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Author Topic: Why do protestants reject Orthodoxy?  (Read 38967 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: April 04, 2008, 07:00:56 PM »

I wouldn't really call it "cultural relevance," but I guess engagement with the world. Evangelization---both through preaching/teaching and works of charity--- is a huge part of this. I think there is a perception that Eastern Orthodoxy is an esoteric, insular, ethnic relic. Less dynamic, less consequential, less universal/catholic, not showing up for the great battles that need to be fought. There's this sense that you need to be peculiarly Eastern to be EO, and also focused on glories long past. It seems like the kind of church people ignore---almost a dusty, exotic cultural artifact. The Catholics seem to get the attention (and the attacks: Works like The DaVinci Code are squarely aimed at one target. Joseph Stalin: "The Pope? How many divisions has he got?" A contemporary example: the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association).

Like I said, I'm not stating my own views here, but a perception I've commonly seen.

There's truth to this too, Lubeltri. I think we need to face up to the reality at times as a Church-I for one am not opposed to constructive criticism!
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« Reply #181 on: April 04, 2008, 07:14:49 PM »

There's truth to this too, Lubeltri. I think we need to face up to the reality at times as a Church-I for one am not opposed to constructive criticism!

I'm not trying to criticize EO---I love you guys.  Smiley But I've seen this perception.
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« Reply #182 on: April 17, 2008, 12:31:29 PM »

Ebor where have you been? We have all missed your digital presence (especially me)!!

I'm sorry.  It was "Life, the Universe and Everything" (children, illness in the family, Lent, my classwork and all that) It's nice to know that I"m missed. (at least if someone is throwing things  Grin Wink )

I'll read the rest of this topic and try to get back up to speed. 

Ebor
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« Reply #183 on: April 17, 2008, 12:33:15 PM »

Ah, yes. What better way to make an entrance than with Douglas Adams?

It's good to see you again.
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« Reply #184 on: April 17, 2008, 12:35:15 PM »

Ah, yes. What better way to make an entrance than with Douglas Adams?

It's good to see you again.

Thanks ...... Don't Panic

 Cheesy

Ebor
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« Reply #185 on: May 05, 2008, 11:29:52 AM »

Howdy!

IMO: It is not a matter of protestants rejecting Orthodoxy as much as it is a matter of protestants having never been exposed to Orthodoxy.

Rejection first requires at least a slight acquaintance with the faith.
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« Reply #186 on: May 05, 2008, 12:02:52 PM »

This is very true, howdydave.  How can one "reject" what one has no knowledge of?

Ebor
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« Reply #187 on: May 05, 2008, 12:19:56 PM »

The sad thing is that many of my evangelical friends are not stupid; they read and keep up with the news;they know of the low rates of church attendance and dedication in Orthodox countries-and in short, they are unimpressed by the lack of committed christians who are living a life of discipleship. I think if they would see a country full of sober, godly Orthodox christians, they would be less likely to reject Orthodoxy ("by their fruits ye shall know them"). Instead they see rampant alcoholism, decadence,and blatant ungodliness. To them the Orthodox Church is a dead nominal church-what is attractive about that?
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« Reply #188 on: May 05, 2008, 12:32:57 PM »

The sad thing is that many of my evangelical friends are not stupid; they read and keep up with the news;they know of the low rates of church attendance and dedication in Orthodox countries-and in short, they are unimpressed by the lack of committed christians who are living a life of discipleship. I think if they would see a country full of sober, godly Orthodox christians, they would be less likely to reject Orthodoxy ("by their fruits ye shall know them"). Instead they see rampant alcoholism, decadence,and blatant ungodliness. To them the Orthodox Church is a dead nominal church-what is attractive about that?

I find it difficult to fathom that someone can objectively look at the Orthodox Church in the former Eastern Bloc and Arab/Islamic countries and see "decadence and blatant ungodliness" while at the same time turning a blind eye to the very same thing they decry within their own ranks.  Considering the churches in these countries suffered, and still suffer in the case of the Copts, for example, real persecution, as opposed to imagined persecution in the likes of the supposed "War on Christmas", I think the fact that the Church still exists is a testament to these supposed nominal Christian's faith. 

Pardon my cynicism, but they're not looking very close if they think their evangelical brethren are all sober and godly Christians.  They probably think that the clergy abuse scandal is only a Roman Catholic problem.
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« Reply #189 on: May 05, 2008, 12:43:09 PM »

In the case of the churches with whom I am acquainted, adult baptism is the norm, so they are used to church membership being a deeply committed thing. There are old-fashioned baptist churches in the former eastern-bloc countries who emphasis adult membership and holy living as well. It's hard for such people to comprehend churches with huge nominal populations, and infant baptism is seen as part of the problem.

I'm just trying to point out some possible misunderstandings and reasons for rejection from a group with which I am very familiar because it's where I spent most of my life.
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« Reply #190 on: May 05, 2008, 01:03:53 PM »

Rosehip,

I understand what you were doing.  I was merely commenting on my own incredulity at the brash dismissal of Orthodoxy that you mentioned in the prior post.  In no way did I mean to direct any of my words at you. Smiley
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« Reply #191 on: May 05, 2008, 01:23:54 PM »

To take from Peter Kreeft (who says this with regard to Catholics), more Protestants will become Orthodox when more Orthodox become better Protestants (i.e. abandoning nominalism, growing in holiness, having a closer relationship with Christ, and showing the fruits of this relationship in their lives and in the Church).
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« Reply #192 on: May 05, 2008, 01:38:49 PM »

Shultz, I understand you weren't  aiming at me... Smiley

To take from Peter Kreeft (who says this with regard to Catholics), more Protestants will become Orthodox when more Orthodox become better Protestants (i.e. abandoning nominalism, growing in holiness, having a closer relationship with Christ, and showing the fruits of this relationship in their lives and in the Church).

