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Author Topic: Why do protestants reject Orthodoxy?  (Read 39502 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: December 16, 2007, 12:55:30 AM »

Quote
The title assumes protestants have a basis of knowledge of Orthodoxy so they could make a decision.

So the thread is really about Protestants who understand Orthodoxy, but reject it anyways.  Those don't come a dime a dozen.  I'm probably the closest your gonna find here, but don't quite fit the bill.  I was raised RC and converted to EO in my college days.  I spent 10 years in the EO.  Split in between the OCA and HOCNA.  I am now presently a protestant. (I don't personally consider myself a protestant, but 99% of people would put me in that bucket.  May also depend on what the definition of protestant is?)  I don't fit the thread bucket because I wasn't a protestant when I 'rejected' it and I don't consider myself as rejecting it.  I don't presently attend it, but I don't reject the EO church.  In my mind there is a distinction.  If I rejected it, I would be out at the rubbish XOFC website writing articles  But, I'm not.  I still go to an occasional vespers service and visit monasteries from time to time.  (Matter of fact, I'm starting to plan my trip to Mt Athos.  Something I wanna see in this lifetime.  Who knows I may never come back Grin)  I also visit the local Coptic church from time to time.

So I don't really fit the bill of the thread.  But I can ensure you it's not out of fear like is constantly stated.   I left.  I know what the responses to this post are going to be.  So obviously its not fear.  If anything from your point of view, it would be lack of fear.



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« Reply #91 on: December 16, 2007, 07:28:13 PM »

Welcome to the Forum, FrancisA.  Smiley


Your post is intriguing. If you're comfortable with the discussion, could you tell more of the reasons for your path?  If you prefer to not do so, I apologize for asking.

Ebor
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« Reply #92 on: December 16, 2007, 11:44:38 PM »

I don't presently attend it, but I don't reject the EO church.  In my mind there is a distinction.  If I rejected it, I would be out at the rubbish XOFC website writing articles  But, I'm not. 

I'm sorry but I don't buy your distinction.  You are definitely not engaged in polemical attacks against the EO, but you can reject it by being passive.  Your lack of attendance and participation in her mysteries and prayer life is a rejection of the EO Church. You may agree with the doctrines and dogmas and ascent in your mind, but Orthodoxy is about being an active member in the church and growing in the faith and the virtues so that one may achieve communion with God (theosis). 

You are free, of course, to follow whatever path you wish.  But you are likening the EO Church to any other "church" out there so it doesn't seem to matteer where you are.  You realize, I'm sure, that the EO church calls itself not a branch of Christianity;  rather, it is the fullest expression of true Christianity.  I don't doubt Roman Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, Protestants and Evangelicals have elements of the truth (some more than others), but they are still not in the Church nor are they the Church. 

Forgiveness please, for being blunt in my response to you.  As Ebor requested and if you are comfortable, I'd like myself to hear more of the details.  Otherwise I, too, apologize for asking.
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« Reply #93 on: December 17, 2007, 12:29:45 AM »

Hopefully, I can figue out this posting thing.  Lets' see if this works.

Scamandrius, you post does contain many truths.  One of the previous posters mentioned that rejection includes "a sense of malice or anger or violence".  I personally don't feel a sense of anger, malice, or violence.  So if thats the definition of rejection, I don't fit it.  But I do see your point that there is a type of passive rejection.   So i guess right now, we are at a concensus of thought about rejection, but may be using different words to describe it.

I am very familiar with the EOs teachings about itself.  I was HOCNA for awhile- don't get much more black and white then that..

I am comfortable discussing.  I think I actually would like to discuss.  Maybe some of my open questions can be answered from a EO perspective.  I would like to find and read the forums rules first.  I don't want to be a bad guest.

Please forgive if my words offend,
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« Reply #94 on: December 17, 2007, 10:53:06 AM »

Just wanted to say: Welcome to the forum, FrancisA!  I pray you'll find the answers you are looking for here, and thank you for being part of the discussion and sharing your views with us.  We appreciate when differing points of view come to the table!

God bless you!
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« Reply #95 on: December 30, 2007, 11:16:36 PM »

Sorry for the delay here.  Work is requiring we use up all of our vacation time before the end of the year, so we took a last minute impromptu vacation to visit some family. and I lost my password. Embarrassed  I never found and read the forum rules, but that’s fine.  I’m sure they’re basic, no being slanderous, no attacking, no proselytizing, no intentionally misrepresenting the faith, etc. etc..  Nothing that’ll cause me any pains.

