02:05:53 AM »

Yes, I am a member of a more traditional Catholic parish.

I'm expecting that I will not be able to attend. It might possibly be different if I were attending their wedding, because they were not brought up in the Catholic faith and thus did not actually leave the Church of their own accord. But a "believer's baptism" is something much more problematic, I think.

I hope they will understand. I know one of them is having this "baptism" so he can give his "testimony" to the church. It'll be his big public moment, since they do not do confirmations. I'd like to speak to them of the indelible and irrepeatable character of baptism, but I worry it might not go off well. Sigh. . . Undecided

Can't say that I've ever been in your predicament.  Once I joined the Orthodox Church, all of my closest friends have been Orthodox.  It's not that I refuse to befriend "heretics"; it's just that I am a rather secretive person who builds friendships very slowly and only with people I know well.  I just don't spend enough time outside of work with people from other churches to befriend those outside of my parish.
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JSOrthodoxy
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2007, 11:39:00 AM »

My problem as a convert is that I am the only Orthodox in my family.  My wife, who also converted, was raised Roman Catholic, but she was the only one in her family who practiced her Catholic Christianity.  So, on her side of the family, they are all nominal Catholics.  On my side, they are either baptists or non-religious.

Another thing that has been worrying me is that at some point, when my sister in law and brother in law (wife's brother) have kids, they will probably get them baptized in the Episcopal Church (My sister in law's Church).  But, they are both non-practicing Christians, in fact, they are agnostics, though my sister-in-law just got herself ordained in some kind of pagan Church.  What do we do if they ask us to be godparents?

Joe
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JSOrthodoxy
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 11:42:14 AM »

Yes, I am a member of a more traditional Catholic parish.

I'm expecting that I will not be able to attend. It might possibly be different if I were attending their wedding, because they were not brought up in the Catholic faith and thus did not actually leave the Church of their own accord. But a "believer's baptism" is something much more problematic, I think.

I hope they will understand. I know one of them is having this "baptism" so he can give his "testimony" to the church. It'll be his big public moment, since they do not do confirmations. I'd like to speak to them of the indelible and irrepeatable character of baptism, but I worry it might not go off well. Sigh. . . Undecided

I hear you.  And it probably would not go over well if you explained that the upcoming baptism was not a real baptism (even though it is not a real baptism).  That is how I feel in this case.  I would be going to watch a man repudiate his Catholic faith and engage in a faux baptism.  On the other hand, he was never a serious Catholic to begin with and apparently he is feeling some need to be closer to Christ.  His family has been a member of this baptist church for years, so he is just joining in with the family.  Being a practicing baptist Christian is certainly better than falling away from all Christianity, especially, if one was only Catholic in name to begin with.

Good news is that my brother is expressing an interest in Orthodoxy, so I am helping him by discussing things with him and giving him things to read.  He's been to our Church once and he and his wife intend to come back.

Joe
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2007, 04:59:48 PM »

My problem as a convert is that I am the only Orthodox in my family.  My wife, who also converted, was raised Roman Catholic, but she was the only one in her family who practiced her Catholic Christianity.  So, on her side of the family, they are all nominal Catholics.  On my side, they are either baptists or non-religious.

Another thing that has been worrying me is that at some point, when my sister in law and brother in law (wife's brother) have kids, they will probably get them baptized in the Episcopal Church (My sister in law's Church).  But, they are both non-practicing Christians, in fact, they are agnostics, though my sister-in-law just got herself ordained in some kind of pagan Church.  What do we do if they ask us to be godparents?

Joe

Your priest may allow you to merely attend the baptism, but I am quite certain that an Orthodox Christian is forbidden to act as a godparent for a heterodox baptism or as a sponsor (Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor) at a heterodox wedding.
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2007, 09:06:59 PM »

What do we do if they ask us to be godparents?

Joe

Well, you could say that you were honored to be asked and then say that if they want you to be a godparent that you will take your responsibilities seriously and impart to the child the tenets of the Holy Orthodox Faith.  But that might not go over so well and they may find it insulting. Or you could simply decline, nicely.  Unfortunately, people being people, I think that both of these options would create hurt feelings. Honestly, I don't know. Huh
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JSOrthodoxy
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2007, 10:51:41 AM »

Here's an update.  My wife's parents have asked us to go out of town with them to the beach for a week.  It turns out that they are going next weekend.  So, we won't be around for the questionable baptism  Smiley.

Also, my brother told me last night that he is leaving the baptist church and will start attending our Orthodox Church next week.  Smiley  My parents aren't thrilled.

We haven't been asked to be godparents yet, but I can anticipate it happening sometime in a few years when my in-laws have children.  Of course, it is possible that between now and then they might realize that we can't be sponsors or they might convert or at least get serious about their own faith.  So, I will pray.

Joe
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FrChris
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2007, 12:23:43 PM »



Also, my brother told me last night that he is leaving the baptist church and will start attending our Orthodox Church next week.  Smiley 


Great news! Many years to your brother---and yourself!
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2007, 08:35:47 PM »

Question:  Would an Orthodox or for that matter RC Christian be considered an "apostate" for undergoing such a baptism?
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2007, 04:50:36 AM »

JSOrthodoxy, ask your priest.

I have many Baptist friends however my priest forbid me from even attending outings with their Youth Group. (Although I am allowed to attend birthday parties and other such gatherings not connected with Baptists as such.)

However I am also aware that Abouna has not been so strict with everyone and I believe he had many good reasons to be this strict with me. I know somebody who was baptised before me who still frequently attends various Protestant congregations however their are many reasons why he would have permission to do so also.

Again, ask your priest however personally, I would not go and would feel it best to warn your brother-in-law about the peril he is putting himself in.
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