Oh! This is actually SO TRUE! But, are those things mentioned in parenthesis, lubeltri, truly exclusive to Protestantism? Are they so very wrong? Isn't this more like it was in the Early Church? I'm just afraid both the RCs and the Orthodox would  have a much better witness if we emphasized these things.

The other day, for intance, I was chatting with a man who told me he was RC, but he hastened to say "but I am spiritual!" I jokingly said, "So are you implying RCs aren't spiritual?" and he replied, "Everyone knows most aren't. It's a nominal religion for the most part." He stated it so honestly, so openly, but it hurt me. Why must it be so (including Orthodoxy)?
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« Reply #193 on: May 05, 2008, 01:48:21 PM »

Shultz, I understand you weren't  aiming at me... Smiley

Oh! This is actually SO TRUE! But, are those things mentioned in parenthesis, lubeltri, truly exclusive to Protestantism? Are they so very wrong? Isn't this more like it was in the Early Church? I'm just afraid both the RCs and the Orthodox would  have a much better witness if we emphasized these things.

That's exactly what Peter Kreeft said! He said when Catholics "become better Protestants," they become better Catholics. The same goes for Orthodox. It's actually a great lecture, well worth listening to. http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/03_ecumenism.htm
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« Reply #194 on: May 05, 2008, 07:54:33 PM »

That's exactly what Peter Kreeft said! He said when Catholics "become better Protestants," they become better Catholics. The same goes for Orthodox. It's actually a great lecture, well worth listening to. http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/03_ecumenism.htm

The protestants kept the Catholics and Orthodox in line!
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« Reply #195 on: May 05, 2008, 10:10:46 PM »

I find it difficult to fathom that someone can objectively look at the Orthodox Church in the former Eastern Bloc and Arab/Islamic countries and see "decadence and blatant ungodliness" while at the same time turning a blind eye to the very same thing they decry within their own ranks.  Considering the churches in these countries suffered, and still suffer in the case of the Copts, for example, real persecution, as opposed to imagined persecution in the likes of the supposed "War on Christmas", I think the fact that the Church still exists is a testament to these supposed nominal Christian's faith. 

Pardon my cynicism, but they're not looking very close if they think their evangelical brethren are all sober and godly Christians.  They probably think that the clergy abuse scandal is only a Roman Catholic problem.

I agree with you about this.  Not to mention the fact that many Christians have secularized Christmas.  I remember a couple of years ago when Christmas fell on Sunday, and many Evangelical churches cancelled Sunday services, because (ta da) it was Christmas and people should be home with their families.  Many of these were the same people who wanted to boycott Walmart for switching to saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".  I emailed one of those mega churches that was cancelling services and asked them who was more guilty of secularizing Christmas.  I guess "Jesus--'tis the reason for the season" is just a catchy little slogan.  If you're not willing to give up a couple of hours from the celebration to be in church to worship "the reason for the season", I think you qualify as secularizing the holiday.
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« Reply #196 on: October 21, 2008, 11:52:53 AM »

I think two issues are getting confused. One might be “Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?” [i.e. regard it as a false church]. The other might be, “Why do Protestants remain Protestants?” Those who reject Orthodoxy as a false form of religion probably do so because of the absence of the Protestant teaching on justification by faith. I am not here saying whether or not I think they are right to do so: I am only trying to answer the question that was posed, Why do they do it?

But Protestants do not hold a doctrine of any “one and only true church”, but see Christ’s church as broader than any denomination, including all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. So there may well be Protestants who take the view that, whereas the Orthodox Church, as a trinitarian body, is a genuine part of Christ’s church, it is not the only part - it is not the whole. Therefore they decide not to transfer to Orthodoxy but to remain in a Protestant church. That does not mean they ‘reject’ Orthodoxy as a valid form of Christianity; but it does mean they believe there are other true churches.

When I faced the question of whether I should remain in an Evangelical church or find somewhere ‘the only true church’, the question I asked myself was, Where do I see God at work in salvation and blessing? If I can see him in Evangelical churches, then I must conclude that they are true churches, and I may remain; if I cannot, then I should leave.

Now it is only fair to assess any church by considering its best expressions, not its worse. One could easily dismiss Roman Catholics by looking at the people they have burnt at the stake, or at the Inquisition, in obedience to a rule that the church may not shed blood, devising the most devilish forms of non-blood-shedding torture. One could look at Serbian bullies burning Albanian Moslem homes, and lining up the Moslem men and executing them, so as to cleanse Kosova of Islam and establish Serbian Orthodoxy. As a Protestant, I am too aware of disgraceful things that have been done in history and in the present to need to list them for you. Any church has things to repent of.

But let us consider Evangelicalism at its best, as it only fair also of Orthodoxy. Do Evangelical movements have a record of drunkards made sober, wife-beaters made caring husbands, thieves made honest, idlers made into trustworthy workers, blasphemers made into men who respect and love the Saviour? Have foul mouths been cleansed and filled with warm and lasting praise to Jesus Christ? Has society been changed for the better because of the leaven of Evangelicalism? Is their worship - at its best - Christ-centred? Does it glorify God as creator and sustainer of the world? Is the Holy Spirit honoured in the Trinity? Is it a religion of love for God and love for mankind? Does it do good?

I came to the conclusion that the answer to all these is Yes. And therefore I felt it was right to accept my Evangelical background, dating in my case to about the 1860s in the family, as real Christianity, acceptable to God and blessed by him when believed and practised with sincerity.