For the sake of explanation I will probably be using the term “Apostolic Churches” frequently.  So I figured I’d better define it.  I define Apostolic churches as any church that claims to have apostolic succession of Bishops back to the Apostles. (Roman Catholics, World EO,  Traditionalist EO, OO, Assyrian, Old Catholics, TAC, Utrecht Catholics, Anglican, apostolic Lutherans, etc.. etc.. (I use the word  ‘claim’ on purpose.  I’m sure we’d agree that some lines may be dubious.  I don’t wish to debate or dissect it right now so I used ‘claim’).

One of my stumbling blocks in converting to Orthodoxy (OCA) is that I bought into the old simplified church history story.  The one that goes ‘there was one church with one set of beliefs for the first one thousand years of church history, then the Catholics left, and then the rest of Christianity came out of the corrupt Western church.”  But upon reading more and more of the early church fathers, I found this story to be way oversimplified, to the point of being misleading and wrong.  Every apostolic church can cherry pick their teachings out of the early church fathers.  The EO can go back and cherry pick their teachings, the Roman Catholics can go back and cherry pick their teachings, the OO can go back and cherry pick their teachings, the Assyrians can go back and cherry pick their teachings.  The first question I can’t answer is why should I believe one set of cherry pickings over another?  Every apostolic church can justify their teachings by cherry picking.  Why should I chose one over the other?  The usual EO answer I get to this question is ‘don’t worry others are just cherry picking, ours is the true faith.’  For me, this doesn’t answer the question because it’s the same answer any other member of any other apostolic church can give.  The second answer I get is ‘I need to understand that no individual father is right all the time, some had personal beliefs and some we’re in fact wrong.’  Once again for me this doesn’t answer the question because it’s the same answer any other member of any other apostolic church can give.  The third and follow-up answer I get is ‘it’s the teaching of the fathers that we’re accepted by the church that we believe.’  Once again, this really doesn’t answer it.  It really puts the cart before the horse.  If I don’t know which church is the church, then how do I determine which early church fathers to accept.  Plus it is the same canned answer that any other member of any other apostolic church can give.

In my limited reasoning abilities, I see many apostolic churches, all having some diverse beliefs.  They can all back up there diverse beliefs by early church fathers.  I can only see one answer.  There was diversity of beliefs in the early church.  And if there was a diversity of beliefs in the early church, why should there not be a diversity of beliefs in today’s church.  (I don’t open it up to include all the name it and claim it that happens these days.  Just traditional/apostolic Christianity.)

Lets try it this way?  Why should I not be a Oriental Orthodox Christian.  (had I known they existed before I converted to the OCA, I’m not sure I would have converted??)  IMO they are the closest to the EO.  99% the same, just one definition about Christology.  They can support their teachings in pre-schism saints.  Plus, this one difference has been  pretty much settled upon in ecumenical meetings.  Being written off as different terminology driven by a different language.  (obviously the Traditionalist don’t agree with the settlements.)  So if this was the only difference and its being written off as not being different, then why not join the OO?


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“When I had given much thought and pondered on the matter, I became convinced that these quarrels of Christians among themselves are not a matter of factual substance, but rather one of words and terms. For they all confess Christ Our Lord to be perfect God and perfect human, without any commingling, mixing, or confusion of the natures. This bipinnate 'likeness' ( Phil. 2:6-7) is termed by one party a 'nature', by another 'a hypostasis' and by yet another a 'person'. Thus I saw all the Christian communities, with their different Christological positions, as possessing a single common ground that is without any difference. Accordingly I totally eradicated any hatred from the depths of my heart, and I completely renounced disputing with anyone over confessional matters.”
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« Reply #96 on: December 30, 2007, 11:59:37 PM »

When I was growing up as a Protestant, I didn't reject Orthodoxy; I didn't even consider it in the first place.  Orthodoxy appeared to be a collection of different national churches, which I did not realize were in communion with each other.  It was something very foreign to me.  I knew Orthodoxy was kind of like Catholicism, only they took the ceremonial aspects a step further.  As an Evangelical Protestant, Orthodoxy was a different world.  It was only after first studying Catholicism a couple years back that I finally starting looking into Orthodoxy.

