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Author Topic: Why do protestants reject Orthodoxy?  (Read 37686 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 16, 2007, 06:14:28 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
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2007, 07:12:23 PM »

I was listening to Frederica Matthews-Green's latest Podcast yesterday entitled "Obnoxious Converts", and in it she discusses how we Orthodox Christians can appear obnoxious to other Christians, comparing us to teenagers going through the stage of differentiating and establishing their identity. Orthodox Christianity is different to other forms of Christianity, with a different world view, and it seems we have to repeatedly explain this difference- like teenagers who have to continually defend their unique and different identity in the face of the well meaning affection of family members who smilingly say "they're just going through a phase". And we all know how obnoxious teenagers can come accross as! I found it very insightful. You can download it here: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/frederica/
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2007, 08:36:24 AM »

Seraphim:

I think it depends on one's paradigm going into the practice of a faith. If you enter a faith (even Orthodoxy) with the intent of being fulfilled you are going to be sorely dissappointed. Now to my knowledge Orthodoxy does not promise fullfillment as many Protestant sects do. But, if after practicing Orthodoxy you gain a sense of fullfillment, then great. Maybe there are some others out there who also feel fulfilled. Many evangelical sects preach fullfillment. To me this an American abberation . . . life. liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . .

My thoughts for what they are worth.
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2007, 12:59:35 PM »

Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?

To be fair, they probably don't understand it (even after being exposed to it).  It is very different from what they're used to and the beliefs and doctrines they are raised with often run deep.  I'm learning things all the time about Orthodoxy that I didn't know before, and I expect that will keep happening to me.

Most Protestants have either not heard of Orthodoxy or know very little about it if they have.  I was in the latter category for the longest time.  I went to a Divine Liturgy when I was seventeen and thought it was great.  I couldn't stop talking about it for weeks after.  It made such an impression on me.  However, I had no concept of what it was I witnessed as it was that far outside my realm of experience to even adequately compare it to anything else.  This was pre-internet, so it wasn't as if I could have googled anything or could have gone to a Barnes and Noble or other chain book store (didn't have any of those in my city then) to get a book on Orthodoxy.  I wouldn't have known where to begin, but neither did I really care to at that moment anyway.  My exposure came at a time when I was perfectly happy being what I was and didn't want to convert to anything.

I don't think my experience is that far from others (especially those of us who never went to school to major in religious studies) who may happen across Orthodoxy.  Most people aren't looking to convert to anything and, while perhaps being impressed with what they see, don't necessarily find looking deeper and upsetting their entire world-view to be a pleasant concept.  After all, there is also a lot of misunderstandings out there from their denominations about what Orthodoxy is (if it is even discussed at all).  It is lumped in with Roman Catholicism, seen as idolatry/superstition/doctrines of men, or the ineffectual religion that those godless communists rejected (because if it was a representation of the 'true' faith then, obviously, there wouldn't be godless communists in the first place).

For me, it took a lot of 'stuff' happening and a lot of time (years) before I was ready to even think about looking deeper.  So, on that note, I would say that just because a person may be exposed to Orthodoxy today and seemingly reject it, who is to say where they will be a few years from now?   
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2007, 02:18:57 PM »

For me, the instant I encountered Orthodoxy I knew I had found home. 

And that was *your* personal experience.  That was not the case for me.  So personal differences seem to apply.

Quote
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).

I mean no disrespect nor discourtesy to you, but I would ask how you know that others are not "fulfilled" or that they are "pretending"?  Also perhaps for someone to say that they are "satisfied" might mean *for them* what you mean by fulfulled.

Quote
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.

I'm sorry, but I think that you are painting with rather a broad brush here.  Also saying that they are 'callous' or pretending is a judgement call that may not be the case with many people.  You were not 'fulfilled' Is it possible that other people *do* feel fulfilled in a Church that isn't EO?

Quote
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.

Perhaps they *are* fine. Or perhaps the other person is coming across poorly or in a superior manner or some other factor could be involved.

Quote
  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. 

Why?  Again this is making an assumption that by not being EO they are automatically not "fulfilled' "Super-great" etc.

Quote
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.

How do you Know that people who are Christians of a Protestant denomination ore "pretending" or "suppressing" or full of "doubt and confusion" or above all  in "denial"?  I'm sorry.  You wrote in your first sentence that

" I find it more and more difficult to remember what actually being protestant was like."

Is it possible that you have forgotten much? or are projecting your views now that you are EO back on *your* life and experiences and applying them to "Protestants" in general?

Quote
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.

 Sad Undecided

Please permit me to state, respectfully, that I, as an Anglican Christian, am not "scared".  I do not believe that EO is the only way to be Christian, nor for that matter is RC. 

May I ask what sort of "Protestant' you were before you became EO please? 