That does not mean that I take the view that there are no true Christians in other denominations, including Orthodoxy. Nor does it mean that I believe I have nothing to learn from Orthodoxy - else why join this forum?
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« Reply #197 on: October 21, 2008, 12:08:42 PM »

Shultz, I understand you weren't  aiming at me... Smiley

Oh! This is actually SO TRUE! But, are those things mentioned in parenthesis, lubeltri, truly exclusive to Protestantism? Are they so very wrong? Isn't this more like it was in the Early Church? I'm just afraid both the RCs and the Orthodox would  have a much better witness if we emphasized these things.

That's exactly what Peter Kreeft said! He said when Catholics "become better Protestants," they become better Catholics. The same goes for Orthodox. It's actually a great lecture, well worth listening to. http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/03_ecumenism.htm
I would say that Catholics and Orthodox Christians should just become better Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #198 on: October 21, 2008, 12:27:20 PM »

Shultz, I understand you weren't  aiming at me... Smiley

Oh! This is actually SO TRUE! But, are those things mentioned in parenthesis, lubeltri, truly exclusive to Protestantism? Are they so very wrong? Isn't this more like it was in the Early Church? I'm just afraid both the RCs and the Orthodox would  have a much better witness if we emphasized these things.

That's exactly what Peter Kreeft said! He said when Catholics "become better Protestants," they become better Catholics. The same goes for Orthodox. It's actually a great lecture, well worth listening to. http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/03_ecumenism.htm
I would say that Catholics and Orthodox Christians should just become better Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

Peter Kreeft has a fondness for "cute" rhetorical flourishes, but the context I was getting at with that quote was enumerated in my previous post:

To take from Peter Kreeft (who says this with regard to Catholics), more Protestants will become Orthodox when more Orthodox become better Protestants (i.e. abandoning nominalism, growing in holiness, having a closer relationship with Christ, and showing the fruits of this relationship in their lives and in the Church).

Perhaps it would be better phrased as "More Evangelicals will become Orthodox when more Orthodox become better evangelicals" (Evangelicals not affiliated with the Anglicans, Lutherans, etc., are technically not Protestants, though their theology is an offshoot of the Reformation---perhaps we could call them "post-Protestant Evangelicals").

I think the growing camaraderie between orthodox Catholics and post-Protestant Evangelicals is well illustrated by groups like Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). I count a lot of Evangelicals among my friends. Many are great admirers of Benedict XVI and John Paul II---quite a few are also very interested in the Eastern tradition, though happy to remain themselves Evangelicals. (Added: I don't want to leave out orthodox Anglicans.)
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« Reply #199 on: October 21, 2008, 12:48:30 PM »

The other might be, “Why do Protestants remain Protestants?”

I recall reading Clendenin's Christianity Today cover article, "Why I'm Not Orthodox."  At the time, I was on the verge of becoming a serious inquirer into Orthodoxy, so I read with some trepidation.  I feared he would present an argument that would bring my journey to a halt, but I also knew that I could not avoid considering his case.  By the end of the piece, I had to laugh -- aloud in the middle of the library -- because he had no argument other than that he was committed to Protestant theology. 

Do Evangelical movements have a record of drunkards made sober, wife-beaters made caring husbands, thieves made honest, idlers made into trustworthy workers, blasphemers made into men who respect and love the Saviour? Have foul mouths been cleansed and filled with warm and lasting praise to Jesus Christ? Has society been changed for the better because of the leaven of Evangelicalism?

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."  John 20:31

Christ did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live.
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« Reply #200 on: October 21, 2008, 01:21:40 PM »


"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."  John 20:31

Christ did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live.
AMEN!!!
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« Reply #201 on: October 21, 2008, 05:44:29 PM »

But let us consider Evangelicalism at its best, as it only fair also of Orthodoxy. Do Evangelical movements have a record of drunkards made sober, wife-beaters made caring husbands, thieves made honest, idlers made into trustworthy workers, blasphemers made into men who respect and love the Saviour? Have foul mouths been cleansed and filled with warm and lasting praise to Jesus Christ? Has society been changed for the better because of the leaven of Evangelicalism? Is their worship - at its best - Christ-centred? Does it glorify God as creator and sustainer of the world? Is the Holy Spirit honoured in the Trinity? Is it a religion of love for God and love for mankind? Does it do good?
Thank you, David. Excellent response. My question is, though, is Evangelicalism at its best the majority of Evangelicalism? From my experience in an evangelical Protestant church (18 years), I've found that Evangelicalism at its best is Orthodoxy. In other words, Orthodoxy is perfect Christianity, and every denomination that tries to follow Christ, if it succeeds, has no choice but to become Orthodox. Christ is the centre of Orthodoxy. God the Father is glorified. The Holy Spirit is honoured in a way not even the Pentecostals can match. Orthodoxy loves God and mankind to a greater extent than in any Protestant church, and it does more good.

So the question is not whether Protestantism is true (and I believe most Protestants have the truth), but whether it is most true. Orthodoxy is the fullness of the Truth, and the fullness of Christianity. There are other Christians, to be sure, but they all lack one or another of the aspects of Orthodoxy. When I discovered this, I had to become Orthodox. How could I, seeing the truth, then reject it?
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« Reply #202 on: October 22, 2008, 04:22:58 AM »

Tuesdayschild writes that Christ came, not to make bad men good, but to make dead men alive. You could not have written a truer word, and let’s thank God for it!