Heads up all of you Orthodox Christians whose families have been Orthodox for the last two thousand years....I highlighted a sentence by this dear inquirer in red because I never realized how confusing our jurisdictional situation was to inquirers until I joined a parish full of those new to the faith. Orthodox unity is the only way to solve these types of misperceptions. Many inquirers don't even know we are in communion with one another and we wonder why we only have 750,000 Orthodox Christians in North America.   Embarrassed
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« Reply #97 on: December 31, 2007, 05:26:36 AM »

If I don’t know which church is the church, then how do I determine which early church fathers to accept.  Plus it is the same canned answer that any other member of any other apostolic church can give.

Ah, a kindred spirit.  I've asked the same thing many times.  You can go in circles trying to figure it all out.
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« Reply #98 on: December 31, 2007, 10:09:37 AM »

I am proud in a good sense that my family has been Orthodox for millenia. It gives me a sense of history and connection. Converts can graft into our tree, it's big enough for all.

Unity will not occur until people learn to trust each other. Witness the recent shenanigans in the OCA. Many don't trust the AOC because they see it a mvoing forcefully to consolidate power in the US.

Missions are fine, I have nothing against them, they should be encouraged. But when an AOC mission opens in the middle of five established EO churchs as in my neighborhood it makes you wonder what were they thinking.
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« Reply #99 on: December 31, 2007, 12:03:36 PM »

When I talk to individuals who are Protestant reject Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy it is usually because they don't believe that Biblical Testimony leaves room for such a tradition [of men] in the actual church. If we read Acts for example, we don't see a prolonged Catechesis nor do we see Baptism 'before' conversion and yet the tradition of the post-apostolic church appeared to suggest that the Biblical Testimony was recording the exception and not the rule...

I would say that 'this' is the primary rejection I see when talking to Protestants about Orthodoxy or even Catholicism and the post-apostolic church and church fathers.
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« Reply #100 on: December 31, 2007, 02:40:25 PM »

Personally, I think it's almost impossible to answer this question as such, simply because we're talking about a HUGE group of people, each with their own motivations and reasons for not converting.

That said, some of the common reasons I've heard are as follows:

*non-belief in a hierarchical church (not wanting to be told what to do, essentially, is how it was put to me)
*Sola Scriptura beliefs prevent them from allowing themselves to believe in tradition (as ignatius said)
*Orthodoxy emphasizes humility and repentance too much, and not enough praise and worship
*Orthodoxy is an ethnic religion, and they are not ethnic
*Orthodoxy is an old, dead religion that only exists in backward, uneducated countries (do I need to tell you how I responded to this one, considering that I am Greek and Greece is obviously known for being educated-- you know, Socrates and all them folks!!)
*Orthodox are too cocky and triumphalistic
*political reasons- such as the non-ordination of women or rejection of the homosexual lifestyle

Those are just a few of the ones I've heard.
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« Reply #101 on: December 31, 2007, 07:06:01 PM »

The one reason which I do not actually ever hear, but which is always implied is the following:

I KNOW BETTER.  Emphasis on "I".  How else can you have all these divergent church bodies?  Because they are groups of "I"s with their own take on Christianity.  When one "I" becomes disenfranchised with the rest, another Protestant congregation is formed.  How else can you explain how more than 30,000 Protestant organizations have cropped up in the world, most of which started less than 30 years ago?

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« Reply #102 on: December 31, 2007, 09:04:31 PM »

Hmm... sounds like the logical conclusion to the 80's "me" generation.  I don't think it's a coincidence that people who were taught to think of themselves first would start forming churches based mostly on their personal interpretation of God.
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« Reply #103 on: December 31, 2007, 10:06:15 PM »

Personally, I think it's almost impossible to answer this question as such, simply because we're talking about a HUGE group of people, each with their own motivations and reasons for not converting.

Quite true, and perhaps many are just not convinced that Orthodoxy is true, or have no desire to change. I was invited to the Orthodox church a couple of years before I converted, and my first thought was, "It exists?" But I put it out of my mind because, hey, I was happy where I was; why should I need to change? Only after searching Scripture and finding that it itself disagrees with sola scriptura did I find a break with my Protestant upbringing. I found that my Christianity would not allow me to remain a Protestant. This time when I was re-invited to come to the local Orthodox parish did I take it seriously. I was there the next Sunday and have been ever since.