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2007, 03:01:06 PM »

If you enter a faith (even Orthodoxy) with the intent of being fulfilled you are going to be sorely disappointed.

By "fulfillment" I don't mean some "fuzzy-warm" feeling, but the fulfillment of the Christian life.


Now to my knowledge Orthodoxy does not promise fullfillment as many Protestant sects do.

So what exactly do we mean in the Divine Liturgy when we sing:
"We have found the True Faith"...?

or:

"That we may receive the King of all [in the blessed Eucharist]"...?


Possessing the True Faith and receiving the blessed Eucharist are the fulfillment of all things (not just "my" personal experience).
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2007, 03:07:26 PM »

I would say that just because a person may be exposed to Orthodoxy today and seemingly reject it, who is to say where they will be a few years from now?   

It was not my intent to imply that if someone doesn't immediately accept Orthodoxy then they never will.  (God forbid)
I was focusing more on why Protestants are (usually) very turned-off/not interested when they first encounter Orthodoxy.
Why do they (usually) immediately dismiss it?  What causes this knee-jerk reaction?


I pray ever day for my Protestant friends and family that they will fully embrace the True Faith and enter into the communion of the Orthodox Church of Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2007, 03:25:28 PM »

I, as an Anglican Christian... do not believe that EO is the only way to be Christian, nor for that matter is RC.


Rather than dissect your reply-post, I will simply say this:

You yourself have stated you are not an Orthodox Christian.  Therefore, you have never received the Eucharist in the Orthodox Liturgy.

I'm finding it hard to see how exactly you are in any place to be stating that Orthodoxy isn't the fulfillment of the Christian life in a way that no other "denomination" comes close to? 

Also, if you are so offended by such discussion (Orthodoxy being the only complete fulfillment of the Christian life) then why on earth are you on an Orthodox forum?
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2007, 03:31:46 PM »

Jadebrook

I know that as an Anglican you are considered to be Protestant. I felt that Seraphim was referring to the more fuzzy feel good wing of Protestanism that is mostly embodied in Evangelicals. (I know there are fuzzy feel gooders in the U.S. Episcopal church with its own evangelical wing) I myself do not think of Anglo-Catholics or High Anglicans (call it what you will) as Protestants in the main stream sense as found here in America.  Why to me you're two shakes of a dogs tail away from Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2007, 03:36:13 PM »

Why to me [Anglicanism is] two shakes of a dogs tail away from Orthodoxy.

So why is it so hard for them to come home to Orthodoxy?   Huh
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2007, 03:40:26 PM »

Judging by the large percentage of our parishioners who are former Anglicans, I'd say it's not.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2007, 03:58:10 PM »

Jadebrook

I know that as an Anglican you are considered to be Protestant. I felt that Seraphim was referring to the more fuzzy feel good wing of Protestanism that is mostly embodied in Evangelicals. (I know there are fuzzy feel gooders in the U.S. Episcopal church with its own evangelical wing) I myself do not think of Anglo-Catholics or High Anglicans (call it what you will) as Protestants in the main stream sense as found here in America.  Why to me you're two shakes of a dogs tail away from Orthodoxy.

I'm Orthodox.  I have never been Anglican or a member of TEC.  I was raised Pentecostal and was also Southern Baptist for a while, and did consider myself Evangelical.
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2007, 04:30:15 PM »

So why is it so hard for them to come home to Orthodoxy?   Huh

Maybe because they ALREADY feel they are home?  I think that was Ebor's point, who by the way, has been on this forum far longer than he.  While many may not feel at home, many probably still do.

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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2007, 05:03:31 PM »

So why is it so hard for them to come home to Orthodoxy?   Huh

Because it isn't "home".

As I have written in the past.  IF there came a time when I had to become EO it would not be going home.   I have never lived there.  My ancestors, physical or spiritual were not EO. 

It would be an exile.

It would be as a refugee in a strange land.


I assure you that I am not "offended" by your declarations as to what you imagine are the spiritual, emotional and psychological conditions of other human beings.  I disagree with you and your statements, and I question you on them which is a different thing.  Smiley 

You started this thread in the new Orthodox-Protestant Discussion forum.  I do not think that the admins established it as a place to make sweeping generalizations and accusations of others and not permit responses from persons whose Churches or motivations are being questioned. 

If you would prefer to not answer my question as to what denomination you belonged to when you were not EO for personal reasons, then I withdraw the question with apologies.  Would you perhaps indicate if you came from a particular back-ground such as Evangelical or Liturgical or "Main Line" or the like?  It might help in understanding where you are coming from.  Thank you in advance.

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2007, 05:04:35 PM »

Maybe because they ALREADY feel they are home?  I think that was Ebor's point, who by the way, has been on this forum far longer than he.  While many may not feel at home, many probably still do.

