Author Topic: Apologetics- Pointless??  (Read 14288 times)

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Offline DennyB

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Apologetics- Pointless??
« on: October 29, 2007, 02:33:35 AM »
In my discussions with Protestants over the years,especially on forums,I have come to conclude that no amount of debate,or disscussion seems to be very convincing,especially with those who are firmly rooted in their position,I think I will take the advice of the Apostle Paul who said to "withdraw thyself from a brother who walks disorderly,and not according to the traditions he recieved from us".

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2007, 02:56:18 AM »
In my discussions with Protestants over the years,especially on forums,I have come to conclude that no amount of debate,or disscussion seems to be very convincing,especially with those who are firmly rooted in their position,I think I will take the advice of the Apostle Paul who said to "withdraw thyself from a brother who walks disorderly,and not according to the traditions he recieved from us".
But what if someone did NOT receive his traditions from us?  Are we to withdraw ourselves from such a brother as if he walks disorderly?
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Offline DennyB

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2007, 03:09:55 AM »
But what if someone did NOT receive his traditions from us?  Are we to withdraw ourselves from such a brother as if he walks disorderly?

Maybe I'm using a bad analogy,or I need to re-think my last statement.

Offline prodromas

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2007, 03:29:39 AM »
In my discussions with Protestants over the years,especially on forums,I have come to conclude that no amount of debate,or disscussion seems to be very convincing,especially with those who are firmly rooted in their position,I think I will take the advice of the Apostle Paul who said to "withdraw thyself from a brother who walks disorderly,and not according to the traditions he recieved from us".
Maybe I'm using a bad analogy,or I need to re-think my last statement.
It alright Denny I have had the same troubles. I think I know your position and the best biblical verse I can think of is don't throw the pearls to the swine! Only plant a seed then leave the best way I have found is that those that begin to question themselves will come to find out more but it is wasted stress if they literally wont budge!
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2007, 04:12:35 AM »
Some fell by the wayside...
Some fell on rock...
Some fell among the thorns...
But others fell on good ground...

Often, all you can do is sow the seed and pray that the Holy Spirit nurture it and bring it to germination in His good time.  To rush the process in your impatience will most likely kill any hope of the seed sprouting and cause you undue stress.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2007, 05:34:42 AM »
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15)
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Offline FrChris

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2007, 08:56:36 AM »
^^Great advice, PtA and Ozgeorge! (Prodromas...I think you have good advice in your statement, but the grammar needs improvement to make everything more clear. But we've talked about that before, haven't we?... ;) )

Truly, just as you can only love someone into our churches (not argue them into church), so too can you only love someone into that person changing his or her own mind. This is a work of the Spirit to lead people into all truth, but often it needs the example of one person loving another despite all obstacles.
"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

Offline Sophie

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2007, 10:00:20 AM »
In my discussions with Protestants over the years,especially on forums,I have come to conclude that no amount of debate,or disscussion seems to be very convincing,especially with those who are firmly rooted in their position,I think I will take the advice of the Apostle Paul who said to "withdraw thyself from a brother who walks disorderly,and not according to the traditions he recieved from us".

Truly, just as you can only love someone into our churches (not argue them into church), so too can you only love someone into that person changing his or her own mind. This is a work of the Spirit to lead people into all truth, but often it needs the example of one person loving another despite all obstacles.

I had to give up in a way on one of my Protestant friends because a)back then she was far more knowledgeable on Scriptures - and I believe she still is - than I, and far more devoted to worship so I guess she would not listen to someone -me- more secular and with obviously less knowledge of the Scriptures, b)I do not indulge in theological arguments although enjoy talking about our faith, so the few times I pointed out the importance and necessity of sacramental life for a Christian,  she simply brushed my words aside. I suggested she came with me to an Orthodox liturgy which she evaded and she once almost took me to an All Church mass - or something similar, only when we got outside, there was no way I could or would make myself go inside and opted instead for looking for the nearest Orthodox church. Both her parents came from Catholic-Orthodox backgrounds but they all consider themselves re-born Christians and attend Protestant Churches - Presbyterian or New Alliance.