So did I "reject" Orthodoxy initially? Perhaps. But it was due to nothing inherent in Orthodoxy, just a desire to not try to fix something that ain't broke.
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« Reply #104 on: January 01, 2008, 12:13:37 PM »

The one reason which I do not actually ever hear, but which is always implied is the following:

I KNOW BETTER.  Emphasis on "I".  How else can you have all these divergent church bodies?  Because they are groups of "I"s with their own take on Christianity.  When one "I" becomes disenfranchised with the rest, another Protestant congregation is formed.  How else can you explain how more than 30,000 Protestant organizations have cropped up in the world, most of which started less than 30 years ago?

Before any explanation, could you please post where you got that number and the dating?

Because I don't think that it's accurate, meaning no disrespect.

And just a a point on the "I know better", again not trying to be difficult, I've seen that attitude happen in RC and EO that then splintered off over the years, too.

Ebor

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« Reply #105 on: January 01, 2008, 12:15:51 PM »

Hmm... sounds like the logical conclusion to the 80's "me" generation.  I don't think it's a coincidence that people who were taught to think of themselves first would start forming churches based mostly on their personal interpretation of God.

But is that *really* what is happening?  Until more information is given as to where such a number is from (and I have an idea of where and that it is a misinterpretation by someone, not Scamandrius) such a conclusion does not follow logically.

Ebor
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« Reply #106 on: January 01, 2008, 12:30:15 PM »


And just a a point on the "I know better", again not trying to be difficult, I've seen that attitude happen in RC and EO that then splintered off over the years, too.


Sadly enough, this is absolutely true.  This is not an attitude unique to Protestants.  I've even had people tell me that it is the reason they rejected the EOC, because the fruit of the tree (from what they saw) was cockiness, arrogance, and a determination that we are always, absolutely, 100% right.  Whether we believe that or not (obviously, to some extent we do, or we wouldn't be here), it is a dangerous temptation for Orthodox.  We have plenty to back up our positions, but what we need to make a strong effort to retain is HUMILITY.  Cockiness and arrogance, I will venture to say, are NOT what Christ would want from His Church.  I would think He would want a Church who defends Her positions in truth and love, tempered with humility.  But maybe that's just me.  Smiley
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« Reply #107 on: January 01, 2008, 01:26:20 PM »

Before any explanation, could you please post where you got that number and the dating?

Because I don't think that it's accurate, meaning no disrespect.

Fair enough, Ebor.  I've come across this number and this year in various articles I've read mainly from Orthodox apologists over the years.  I cannot cite an exact source, however, if you give me some time, I will be happy to get that for you.  As for the time, since the cultural revolution of the 1960s, new independent churches have been forming left and right espousing any kind of ideology masqued in some sort of Christian belief.  Just something that happened with the times and not only here in the states, but all around the world.  Look at what is going on in South America where various numbers of "Pentecostal" groups have been taking from the RC strongholds of those traditionally Catholic countries.  How many are there exactly, I'm sure no one knows, but it is in the tens of thousands.

And just a a point on the "I know better", again not trying to be difficult, I've seen that attitude happen in RC and EO that then splintered off over the years, too.

Point well taken.  But again, I was going off of the numbers of Protestant groups that exist in this world.  They are unified in many ways, but there is plenty of strife between them to indicate that the going of their separate ways was because of the "I know better" crowd.  ANd you are correct that there are plenty of Orthodox and RCs who have also been corrupted by this.  One could argue (and I would not personally) that the SSPX, the Lefebrevists (sp), other sedevacationists and those bishops who ordain women priests and deacons are part of the "I know better" crowd among the RC.
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« Reply #108 on: January 01, 2008, 01:56:24 PM »

The one reason which I do not actually ever hear, but which is always implied is the following:

I KNOW BETTER.  Emphasis on "I".  How else can you have all these divergent church bodies?  Because they are groups of "I"s with their own take on Christianity.  When one "I" becomes disenfranchised with the rest, another Protestant congregation is formed.  How else can you explain how more than 30,000 Protestant organizations have cropped up in the world, most of which started less than 30 years ago?