But is it not true that, once he has infused divine life into one who was dead in trespasses and sins, he begins to change the new Christian into his likeness, forming him into a Christ-like character? Call it sanctification, or theosis, or partaking of the divine nature (as in Peter’s epistle) – surely this is what God does when he makes the dead alive.

Does not every genuine Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant believe that real faith is a ‘faith that works by love’, to quote Paul (and a favourite theme of Wesley!)? James teaches the same. And our Lord himself said that ‘by their fruits you will know them’.

When I look at Evangelical movements and churches at their best, and I do see those fruits. So I conclude that, wherever else God may work in newness of life, in transforming character, in blessing, he certainly does so in the Evangelical context.  What I am therefore ‘rejecting’ (to use that word only because it is in the title of this correspondence) is not the idea that Orthodoxy produces true Christians (when believed and practised in humble faith), but Orthodoxy’s claim to be the only body in which he is doing so. That is why I remain where I am, and why I expect to experience God among us.
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« Reply #203 on: October 22, 2008, 04:47:41 AM »

Ytterbiumanalyst writes: My question is, though, is Evangelicalism at its best the majority of Evangelicalism?

This is a question which I cannot answer accurately statistically. I do not know. Certainly there are times of high tide and low tide, as it were. The 1730s to 1860s seem to me to provide examples of widespread, sustained blessing upon Evangelical life and work. At other times, and in other places, congregations dwindle, age, are even allowed to die out. Churches are sometimes in a very low state, when prayer, evangelism, personal devotion, and even the simple practice of loving one another are wanting. Whether the times of rich blessing, or of decline, are the majority, I suspect only God knows.

However, you need to know also where I have encountered Orthodoxy, and you may conclude that it is acceptable for me to ask the same question of you. My experience of Orthodoxy is in Kosova and Albania.

In Kosova, I have seen the burned, roofless shells of people’s houses, have seen the sign of the cross painted on a Moslem’s ruined home, have met the people whose family members were beaten up, or executed, or are simply missing, and I have seen the rows of graves with only numbers, no names, because the returning refugees did not know whose corpses were left lying round on the ground in their village. All this was done in the name of Serbian Orthodoxy, to drive out the Moslem unbelievers and recreate an Orthodox land. Would you have me assess Orthodoxy by all that?

It was only 100 years or so ago that, in Albania, Orthodox people were told it was no use praying in Albanian, as the Lord does not understand that language: prayer must be offered in Greek. I have seen the strings of garlic protecting houses from the evil eye, and the soft toys hung up to absorb the curses of envious neighbours trying to ruin the owners’ good fortune. Would you have me assess Orthodox theology by that?

Of course not! But equally I would not have you assess our churches by their worst deeds, members and workers. From within, I could probably enumerate more examples than you could!

If God is among you, and is also among us, to work in salvation, new life, and blessing, and if your desire and mine is consonant with the Apostle’s, whose longing was to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, is it not possible that there are gems of Christian truth and experience within Evangelicalism (at its best) from which you may benefit, and likewise that there are gems of Christian truth and experience within Orthodoxy from which I too may learn and benefit?

So I say, let us seek to build each other up, not to pull each other down.



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« Reply #204 on: October 22, 2008, 10:21:08 AM »

[Thank you, David. Excellent response. My question is, though, is Evangelicalism at its best the majority of Evangelicalism? From my experience in an evangelical Protestant church (18 years), I've found that Evangelicalism at its best is Orthodoxy. In other words, Orthodoxy is perfect Christianity, and every denomination that tries to follow Christ, if it succeeds, has no choice but to become Orthodox. Christ is the centre of Orthodoxy. God the Father is glorified. The Holy Spirit is honoured in a way not even the Pentecostals can match. Orthodoxy loves God and mankind to a greater extent than in any Protestant church, and it does more good.

So the question is not whether Protestantism is true (and I believe most Protestants have the truth), but whether it is most true. Orthodoxy is the fullness of the Truth, and the fullness of Christianity. There are other Christians, to be sure, but they all lack one or another of the aspects of Orthodoxy. When I discovered this, I had to become Orthodox. How could I, seeing the truth, then reject it?

It is that you write "From my experience" and "I've found" that seems to me to be a particular point.  From your personal experiences, you then say that "Orthodoxy is perfect Christianity" and in the second paragraph that EO is "the fullness of the Truth and the fullness of Christianity". Yet, I have read other people who have said the same thing about the RC.    They believe from *their* experiences that the RC is The Church and that they saw the truth and therefore cound not reject it.  And what of others who have not found "fullness" in either EO or RC?

I do not mean to be difficult or harping on one idea here and I apologize for any unintended offense. 

As another point, in all the years of hearing or reading the claim that one Church or another has "the Fullness" I have not found out clearly what is meant. 

Ebor

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« Reply #205 on: October 22, 2008, 11:36:12 AM »

Ytterbiumanalyst writes: My question is, though, is Evangelicalism at its best the majority of Evangelicalism?

This is a question which I cannot answer accurately statistically. I do not know. Certainly there are times of high tide and low tide, as it were.
Yes, I have seen this too. It is unfortunate, and the broad range of religions within what we call "evangelicalism" makes summary difficult at best.

It is that you write "From my experience" and "I've found" that seems to me to be a particular point.  From your personal experiences, you then say that "Orthodoxy is perfect Christianity" and in the second paragraph that EO is "the fullness of the Truth and the fullness of Christianity". Yet, I have read other people who have said the same thing about the RC.    They believe from *their* experiences that the RC is The Church and that they saw the truth and therefore cound not reject it.  And what of others who have not found "fullness" in either EO or RC?
That is exactly my point. I found that Orthodoxy is doing what I always felt the evangelical churches should be doing. Orthodoxy is for me my former Protestant religion perfected. I have found in Her the fulfillment of the truth I always knew.