Thank you, Elisha.  You understand.  Smiley

Ebor
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2007, 05:17:28 PM »

I was listening to Frederica Matthews-Green's latest Podcast yesterday entitled "Obnoxious Converts", and in it she discusses how we Orthodox Christians can appear obnoxious to other Christians, comparing us to teenagers going through the stage of differentiating and establishing their identity.

Does that mean she's finally over that stage? (Facing East was extra-burbly, in my opinion.)
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2007, 05:22:17 PM »

Rather than dissect your reply-post

Why?  If it is a matter of available time, there is no rush.  If it is a reluctance to address my points, please feel free.  Discussion can help in understanding.

Why did you take out the middle of the sentences that you quoted, btw?  It takes away part of what I was saying.  I will repeat. I am not "scared" of becoming EO.  This was in response to your sweeping assertion that

"I can also sympathize with protestants who are just too scared to take such a giant leap of faith."  

It is not fear that is a reason that I am not EO, it is that I do not believe that it is the only way to be a Christian.


Quote
You yourself have stated you are not an Orthodox Christian.  Therefore, you have never received the Eucharist in the Orthodox Liturgy.

This is true and I have never said otherwise.  But I believe in the Real Presence and am a communicant, therefore I *do* believe that I have recieved the Eucharist in Anglican services.  Smiley

Quote
I'm finding it hard to see how exactly you are in any place to be stating that Orthodoxy isn't the fulfillment of the Christian life in a way that no other "denomination" comes close to? 

Well, I have not been convinced so far, and am yet a Christian.  I have known or know of non-EO/non-RC Christians who have lived devoted God centered lives.  I have read of EO who have left it for other branches of Christianity as they were not 'fulfilled' from what they said.  It is you who are declaring that those who are not EO are not "Fulfilled" that their lives are lacking or 'suppressed' that they are 'callous'.  I would say that you cannot know nor judge others and their spiritual conditions based on your own experiences or preferences.

Quote
Also, if you are so offended by such discussion (Orthodoxy being the only complete fulfillment of the Christian life) then why on earth are you on an Orthodox forum?

As I wrote above.  I am not "so offended" or offended at all.  I am questioning your views and disagreeing with your seeming universal application of what you *think* non-EO spiritual lives are like.

And this *is* the "Orthodox-Protestant discussion" forum after all.  Wink

Ebor

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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2007, 05:32:14 PM »

By "fulfillment" I don't mean some "fuzzy-warm" feeling, but the fulfillment of the Christian life.
I'm sorry, but it's generally not good practice to use a word in its own definition.  To define what "fulfillment" is, you need to use a word other than "fulfillment".
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2007, 05:43:42 PM »

So why is it so hard for them to come home to Orthodoxy?   Huh

Because it isn't home.

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If there's one thing here that I find intolerably presumptuous, it's when a convert such as yourself has the sheer gall to pass judgment on the faith of the hundreds of millions of Protestant believers of whom you know next to nothing. You know NOTHING of my faith. Nothing.

Home for me is Anglicanism. It is where I came back to religion, and for now it seems to be where I am called to stay. I touch God in Orthodoxy too, but for me it is a foreign place; to abandon Anglicanism for it would be to go into exile. Yes some see the Orthodox liturgy, and it is heavenly to them; and others see it, and they see a priest yammering indifferently, and people wandering about and paying no attention, and others wondering what they are doing at a Greek/Russian/whatever church. And some go to a Anglican service at its finest, and it is also like unto heaven; or it may be an off-putting swamp of snobbery and intellectual fashion.

And if you want to do theology, the fact is that there are a lot of Protestant theologians whom you are unprepared to confront. Theological triumphalism is the worst sort of religious folly, for one must either face the risk of really losing, or adopt the hubris of not really listening. The last is of course the more popular route.

Right now I have neither the time nor the stamina for an extended confrontation. But the arrogant presumption of your pronouncement could not pass uncondemned.

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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2007, 05:53:19 PM »

Thank you both, Ebor and Keble, for your contributions. One of the reasons I chose to leave Protestantism was that they kept presenting themselves as the One and Only True Way(tm). I found Orthodoxy refreshing in that there was no condemnation of anyone outside Orthodoxy. I was never instructed in what to believe, and I was never pushed to acquiesce to any doctrine I found unacceptable. I searched, and I found Orthodoxy to be a place I could call home. I wish that for everyone, whether that home is Orthodox Christianity or elsewhere. It will be up to God, not us, as to who is found righteous on the Day of Judgment--and only then will the boundaries of the Church be revealed.
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2007, 05:57:50 PM »