Ah, the Barrett number. We've been here many times before. It all comes down to the same set of points:
  • 30,000 is an estimate he gave of the total number of all Christian churches. His last count (in 2001) produced 22,000.
  • Barrett's methodology creates a lot of phantom churches, because he counts each body in every country in which it appears.
  • "Protestant" is actually a subcategory in his taxonomy (he has six, as I recall: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, Independent, and Marginal). You are essentially counting everything that isn't in the first two categories as "Protestant". In fact, the vast majority of bodies counted are in the last two, and especially the last.
  • Far and away the majority of Christian groups are found in Africa.

Part of the reason you have them, I would remind you, is the same reason we have oriental and eastern and "true" and "genuine" and "catholic" and "old Catholic" and so forth churches.
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« Reply #109 on: January 01, 2008, 11:55:28 PM »

I haven't read the thread, but it's kind of a moot point.  Only a handful of Protestants will ever decide to become Orthodox.  In the end not that many people are interested in conversion of any kind.  In general, converts can often be rather annoying.

I'm sure there are many reasons people reject Orthodoxy, probably similar to why it is that many Orthodox people become Protestant.  Some of the largest Eastern European churches you'll find around are Ukrainian or Romanian Evangelical or Pentecostal; often dwarfing the size of many Orthodox parishes.

I can think of many reasons, both high and low brow that people would not be interested.  The elevation of folk piety to dogma, the reliance if not outright slavishness to the state, or the emergence of phyletism as normative for Orthodox ecclesiology are probably all reasons.  More mundane in my opinion are things like a like of active spiritual formation in most parishes or doing a bad job at educating kids.  I'm sure you could make a long list of why people wouldn't be interested.
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« Reply #110 on: January 02, 2008, 08:59:53 AM »

Heads up all of you Orthodox Christians whose families have been Orthodox for the last two thousand years....I highlighted a sentence by this dear inquirer in red because I never realized how confusing our jurisdictional situation was to inquirers until I joined a parish full of those new to the faith. Orthodox unity is the only way to solve these types of misperceptions. Many inquirers don't even know we are in communion with one another and we wonder why we only have 750,000 Orthodox Christians in North America.   Embarrassed

You know, that's true. If I did not know better, I would have come to the same conclusion. You have different jurisdictions in the US along national/ethnic lines, but they look more like different churches with different bishops overlapping the same territories.
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« Reply #111 on: January 02, 2008, 10:28:22 AM »

The word Reject has been used I think in a wrong sense. There is an active rejection or a passive rejection. Most non-Orthodox fall into the latter category. Why?

They don't know anything about Orthodoxy and really don't care to investigate it. They don't hate the Orthodox. Some more aggressive non-Orthodox would like us to convert to their pov.

If you make Orthodoxy more known, and there is nothing wrong with that, you may give non-Orthodox more reasons to reject Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #112 on: January 02, 2008, 10:46:22 AM »

You are right. Many Evangelicals have an almost reflexive distaste for any "canned" prayer. If it ain't extemporaneous, it ain't "real" prayer. Of course, you could ask why they sing "canned" songs and not make up the lyrics as they go along, but somehow "worship" is different than "prayer" to them.
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« Reply #113 on: January 02, 2008, 11:04:37 AM »

Ultimately you could ask "why did the Protestant Reformation happen?"  There's no one single answer.  Personally, I believe people have to accept some highly negative stuff in order to convert to Orthodoxy.  Not everybody is going to do that.  There's of course a lot of good in the church too, but people should be realistic.  It's not just some slam dunk obvious decision.  Ultimately I think you need to ask questions like why is the mayor of Kiev a Protestant?  Why are there huge numbers of converts to Protestantism in some traditionally Orthodox countries?

If you wanted to focus more on why American Protestants may not be interested, I think what's contained in this probably goes a long way to explaining it.  http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=179
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« Reply #114 on: January 02, 2008, 12:30:39 PM »

^^^ Frankly, I enjoyed this article very much and it to me confirms what I have always believed about American religion in that it is Gnostic with a "Christian" label. It is so pervasive in this country it is tacitly accepted as true "Christianity."

This is the core issue.  Individual Faith.  This is not found in orthopraxis; yet, I believe has infected the  Orthodox church. Heck It affected me. I was born and raised in the US and I would say that it has affected every American. I remeber attending one evangelical church who's motto was "God in you, the hope of glory."