There are certainly others who do not share this story. Whether they are at a different point along the same path I walked or a different path altogether is not mine to decide or to know.

So I say, let us seek to build each other up, not to pull each other down.
Indeed. I hope you do not feel I was putting down Protestantism. I have nothing but respect for the  religion which introduced me to Christ.
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« Reply #206 on: October 22, 2008, 02:02:40 PM »

But is it not true that....

It is certainly true that no genuine Christian will be found to be a drunkard, a wife-beater, a thief, an idler, a blasphemer or foul-mouthed.  Anyone who claimed to be a Christian but indulges in these, we would call a hypocrite.

But even among those of non-Christian faiths, we can find what you call “the best” — sober, respectful, honest, hard-working, and even with good things to say about Christ (although not the fullness of truth, as ytterbiumanalyst highlights).

This is the interpretation of Mt. 7:20, “By their fruit you will recognize them” that St. John Chrysostom offers:

And by the figure of “false prophets,” here, I think He shadows out not the heretics, but them that are of a corrupt life, yet wear a mask of virtue; whom the generality are wont to call by the name of impostors. Wherefore He also said further, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
For amongst heretics one may often find actual goodness, but amongst those whom I was mentioning, by no means.


I suspect that you and I understand “sanctification” somewhat differently.  While I do agree that it refers to theosis, the partaking of the divine nature, I disagree that merely behaving well is evidence of it.  How can this be if, as St. John writes, “Amongst heretics one may often find actual goodness”?
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« Reply #207 on: October 22, 2008, 04:47:24 PM »

the partaking of the divine nature, I disagree that merely behaving well is evidence of it. 

Of course. Once again, you are absolutely right. A lastingly transformed life is one pointer, and a very significant one. But the indescribable yet immediately recognised oneness of fraternity and fellowship which is sensed between those who are in Christ is a deeper proof: real Christians recognise Christ in each other; there is, if you like, a sort-of 'family bond'. One feels it with very wealthy public-school types (in the English sense of 'public school'), with Albanian gypsies - even, if I may quote one contributor to this forum, with those Greek "non-entities" who are Christian but not Eastern Orthodox.

The question being addressed is, Why stay in an Evangelical church? if "stay in an Evangelical church" = "reject Orthodoxy". For me, the reasons I have given are persuasive; but it would be far richer to be able to talk of these matters face to face with a Christian Orthodox and to find that we recognise that brotherhood created by God between us as adopted sons in his family.
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« Reply #208 on: October 22, 2008, 05:03:04 PM »

in all the years of hearing or reading the claim that one Church or another has "the Fullness" I have not found out clearly what is meant. 

Ebor


I have some idea, though certainly not comprehensive and probably quite inaccurate at least in some cases because I write as an outsider. It seems to me that:
  Pentecostals believe they have the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit, whilst others do not;
  Calvinists believe the Augustinian view of sin and grace (including predestination) is at the heart of Christianity
  Brethren believe they have returned to the correct biblical way to organise a church
  Nazarenes (and similar 'Holiness' groups) believe in 'entire sanctification' sometimes called Christian perfection
  Charismatics believe groups outside their own movement are locked into the past and missing out on God's present work
  Orthodox (you know better than I!) believe they are the only true church and (am I right?) cherish their Tradition and sacraments which other denomiations lack
  Roman Catholics - well, I don't know, but I would guess the mass and the infallible pope are a significant part of it.

Actually I don't think we Baptists use this kind of terminology, though some of the remoter reaches of the Baptist churches do seem to feel that they - or almost they - are the only ones who have got it right. But happily I think they are comparatively few and far between.

I do think (reading the contributions to this forum) that you Orthodox have an exaggerated or distorted perception of division among Evangelicals - unless (I am not being sarcastic) it is a perception truer in America than in England and Wales. But more, perhaps, on the underlying unity and mutual acceptance among different 'brands' of Evangelical in a later posting.
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« Reply #209 on: October 22, 2008, 05:27:07 PM »

The question being addressed is, Why stay in an Evangelical church? if "stay in an Evangelical church" = "reject Orthodoxy". For me, the reasons I have given are persuasive....

Then you should remain where you are.  I think you should strive to be the best, most orthodox Evangelical you can be, until it becomes, as you see it, a sin to remain there. 

When I realized that being an Evangelical (a Baptist, in particular) was at odds with what I was coming to believe about the Church, that the Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, I knew it was a sin for me to be anything other than Orthodox.
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« Reply #210 on: October 22, 2008, 07:06:21 PM »

It goes in every direction.  It doesn't matter whether it's Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox--the person leaves one church and has a radical change of life/heart in a different one.  I know somebody who was raised Evangelical/Charismatic, even did the speaking in tongues and preached.  But eventually he decided it was all fake, and left.  After years of living in the world, he came back to Christ--in the Orthodox Church.  When he tells me what he was like before, I can hardly believe it because he just isn't that person anymore.
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« Reply #211 on: October 22, 2008, 07:12:39 PM »

Nazarenes (and similar 'Holiness' groups) believe in 'entire sanctification' sometimes called Christian perfection

You are correct there.  I speak as a former Nazarene.

Quote
I do think (reading the contributions to this forum) that you Orthodox have an exaggerated or distorted perception of division among Evangelicals - unless (I am not being sarcastic) it is a perception truer in America than in England and Wales. But more, perhaps, on the underlying unity and mutual acceptance among different 'brands' of Evangelical in a later posting.