An Orthodox uncle of hers once joined us after Sunday liturgy, and we all had a good chat about true Church but she happily chatted without any interest in Orthodoxy. Somehow I am not too worried about her because she does believe with a sincere heart as far as I can see. So, I concentrate on learning better ways from her and praying for her to believe and live according to God´s will. Maybe it was not the time back then for her to think about Orthodoxy. And in the same way I dislike having people trying to convince me of their beliefs, I never bring the subject up specifically although I tell her to pray for me as I always pray for her.

Sometimes I find, it is easier to talk about Orthodoxy to my Muslim friend-she is not that religious in her own faith, but she always asks me to pray for her and asks things in general- than to this other friend. Obviously, among people of the "same" faith, it is almost impossible to see that the other person´s way is the best.
"Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land!" (Priestmonk Christodoulos Aggeloglou, Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain Mount Athos, Greece, 1998,pp. 29-30, 48)

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2007, 10:27:35 AM »
In my discussions with Protestants over the years,especially on forums,I have come to conclude that no amount of debate,or disscussion seems to be very convincing,especially with those who are firmly rooted in their position,I think I will take the advice of the Apostle Paul who said to "withdraw thyself from a brother who walks disorderly,and not according to the traditions he recieved from us".
DennyB,
If you are describing experiences you have had at that other forum which we both frequent, my first reaction is to heed Fr Chris's advice, but also to just 'shake the dust from your sandals' and move on.
But then, I recently received a PM there from an evanglical who thanked me for my input and stated he would be exploring Orthodoxy in earnest. He had never posted in any thread of mine there, but lurked. Hence, you never know what impact you may be having. However, I cannot presume to teach myself, and so his comment made me uncomfortable, ironically.
Must have made the admins there uncomfortable as well...PM's were discontinued there (within hours of my private exchange).  ::)

Demetri
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Offline Nyssa The Hobbit

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2007, 08:13:26 PM »
I got interested in Orthodoxy because of online apologetics.  I never even considered it before.  But there are also many posters who will not budge in their positions, who don't care what the Church Fathers say, etc.  So it can be useful, but to a limited extent.
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Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2007, 12:02:23 AM »
Regarding apologetics
a. they never convert anyone - only the Holy Spirit does that
b. they are generally to bolster the faith of the faithful
c. they might be useful or of help to those "on the fence" or who have been prepared by God to receive the
    Faith
d. they are to show the antagonists against our beliefs that we are not mindless and stupid but that, given
    our premises, these ideas really do hold together; they probable won't even grant that much, however, so
    they certainly won't be converted (at least not by the arguments alone)
e. the older I get, the more limited value I see in apologetics
« Last Edit: October 30, 2007, 12:04:46 AM by BrotherAidan »

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2007, 12:25:38 AM »
Apologetics pretty much helped me convert from Protestantism to Catholicism, while scholarly writing brought be from Catholicism to Orthodoxy. I think apologetics can be cheap at times, but they are definitely of some value for explaining misconceptions.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2007, 12:40:10 AM »
Apologetics pretty much helped me convert from Protestantism to Catholicism, while scholarly writing brought be from Catholicism to Orthodoxy. I think apologetics can be cheap at times, but they are definitely of some value for explaining misconceptions.
Right on, brother A!  Apologetics has always been, and will continue to be, valuable for the above reasons.  IMHO, problems arise when we 'beat' others over the head with them to prove our point.  This, to me, seems like a problem with pride and a need to be 'right' and the very least affective way to evangelize.
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Offline _Seraphim_

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007, 12:28:02 AM »
Thank you Denny (and all who posted)...

This topic has been on my mind a lot in recent time.  I have encountered so many people (mostly Protestants) who I earnestly try to share Orthodoxy with... and they (usually) do one of two things:

1) politely nod and smile... then change the subject
or
2) play a game of "who has the most exact scriptural memorization (and interpretation  ;))"


In this crazy day and age... when morality and reverence for holiness is collapsing all around, I can understand why so many people just want to stick with what they know.