Most Americans do not realize this nor - I believe -care to really think about their faith. If its quick or easy or sounds right then, heck lets do it. Try and dicuss this article with an average American who calls him or herself a Christian and they would probably look at you like you have two heads. "Gnostic . . . duh what's that ..."

This attitude has affected all US religions including non-Christian ones.

I believe that one reason people like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta+ are so appealing to many is that she is such a polar opposite of most "religious" people. She emptied herself to serve others.

I could keep ranting but I'll spare you.
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« Reply #115 on: January 02, 2008, 01:43:42 PM »

You know, that's true. If I did not know better, I would have come to the same conclusion. You have different jurisdictions in the US along national/ethnic lines, but they look more like different churches with different bishops overlapping the same territories.

Because I grew up in the church I couldn't see this until I began to meet inquirers on a weekly basis at the church I now attend. They have opened my eyes to how non-Orthodox perceive Orthodoxy. I find it amazing they even walk through our doors but there is alot of dissatisfaction out there in Protestant land. Many are searching. Most who come for a visit are looking for a faith that will not change weekly. They are tired of the superficial.
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« Reply #116 on: January 02, 2008, 02:00:55 PM »

You know, that's true. If I did not know better, I would have come to the same conclusion. You have different jurisdictions in the US along national/ethnic lines, but they look more like different churches with different bishops overlapping the same territories.

Would you come to the same conclusion about Catholicism when you ran across Latin/Roman, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Romanian, etc. churches all with their own bishops and jurisdictions in this country?
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« Reply #117 on: January 02, 2008, 04:18:50 PM »

Would you come to the same conclusion about Catholicism when you ran across Latin/Roman, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Romanian, etc. churches all with their own bishops and jurisdictions in this country?

If I had known about all those other churches. But they're pretty invisible!
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« Reply #118 on: January 02, 2008, 04:30:27 PM »

^^^ Frankly, I enjoyed this article very much and it to me confirms what I have always believed about American religion in that it is Gnostic with a "Christian" label. It is so pervasive in this country it is tacitly accepted as true "Christianity."

This is the core issue.  Individual Faith.  This is not found in orthopraxis; yet, I believe has infected the  Orthodox church. Heck It affected me. I was born and raised in the US and I would say that it has affected every American. I remeber attending one evangelical church who's motto was "God in you, the hope of glory."

Most Americans do not realize this nor - I believe -care to really think about their faith. If its quick or easy or sounds right then, heck lets do it. Try and dicuss this article with an average American who calls him or herself a Christian and they would probably look at you like you have two heads. "Gnostic . . . duh what's that ..."

This attitude has affected all US religions including non-Christian ones.

I believe that one reason people like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta+ are so appealing to many is that she is such a polar opposite of most "religious" people. She emptied herself to serve others.

I could keep ranting but I'll spare you.
I beg to differ with your interpretation of the article, though I do recognize how your interpretation is shaped by your personal experience of Protestantism.  Maybe you missed it, but the article's author actually stated his opinion that Mr. Bloom virtually ignores the majority of American Christians, who do not buy into the individualistic Gnosticism of such sects as the Mormons and Southern Baptists.  According to Dr. Marty, most American Christians still follow a more traditional understanding of God's transcendence and our place in a (quasi-)sacramental community.  Again, you appear to generalize a judgment of all or most American Christians from your limited experience of some in the fundygelical community--yet another example of how difficult it is to apply a broad brush to the whole of the Protestant traditions.
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« Reply #119 on: January 02, 2008, 04:36:46 PM »

Quote
fundygelical

Ah, yet another new word to look up!
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« Reply #120 on: January 02, 2008, 05:00:02 PM »

If I had known about all those other churches. But they're pretty invisible!

So is Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #121 on: January 02, 2008, 05:16:52 PM »

Peter

Fundygelical  laugh  Maybe they are not the "majority" but you wouldn't know that by their media prescence. Your right, I am limited, I haven't lived outside of the Northeast U.S. nor have I made time to attend every church denomination. But the fundygelicals, I not only used to be one but I run into an awful lot of them. Now I probably run inot a lot of Jews, Muslims, MainLine Protestants, but people in these groups ususlly do not go out of their way to state their religious beliefs at the same pace that fundygelicals.  In other words the fundygelicals may not be the majority but they sure give that impression on TV, on the street, on the radio and internet, etc.