It may very well be a difference between America and the UK. 
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« Reply #212 on: October 22, 2008, 08:17:43 PM »

in all the years of hearing or reading the claim that one Church or another has "the Fullness" I have not found out clearly what is meant. 

Ebor


I have some idea, though certainly not comprehensive and probably quite inaccurate at least in some cases because I write as an outsider. It seems to me that:
  Pentecostals believe they have the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit, whilst others do not;
  Calvinists believe the Augustinian view of sin and grace (including predestination) is at the heart of Christianity
  Brethren believe they have returned to the correct biblical way to organise a church
  Nazarenes (and similar 'Holiness' groups) believe in 'entire sanctification' sometimes called Christian perfection
  Charismatics believe groups outside their own movement are locked into the past and missing out on God's present work
  Orthodox (you know better than I!) believe they are the only true church and (am I right?) cherish their Tradition and sacraments which other denomiations lack
  Roman Catholics - well, I don't know, but I would guess the mass and the infallible pope are a significant part of it.

Actually I don't think we Baptists use this kind of terminology, though some of the remoter reaches of the Baptist churches do seem to feel that they - or almost they - are the only ones who have got it right. But happily I think they are comparatively few and far between.

I do think (reading the contributions to this forum) that you Orthodox have an exaggerated or distorted perception of division among Evangelicals - unless (I am not being sarcastic) it is a perception truer in America than in England and Wales. But more, perhaps, on the underlying unity and mutual acceptance among different 'brands' of Evangelical in a later posting.


Have you heard of landmark Baptists? OR Baptist briders? I was raised Baptist and some think that the Baptist church was started by John the Baptist. My own mother believed this, until I showed her that the Baptist church/churches was only 400 years old. I told her that they didn't come from the middle east, but from England, and from England to America.

So a good number of Baptists won't convert because they think their church/churches was the one started by John the Baptist. So I think for a good number of Baptists, it is a lack of education in "church history".

My mom also believes that one day all the churches will become one. She doesn't like all the division that she sees so she finds comfort in the idea that one day all the denominations will merge into one Church. I try to tell her that the more you go back into history the less division/denominations you will find. And if you keep going back then you will see that there was one church, and that church still exist. When I was protestant, I too held on to a similar belief that my mom has.

Another idea I found among some Baptists, is that everything will be sorted out once we all get to heaven. And I think this too is a reason why some Baptists stay Baptist. They feel that everything will be made right once we die. ...Or when Jesus comes back, so there is no need to change churches.

To be honest,

There are alot of different reasons why various protestants don't become Orthodox. What may be an issue for one Baptist, may not be an issue for another Baptist.......let alone another protestant.

It takes time, prayer, and alot of struggle with doctrine/doctrines, passions, cravings, and external worldy events that are beyond our control.


It took me 10 years, and it was a combination of all the above.


But I disagree with you about the distortion of a lack of unity between evangelicals. I use to be Protestant as well as a good number of Orthodox on this forum. I can't speak for them, but I can speak for my self when I say that the lack of unity among protestant evangelicals is real.

I was raised Baptist, but in my highschool and early college years, I was heavily inlfuenced by old school Pentecostalism and the less strict, do whatever you want Charismatics. I wasn't able to see alot of division in highschool, but I saw alot of it in college. The Church of Christ fought with other protestant groups over Baptismal regeneration, as well as other issues, The Methodhist had their wesly foundation (of which I was a part of), the Prespyterians had their campus outreach (in which I had a good time at), the Seventh day Adventists had their own group(in which I went too alot), the Oneness Pentecostals had their thing (I helped out with one of their events), there was an African(Nigeria) Pentecostal church called "Deeper Life", that had a campus ministry (I went to their thing alot as well).

And there were alot more groups as well. You had Baptists that were Reformed Baptists, some were Dispensational Baptists, others were what I would call Calminian Baptists, some were 4 point Calvinist Baptists. And you had Baptists that were more secular minded and liberal.

And we argued all the time. All the time........I repeat, we argued alot!!! So I know about the divisions within Protestantism. When I graduated from college I joined an Anglo-Catholic parish in the ECUSA (Episcopal Church).

But before then, I churched hopped, I visited all kinds of different protestant churches. I even visited a Greek Orthodox Church back then......but that's another story.

So I disagree with you. We are not distorting the lack of unity among protestants.

I was raised Baptist and the Baptist church I grew up in split 2 or 3 times. So you can't convince me that we distort the lack of unity among protestants. I love christian rap and mannnnn.........there is alot of fueding going on in the christian rap world between the Reformed, and Calvinistic christian rappers against the more Arminian, Word of Faith, Pentecostal and Charismatic christian rappers. I'm sure a similar thing is going on in the christian rock world.

So I must disagree with you, because eventhough I am no longer Protestant, I still keep an eye on whats happenning in Protestant land. I'm still friends with most of my protestant friends, so......I'm still in the know.







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« Reply #213 on: October 22, 2008, 10:29:21 PM »

  Orthodox (you know better than I!) believe they are the only true church and (am I right?) cherish their Tradition and sacraments which other denomiations lack
  Roman Catholics - well, I don't know, but I would guess the mass and the infallible pope are a significant part of it.

You'll find that your description of Orthodox is quite close to how Catholics identify themselves (though we do recognize the sacraments of other apostolic Churches not in perfect communion with us). The "infallible pope" idea is not the end of our Faith---the pope is just the divinely appointed caretaker-in-chief of the sacred and apostolic deposit of faith that sustains the Church. "Papal infallibility" is, as Youngfogey puts it, one part of our own understanding of the infallibility of the Church (a belief shared by Orthodox of their Church). It doesn't give the pope more power but less---it means the pope (thanks to the Holy Spirit) cannot impose on the Church as dogma any heresy in faith or morals ("gates of Hell shall never prevail" and all that).