God bless all... and may the Lord continually preserve His One True Body.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 12:31:01 AM by _Seraphim_ »
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Offline pathofsolitude

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007, 07:20:58 AM »
It is fundamentally impossible for Protestants, who dont have the Holy Spirit, to see the light of divine glory. Only the Lord Jesus himself can reveal it to them by mystical illumination. Otherwise they will be perpetually lost. Of course this is not to say that they have no chance at the knowledge. They simply must fast and pray all day everyday and then the Lord will open the mysteries. But when was the last time you've seen a Protestant do that?? I guarantee you that if they do, they wont be Protestant for long, and then there will be no need to argue with them!
The great apostasy has occured. Get out of there while you can!!! Its better to be priestless than to have a heretic bishop. The apostles taught that the church consists of saints only. There are about 7,000 Spirit-bearers currently in the catacombs.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2007, 09:11:37 AM »
It is fundamentally impossible for Protestants, who dont have the Holy Spirit, to see the light of divine glory. Only the Lord Jesus himself can reveal it to them by mystical illumination.
I see. So it's "fundamentally impossible".... except when it's possible..... :-\
Isn't this true for everyone? "No one comes to the Father except by Me." You seem to think that some people are able to see the "light of divine glory" without Christ revealing it to them. If Christ has to reveal it to all of us, doesn't that put everyone in the same boat as the Protestants according to your logic?

They simply must fast and pray all day everyday and then the Lord will open the mysteries.
I know some bureaucrats who expect that too.

But when was the last time you've seen a Protestant do that??
Never, but then, I've never seen anyone do it, and I've stayed on the Holy Mountain twice for a month at a time. According to my Lord Jesus Christ, whoever is seen by people to be fasting and praying has already had their reward.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 09:19:46 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Keble

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2007, 12:19:35 PM »
OK, PoS, since you've in effect cast down the gauntlet at those not-present Protestants, this very present Protestant will pick it up.

If it's "fundamentally impossible for Protestants [...] to see the light of divine glory", then what are you going to do about it? All you are doing is skiving off your self-given obligation to engage us! You're engaging in cheap posturing, the equivalent of saying "we have Abraham for our father". God is going to make a lot of sons of Abraham out of those stone-cold Protestants.

You can try to interact with me as a potential convert, or even as a (misguided or not) worshipper of the same Triune God. But right now you are just bragging.

Offline prodromas

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2007, 08:05:10 PM »
PoS your posts are the exact kind of statements that put me off Orthodoxy and let me vouch for our fellow and EQUAL brother in Christ Keble that he is probably a pious person who you don't even know and even though I am Orthodox I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Keble has more divine glory that I will ever have! So please PoS if you choose to post I would love to see more love of Christ please It pains me deeply and im sorry if this comes off as judging but I am an imperfect person!
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

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(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again

Offline pathofsolitude

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2007, 08:57:35 PM »
OK, PoS, since you've in effect cast down the gauntlet at those not-present Protestants, this very present Protestant will pick it up.

If it's "fundamentally impossible for Protestants [...] to see the light of divine glory", then what are you going to do about it? All you are doing is skiving off your self-given obligation to engage us! You're engaging in cheap posturing, the equivalent of saying "we have Abraham for our father". God is going to make a lot of sons of Abraham out of those stone-cold Protestants.

You can try to interact with me as a potential convert, or even as a (misguided or not) worshipper of the same Triune God. But right now you are just bragging.


If I am not mistaken that is a picture of THOMAS CRANMER under your username. Do you know that he was the chief servant of the Antichrist King Henry VIII who had like six wives, killed some of them, was one of the most notorious gluttons in history, and claimed himself [a secularist bloodthristy monarch!] to be Head of the Church of England. If there was any truth in Cranmer, as Archbishop of Canterbury, ole Cranmer would have denouned Henry as an Antichrist. See this is exactly what I am talking about. Protestants do not have the light of divine glory. I sincerely pray that you will come to knowledge of the truth, denounce Antichrist Anglicanism, and enter on the Hesychast Way of my Lord Jesus.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 08:58:21 PM by pathofsolitude »
The great apostasy has occured. Get out of there while you can!!! Its better to be priestless than to have a heretic bishop. The apostles taught that the church consists of saints only. There are about 7,000 Spirit-bearers currently in the catacombs.

Offline prodromas

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2007, 09:04:57 PM »
PoS I don't think that I am a sinless being so I do not have the right to judge King Henry VIII or Thomas Cranmer! The fact of the matter is PoS that the if the Christian life was about judging other people and pointing out there short comings then I would already be a Saint  >:(!    The Christian life is about emulating Christ and I don't remember him going around putting people down but rather loving them!
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

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(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again

Offline pathofsolitude

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2007, 09:11:00 PM »
PoS I don't think that I am a sinless being so I do not have the right to judge King Henry VIII or Thomas Cranmer! The fact of the matter is PoS that the if the Christian life was about judging other people and pointing out there short comings then I would already be a Saint  >:(!    The Christian life is about emulating Christ and I don't remember him going around putting people down but rather loving them!