Tamara:
Since when did beign "ethnic" become a problem for the Orthodox. When I was young many non-Orthodox visited our parish. To eat and dance at our socials, funerals, weddings, baptisms, you name it. Some even converted through marriage through our parishoners. We created a lot of good will that still stands today

I'll tell you when it became a problem. When a large influx of converts came into our church and, I might add, a vocal minority began sqwaking about it, swaying even some cradles.

Tamara, your people cherished and held the faith of the apostles when we Serbs were still worshipping trees.

Don't forget that. Not to make you too proud, but not to be ashamed in any way.
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« Reply #122 on: January 02, 2008, 07:50:17 PM »


Tamara:
Since when did beign "ethnic" become a problem for the Orthodox. When I was young many non-Orthodox visited our parish. To eat and dance at our socials, funerals, weddings, baptisms, you name it. Some even converted through marriage through our parishoners. We created a lot of good will that still stands today

I'll tell you when it became a problem. When a large influx of converts came into our church and, I might add, a vocal minority began sqwaking about it, swaying even some cradles.

Tamara, your people cherished and held the faith of the apostles when we Serbs were still worshipping trees.

Don't forget that. Not to make you too proud, but not to be ashamed in any way.

Dan,

I am not sure where you are coming from. I am not ashamed of who I am or of my ancestors. Why would you think that?
I am confused by what you have written.  Huh
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« Reply #123 on: January 02, 2008, 09:54:51 PM »

If I had known about all those other churches. But they're pretty invisible!

I wonder why that is the case. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #124 on: January 03, 2008, 02:16:15 AM »

Sadly enough, this is absolutely true.  This is not an attitude unique to Protestants.  I've even had people tell me that it is the reason they rejected the EOC, because the fruit of the tree (from what they saw) was cockiness, arrogance, and a determination that we are always, absolutely, 100% right.  Whether we believe that or not (obviously, to some extent we do, or we wouldn't be here), it is a dangerous temptation for Orthodox.  We have plenty to back up our positions, but what we need to make a strong effort to retain is HUMILITY.  Cockiness and arrogance, I will venture to say, are NOT what Christ would want from His Church.  I would think He would want a Church who defends Her positions in truth and love, tempered with humility.  But maybe that's just me.  Smiley

Bang on the mark, IMHO.  As Fr Chris has said before on other threads, you'll never argue someone into the Orthodox Church.  Well, very rarely, anyway.  Surely the way to create converts is to strive to behave in a Christ-like manner. 
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« Reply #125 on: January 03, 2008, 02:42:17 AM »

Bang on the mark, IMHO.  As Fr Chris has said before on other threads, you'll never argue someone into the Orthodox Church.  Well, very rarely, anyway.  Surely the way to create converts is to strive to behave in a Christ-like manner. 
How often it is that someone preaches a truly Christian message, yet is rejected because he/she showed the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22.  "Why do I want to be like you?"
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« Reply #126 on: January 03, 2008, 10:52:57 AM »

How often it is that someone preaches a truly Christian message, yet is rejected because he/she showed the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22.  "Why do I want to be like you?"

Very well said, and exactly my point.  The stories I hear from inquirers and converts, the way I myself have occasionally been treated in parishes (as a non-Greek speaker, before I learned a little Greek)... and sometimes the things I read on this forum ("sometimes" being the key word there)... it makes me think to myself, "Geez.  Why would anyone want to become Orthodox when this is the fruit of Orthodoxy that they see?" 
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« Reply #127 on: January 03, 2008, 11:04:18 AM »

"By your fruits shall you be known"
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« Reply #128 on: January 04, 2008, 11:23:20 PM »

Open mouth - Insert foot.

Does anyone feel that Orthodoxy's involvement in the ecumenical movement may be a factor in protestants not wanting to convert. Or perhaps not not seeing the need to convert? I mean there are all kinds of official documents and signed statements where the EO considers hetrodox to be in the church and have grace in their sacraments.  Thyterian (spelling) confessions. Epistles addresses to "churches of Christ" wherever they may be (addressed to non-orthodox.).  Epistles admitting grace outside the church.  The Orthodox church in Finland not that long ago applied to Constantinople to enter into communion with the Lutheran church in Finland.  Interpray, intercommunion.  I know folks from Greece who tell stories of Catholic converts being turned away.  To an outsider, this may will give the feeling that becoming Orthodox is not neccessary.  How else could they look at it?