As for the Mass, you are right, the Mass (and the Eucharist which makes the Mass the Mass) is the "source and summit" (to quote Vatican II) of the Catholic life. For Orthodox, the Divine Liturgy and the sacred mysteries celebrated therein are central to their faith as well.
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« Reply #214 on: October 23, 2008, 06:49:36 AM »

I have some idea, though certainly not comprehensive and probably quite inaccurate at least in some cases because I write as an outsider. It seems to me that:
  Orthodox (you know better than I!) believe they are the only true church and (am I right?) cherish their Tradition and sacraments which other denomiations lack.
Almost. We believe we are the true Church; yet it does not logically follow that we are the only true Church. Imagine you have a diamond in your hand, and you discover that this is a perfect diamond, flawless in every way, and when you weigh it, you discover that it is also the largest. Would you then say to yourself, "This is the best diamond I have ever seen. It therefore must be the only diamond in existence"? Of course not! In the same way, we are the true Church founded by Jesus Christ, but it is possible that there are other Christians who are devoted followers of the same Christ.

We have a saying in Orthodoxy: "We know where God is; we do not know where He is not."
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« Reply #215 on: October 23, 2008, 03:48:57 PM »

 From jnorm888:  I think for a good number of Baptists, it is a lack of education in "church history"...

Another idea I found among some Baptists, is that everything will be sorted out once we all get to heaven.


You are right on both counts. Baptists who are into church history will often trace their spiritual ancestry via the Anabaptists who were around before the Reformation, back through the Waldenses, and so to the early church. I think the lack of interest in church history is a feature of modern society in general, not merely of Evangelical Christians: anything not bang up to date is passé, outmoded, and irrelevant. They import this mindset, regrettably, into their religion. Personally, I love giving talks on church history at my local church and have ranged from the time of Aidan, through the Anglo-Saxon period, into the Middle Ages (Bernard of Clairvaux, Anselm, English mystics), on to early Baptists from ca 1611, Zinzendorf (1720s ff), the early Primitive Methodists (19th century), and up to the present. People seem to love it. But I feel sadly that many congregations do not get such teaching, and wouldn't want it if it were offered. Anything prior to 2008 is suspect: only the future is really important.

Regarding the second idea - I guess I think the same. I expect to sit down at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with people from all the movements mentioned above (oh, and the present Orthodox Church!) and to rejoice in our Saviour and our salvation, revelling in our unity as his Bride. Whether I'll remember having been a Baptist I have no idea. Will it matter?
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« Reply #216 on: October 23, 2008, 04:02:18 PM »

Regarding the second idea - I guess I think the same. I expect to sit down at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with people from all the movements mentioned above (oh, and the present Orthodox Church!) and to rejoice in our Saviour and our salvation, revelling in our unity as his Bride.
Amen.

Quote
Whether I'll remember having been a Baptist I have no idea. Will it matter?
Well, if you're at the Marriage Supper, then you have been saved. For me, as long as I'm there, it doesn't really matter how I arrived. I disagree with them in their idea of an invisible Church, but in this I believe the Baptists have the right idea: that all those who are saved are part of the Body of Christ, regardless of by what method they were saved. "For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
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« Reply #217 on: October 23, 2008, 04:07:07 PM »

From tuesdayschild: I think you should strive to be the best, most orthodox Evangelical you can be,

Thank you. And when I read graciously and warmly written Orthodox material, I derive benefit. Recently I took a Bible study at our church on the Resurrection, saying we need to correct our balance, and whilst not losing our grasp of the DEATH of Christ for the forgiveness of our sin, we should also seek to develop a more Eastern appreciation of that first Easter by dwelling more than we do on his RESURRECTION and his victory thereby over death, the Devil, law and (of course) sin.

I have also come to a richer appreciation of the Lord's Supper. Taking the bread and wine has somehow become more precious, and I have more expectation of blessing in it, whether I am presiding at the Table leading the congregation, which I warmly love to do, or am one of the congregation. Orthodox writings haven't persuaded me of the need for episcopally ordained priests, and I have not weakened in my belief in the validity of the sacrament among us Baptists: but they have helped me value and appreciate it more.

We should learn from one another in a spirit of teachableness and love.
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« Reply #218 on: October 23, 2008, 05:35:33 PM »

Recently I took a Bible study at our church on the Resurrection, saying we need to correct our balance, and whilst not losing our grasp of the DEATH of Christ for the forgiveness of our sin, we should also seek to develop a more Eastern appreciation of that first Easter by dwelling more than we do on his RESURRECTION and his victory thereby over death, the Devil, law and (of course) sin.

Let me suggest that you add to this an appreciation for the Incarnation.  Without the Incarnation, death by crucifixion accomplishes nothing for our salvation.  Because of the Incarnation, Man enjoys victory over sin and death through the Resurrection.  I recommend On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius of Alexandria.  Reading it may even give you greater insight regarding what Orthodox mean by theosis.

Taking the bread and wine...the validity of the sacrament among us Baptists

Clearly, your Baptists are not Baptist in the same sense as my Baptists were Baptist.  Grin
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« Reply #219 on: October 23, 2008, 05:49:46 PM »

David,

It's a real blessing to hear from such a delightful Baptist as yourself here. Your words are gracious and full of wisdom. It would be a privilege to share, God willing, in that heavenly banquet with you.

My father is a Baptist, so I grew up going to a lot of Baptist services (every other week for years).