You're right. Jesus said that they are already condemned. I am merely witnessing to that fact. I dont think it takes much judgement to figure out that Antichrist Henry VIII had absolutely NOTHING to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not personally condemning his soul to hell. Actually the holy Apostles told us to test what spirit people are of. You are commanded to do this. And you must shun the antichrists.
The great apostasy has occured. Get out of there while you can!!! Its better to be priestless than to have a heretic bishop. The apostles taught that the church consists of saints only. There are about 7,000 Spirit-bearers currently in the catacombs.

Offline prodromas

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2007, 09:20:19 PM »
PoS please I ask you one thing to truly look in to yourself and see is this what Christ really wants or is this another form of control from the enemy?
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

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(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again

Offline Keble

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2007, 09:43:56 PM »
PoS, are you really so naive as to think that I did not know about Cramner and Henry?

And denigrating Bluff Hal doesn't advance your cause, because it is not he whom you need to confront. It is your own claims that need defense. At the moment what I see is that what you say is not the gospel; and the more you say that I cannot see the light of divine glory, the more you cannot reveal it to me. All you are going is bragging, again.

Offline lubeltri

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2007, 09:24:59 AM »
PoS: You cannot speak for God. His love and mercy is infininitely beyond your reckoning! The extent of his grace is unfathomable. Don't underestimate it. Love our Lord, receive his great love, and share it with your brothers and sisters, who are in the same boat as you.

Offline pathofsolitude

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2007, 12:10:33 PM »
PoS: You cannot speak for God. His love and mercy is infininitely beyond your reckoning! The extent of his grace is unfathomable. Don't underestimate it. Love our Lord, receive his great love, and share it with your brothers and sisters, who are in the same boat as you.

Lubeltri, I am sad to say that we are not "brothers", and we are not in the "same boat." I do not love Roman Catholics and Protestants as my Christian family. I only love you as God's creature. The reason that you are not my family is that you are a member of the ArchApostateDiocese of Boston, as you so proudly state under your username. That is the American capitol of gay sexual abusing priests. Do you know how many child molestations have occured there and how many have been covered up by your totally apostate "archbishop"? I once lived next to a priest from that ArchApostateDiocese. I know exactly whats going on up there. Do you think God is overflowing with juicy love for your clergy and your congregations that are hanging out in that apostasy? In the Old Testament we read how the Lord God destroyed Israelites for this same nonsense. If you really see the light of divine glory you would have left Babylon a long time ago. Anyways, thats a brief synopsis of why you and my Cranmerian aquaintance are not my brothers, and why I show you know brotherly love.



Mr/Mrs/Ms PathofSolitude,

I understand and respect your belief that Protestants and Catholics are not your brethren.  I even respect your refusal to refer to them as "brothers," although I strongly disagree with it.

However, your large anti-Catholic rant was un-necessary.  Your implication that other posters don't "see" the light places you firmly in the Judgment Seat that is not ours to occupy.  It would be better for us who are Orthodox and know about The Light to shine it to others, rather than belittling them for sitting in the dark.

Your views are perfectly acceptable to hold, but your method of communicating them is at times acceptable, and at times reprehensible.  Therefore you are being given this formal warning.

You don't have to change the way you think; but please learn how to communicate your thoughts in a more appropriate way for this discussion board.

- Cleveland, Global Moderator
« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 02:41:38 PM by cleveland »
The great apostasy has occured. Get out of there while you can!!! Its better to be priestless than to have a heretic bishop. The apostles taught that the church consists of saints only. There are about 7,000 Spirit-bearers currently in the catacombs.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2007, 02:49:19 PM »
Now that the thread is unlocked, let's keep it on the real topic at hand.  If people feel like debating about whether or not they see the light, or they are Christian brethren, then do it either via PM, or make a new thread. - Cleveland, Global Moderator
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Offline Keble

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2007, 08:51:43 PM »
In a sense, the pointlessness of apologetics does arise out of something akin to what PoS is saying. To engage in apologetics is, to some degree, to concede the power of argument, because apology tries to use those powers. It therefore empowers the listener to use those powers in return, even if that use be confined to the inside of his head.