Now y'all will shoot me up and remove this post.  But it is a serious question.
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« Reply #129 on: January 05, 2008, 09:20:26 AM »

The Orthodox Church claims to have grace in the sacraments we distribute; we do not claim to have any knowledge about sacraments given outside our Church. Therefore, it can be said that it is possible that other sacraments have grace. We do not know, and honestly we do not really care to know. If the sacraments that we participate in have grace, that is good enough for us.

I'm sorry that I can't answer any of your other questions; I'm unfamiliar with the Finnish church, either Orthodox or Lutheran. I've heard they have some different practices from other Orthodox churches, but I couldn't tell you what is different. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could answer this.
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« Reply #130 on: January 05, 2008, 02:59:32 PM »

Does anyone feel that Orthodoxy's involvement in the ecumenical movement may be a factor in protestants not wanting to convert.

Maybe others might have seen this, but I never have.  In alot of places there just aren't many or any EO people let alone parishes.

Ebor


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« Reply #131 on: January 05, 2008, 03:02:15 PM »

The Orthodox Church claims to have grace in the sacraments we distribute; we do not claim to have any knowledge about sacraments given outside our Church.

I've read some things from EO people (sometimes in smaller or splinter groups) that *do* claim such knowledge and that the knowledge is that there are no sacraments/sacramental grace outside of EO (or sometimes their particular set of EO)

Ebor
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« Reply #132 on: January 06, 2008, 03:44:51 PM »

^ Ask them how many non-Orthodox sacramental services they've been a part of. My guess it that it's pretty close to zero.
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« Reply #133 on: January 06, 2008, 04:47:20 PM »

Ultimately you could ask "why did the Protestant Reformation happen?"  There's no one single answer.  Personally, I believe people have to accept some highly negative stuff in order to convert to Orthodoxy.  Not everybody is going to do that.  There's of course a lot of good in the church too, but people should be realistic.  It's not just some slam dunk obvious decision.  Ultimately I think you need to ask questions like why is the mayor of Kiev a Protestant?  Why are there huge numbers of converts to Protestantism in some traditionally Orthodox countries?

If you wanted to focus more on why American Protestants may not be interested, I think what's contained in this probably goes a long way to explaining it.  http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=179

I think this comes closer to answering the question than anything so far presented. Perhaps a better and even more general question that would answer the question in the OP is, 'Why do certain societies tend towards certain religions?'

The answer to the question about why Protestants reject Orthodoxy is the same as to the questions about why Buddhists or Jews reject Orthodoxy. Religion is deeply connected with culture, nearly everyone dies in the religion they were born into; people don't convert to Orthodoxy because that is not their culture, because their families are not Orthodox, because their friends are not Orthodox, Orthodoxy is not the world view they were raised with, it is, in short, foreign. Thus, your average protestant isn't going to convert to Orthodoxy any more than he is going to convert to Buddhism or Hinduism.

Historically, and even today, where you see mass religious conversions are the same place you see mass cultural conversions. Why is protestantism doing so well in eastern europe? Because eastern europe is undergoing a cultural conversion and the Orthodox Church first of all isn't changing fast enough to keep up and secondly was too weakened by communism to be the effective presence it once was (it's still a powerful force, don't get me wrong, but not what it was before the rise of communism).

It's nort really about rejecting Orthodoxy, it's not even about Orthodoxy or religion at all, it's about accepting their own culture. As for the very small number of us who buck the trend and do convert to a culturally different religion, we're quite frankly insane if you make the reasonable assumption that sanity would be what the other 99+% of the world do and simply die in the religion and culture in which they were born.
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« Reply #134 on: January 08, 2008, 12:39:44 AM »

I've read some things from EO people (sometimes in smaller or splinter groups) that *do* claim such knowledge and that the knowledge is that there are no sacraments/sacramental grace outside of EO (or sometimes their particular set of EO)

Ebor

Maybe that was my EO downfall.  I spent my time in a very radical splinter group.  Maybe I should change my answer to this thread to be "I don't know what Orthodoxy is?"
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