The Holy Spirit moves where He wills. No matter what Christian communion you are in, if for the cause of Christ you are living a fruitful life of faith, hope and love, and seek sincerely to do His will in humility, that is the work of the Holy Spirit and none other.


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« Reply #220 on: October 23, 2008, 10:23:55 PM »

Quote
We believe we are the true Church; yet it does not logically follow that we are the only true Church.

At first I would disagree with this, based on the idea that the body of Christ cannot be divided. But then I remember that my own jurisdiction says that the Church has been divided in some sense: ie. that the non-Chalcedonians are part of the Church despite the lack of unity for over a millenium. Huh
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« Reply #221 on: October 24, 2008, 06:51:40 AM »

FROM TUESDAYSCHILD: I recommend On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius of Alexandria.

I enjoyed reading it in the RC nun's fairly recent translation, published anonymously by her nunnery in Wantage, and I have (but have not yet read) the older, undated translation by Herbert Bindley. In fact I was so nourished and warmed by the former, that I got copyright permission from the nunnery, and have arranged for a translation into Albanian to be produced in Tirana. It is currently with the translator, an excellent native Albanian linguist, though I first checked with the Orthodox seminary that they had not already produced a translation. We are also doing some Chrysostom.

It struck me as rather pleasing that a book should be written by an Orthodox theologian, translated by a Catholic nun, and published in Albania by Protestants.

In re 'wine' and 'sacrament': you are right; many Baptists prefer the word 'ordinance' to 'sacrament', and I use the word 'sacrament' carefully myself, there being no point in giving offence over a word. And sadly we use either de-alcoholised wine or pure red grape juice; though in Albania we use ordinary red wine bought from any shop.
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« Reply #222 on: October 24, 2008, 08:21:27 PM »

I was protestant for many years.  However, as my years in Orthodoxy pass by I find it more and more difficult to remember what actually being protestant was like.

For me, the instant I encountered Orthodoxy I knew I had found home.  However, most all protestants I've shared with want nothing to do with the Orthodox Church... so this makes it even harder to connect with them.

There wasn't one single year as a protestant that I felt "fulfilled."  I was constantly seeking and learning about new denominations/religions, hoping to one day find ultimate fulfillment.  However, most protestants I know seem to be just fine with being "satisfied," but not "fulfilled" (or at least they try to pretend their satisfaction is actually fulfillment).

Protestants have heard the "this-is-the-real-deal" line about so many denominations… I suppose they just get sick of it and become callous, figuring that the idea of a "one true church/denomination" is just a fairy tale.  They conclude that their lack of feeling fulfilled must be their own fault for not trusting God enough, not being content with what God has given them, etc.  Then, to avoid sinking into despair, they "put on a happy face" and pretend that everything is "super-great" and "couldn't be better."  They continue in this state day after day after day.

So when someone comes along and tells them about Orthodoxy, they immediately fall into automatic-reject mode, and politely (sometimes not so politely) state that they are just fine with where they are.  The thing is, if they didn’t respond this way, then they would have to admit that all their years prior were not “super-great” and they could be accused of lying to others and themselves.  Of course, none of these circumstantial factors are the fault of protestants as individuals, but they can easily fall into despair over feeling personally responsible for these circumstances.

Protestants are like anyone else: they don’t want to get hurt.  They don’t want to open up a can of worms they’ve tried to pretend didn’t exist.  The older they are, the more years of suppression they’ve experienced.   If anyone says anything to them that could cause that deep reservoir of doubt and confusion to come back to the surface… then their defenses and red-flags immediately go up, warning that if they continue down this train of thought they will have to come-to-terms with months, years, decades of denial.

While I believe that the sacrifice required of a protestant to become Orthodox is most assuredly 100% worth it, I can also sympathize with protestants who are just too scared to take such a giant leap of faith.

Let us pray that the Lord will strengthen their hearts, and give them the courage needed to overcome the deceiver and enter into the fullness of the One True Body of Jesus Christ, Who is eternally glorified together with the Father and Holy Spirit.

Amen


Here is why I reject Catholicism:

1) They worship more than one God, Mary and our Father in heaven
2) They disobey God's word in; Matthew 23:9, Matthew 1:25, Colossians 2:8, Deuteronomy 11:18, and 4:15, Exodus 20:4,
3) They omit Commandments like Exodus 20:4 and the first two when they pray to people
4) They make up a different gospel than Paul preached which he condemns as false teaching in 2 Corinthians 11:4-15.

for starters.  Wink
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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #223 on: October 24, 2008, 08:23:10 PM »

^ That may be your belief, but this thread is about why Protestants reject Orthodoxy, not Catholicism.
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« Reply #224 on: October 24, 2008, 08:25:39 PM »

Here is why I reject Catholicism:

1) They worship more than one God, Mary and our Father in heaven
2) They disobey God's word in; Matthew 23:9, Matthew 1:25, Colossians 2:8, Deuteronomy 11:18, and 4:15, Exodus 20:4,
3) They omit Commandments like Exodus 20:4 and the first two when they pray to people
4) They make up a different gospel than Paul preached which he condemns as false teaching in 2 Corinthians 11:4-15.

for starters.  Wink

Hate to burst your bubble but you basically just totally ripped up a strawman there, and you pretty much have no clue what Roman Catholics believe and why.

Even though I am not Roman Catholic, your utter misunderstanding of Roman Catholicism prompts me to recommend a good book on the topic: "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keating.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 08:26:01 PM by Fr. Anastasios » Logged

Met. Demetrius's Enthronement

Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching.

I served as an Orthodox priest from June 2008 to April 2013, before resigning for personal reasons
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