The recourse to the "mystical illumination" defense is tantamount to the admission that one's position is indefensible. This is not the same thing as it being wrong, but when one lines up a gallery of those who claim such illumination, one sees that they do not all teach the same doctrines. How can one tell which to follow?

Well, one one level the answer is clearly that one cannot tell, because such discernment is done without benefit of illumination and is therefore invalidated. But furthermore, one should not follow their teachings, because teaching itself activates argument. If the only acceptable source is this illumination, then it is the ONLY acceptable source-- not teaching.

And that's a fatal problem. You cannot teach us what your master has taught you without violating the very principles you demand us to accept.

Offline EofK

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2007, 09:36:56 AM »
The only Christian apologist I still appreciate is C.S. Lewis, and that because he was a master of logic.  So many times Christian apologetics get bogged down with hypothetical nonsense ("Could God make a rock so big he couldn't lift it?") and that causes you to lose sight of the question that matters.  Lewis could take a conundrum and blow it away with, "Quit asking stupid questions."  Brilliant.

Speaking of friends who are not receptive to Orthodoxy, I have a friend who I think could be interested except that she's a stubborn as a Missouri mule when she feels like she's being pressured.  She has asked me several questions about Orthodoxy and I try to explain as best I can, but I'm pretty new to it (I've been Orthodox for a year and been in the church for nearly two) so I tend to defer the meatier questions to Mr. Y.  My friend has some kind of mental block against Mr. Y., though, so that any time he starts talking about the church she feels threatened or belittled.  It's not really anything he's said, I just think she automatically writes off any authoritative thing he says as arrogance and shuts down after that.  The only thing I can see that would help my friend is to be gentle with her.  I know she's interested, but she's firmly rooted in her own church and very active there and she doesn't want to be argued into church. (As others have previously mentioned and I agree totally... this never works!)

Just out of curiosity, who are some Orthodox apologists?
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline FrChris

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2007, 06:01:15 PM »

Just out of curiosity, who are some Orthodox apologists?

St. Paul is a great one, as is St. John the Evangelist... ;)
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2007, 06:14:51 PM »
St. Paul is a great one, as is St. John the Evangelist... ;)
Except that, when one quotes them, one gets accused of being "sola scriptura"!  :D
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2007, 06:26:22 PM »
Except that, when one quotes them, one gets accused of being "sola scriptura"!  :D
LOL! :D
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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2007, 07:17:46 PM »
DennyB,
If you are describing experiences you have had at that other forum which we both frequent, my first reaction is to heed Fr Chris's advice, but also to just 'shake the dust from your sandals' and move on.
But then, I recently received a PM there from an evanglical who thanked me for my input and stated he would be exploring Orthodoxy in earnest. He had never posted in any thread of mine there, but lurked. Hence, you never know what impact you may be having. However, I cannot presume to teach myself, and so his comment made me uncomfortable, ironically.
Must have made the admins there uncomfortable as well...PM's were discontinued there (within hours of my private exchange).  ::)

Demetri

Thanks for the advice, I can always use it!!

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2007, 10:03:26 PM »
St. Paul is a great one, as is St. John the Evangelist... ;)

Hm, yeah, those guys sound familiar.   :D
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2007, 12:26:57 AM »
Just out of curiosity, who are some Orthodox apologists?

Well, Elder Cleopa's "The Truth of Our Faith" is largely apologetical, written as a dialogue with a Protestant interlocutor.

Other than that, Regina Press publishes a LOT of apologetical books by various authors.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2007, 12:35:45 AM »
Well, Elder Cleopa's "The Truth of Our Faith" is largely apologetical, written as a dialogue with a Protestant interlocutor.

Other than that, Regina Press publishes a LOT of apologetical books by various authors.
This is a fantastic book that requires a highlighter, a pen and a lot of attention.  One of the first books my priest loaned to me as an inquirer.
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Re: Apologetics- Pointless??
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2007, 03:19:07 AM »


Just out of curiosity, who are some Orthodox apologists?
I don't mean to start a debate (because this author and all things Antiochian seems to do so on these boards), but I became Orthodox through her writings, so I will advocate Frederica Mathewes-Greene as an Orthodox apologist.