_Seraphim_,

I was a Protestant once.  I now call the Orthodox Church home (obviously), but I can understand quite well why many Protestants who have come in contact with the Orthodox Church continue to feel more at home in their own traditions.  No, it is not the deceiver "keeping Protestants blinded to the fullness of truth"; such a statement is triumphalistic and shows at best an excessively simplistic understanding of the real issues--I've been away from Protestantism too long to be able to speak as clearly as Ebor and Keble on this, so I'll let them explain what these issues are.  Part of the problem for many Protestants is the triumphalism they see in would-be apologists for the Orthodox Faith, such as you try to be, who in their zeal build strawmen and misjudgments based on anecdotal experience and ignorance.
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« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2007, 06:43:35 PM »

Does that mean she's finally over that stage? (Facing East was extra-burbly, in my opinion.)
Actually, no!
In the podcast, she specifically talks about herself and her own experiences of being obnoxious!
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2007, 06:44:13 PM »

Hi Seraphim,

I think there are so many very different Protestants that it is hardly possible to pinpoint one reason that would "fit" them all. Maybe one reason many of them feel comfortable where they are is that there is no clear understanding, or no clear belief that Church has been preserved in the course of human history. Those Protestants whom I know believe that "church" is just a purely spiritual union of all people who believe in Jesus Christ, or a purely spiritual union of all those who were "born again," "regenerated," etc. People have hard time accepting that Church is one, with its quite visible, tangible attributes (hierarchy/Apostolic Succession, Holy Mysteries), and you are either in it, or outside. In the modern society where the sense of historical continuity seems to be so murky and all but lost, it's easier to believe that acceptance of Chrst is just a personal decision, and once this personal decision is made and you live your faith based on this decision, nothing else matters. As one Baptist minister told me, "why would anything matter if I commune with Christ every single day of my life?"

Good to see you on OC.net, by the way! Best wishes to you.

George
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2007, 07:09:06 PM »

Quote
Good to see you on OC.net, by the way! Best wishes to you.

George

Seraphim,

I echo George's sentiment that you are here. You may have stepped on some toes...too bad.
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2007, 07:58:23 PM »


MODERATION:
I have split off a tangential post in this thread asking for help in understanding Anglicanism and started a new topic with it here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13426.msg185622.html#msg185622
Please keep threads on track, and avoid using them as a "catch all" for anything.
Thanks,
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2007, 08:38:35 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


I actually understand many of your points. I am not Orthodox, but I can see what you mean. I didn't really feel like a Christian. What I mean is that I believed what I thought was required, but I neither lived nor truly understood it. I think the main reason alot of Protestants do not want to have anything to do with Orthodoxy because they have to deal with many of the same issues as in Catholicism. High veneration of the Theotokos, prayers to and intercessions from the saints, venerating icons and relics, the Eucharist as the actual body and blood of Christ, the seven or so sacraments, justification by faith and/through works, Marian feasts like the assumption, Mary's immaculate and sinless life, Patristic understanding of original sin and the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins, and so many more teachings and beliefs...Alot of Roman Catholics are under the presumption that more Protestants choose Orthodoxy than Rome because they avoid having to answer to the Pope and dealing with indulgences and such. I strongly disagree. As Alexei Khomiakov said, "Rome and Protestantism are on the same side of the coin..." He couldn't have been more correct. To be Orthodox requires a total change of thought and with it totally different questions. I accually find alot of evangelicals open to a more orthodox understanding of their faith, especially among people of my age...The problem comes because Orthodoxy requires new thinking and new terms and Rome requires submission to her ways and beliefs. Also, most Protestants were at one time Catholic, so even believing in similar teachings causes them to close the door...That's how I see anyway.
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2007, 08:47:16 PM »

By the way, it is rather difficult to say why Protestants are not Orthodox because of the variables in beliefs. Whoever mentioned that, I agree with you...
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2007, 08:52:08 PM »

Because it isn't home.

[wrath]
If there's one thing here that I find intolerably presumptuous, it's when a convert such as yourself has the sheer gall to pass judgment on the faith of the hundreds of millions of Protestant believers of whom you know next to nothing. You know NOTHING of my faith. Nothing.

Home for me is Anglicanism. It is where I came back to religion, and for now it seems to be where I am called to stay. I touch God in Orthodoxy too, but for me it is a foreign place; to abandon Anglicanism for it would be to go into exile. Yes some see the Orthodox liturgy, and it is heavenly to them; and others see it, and they see a priest yammering indifferently, and people wandering about and paying no attention, and others wondering what they are doing at a Greek/Russian/whatever church. And some go to a Anglican service at its finest, and it is also like unto heaven; or it may be an off-putting swamp of snobbery and intellectual fashion.

And if you want to do theology, the fact is that there are a lot of Protestant theologians whom you are unprepared to confront. Theological triumphalism is the worst sort of religious folly, for one must either face the risk of really losing, or adopt the hubris of not really listening. The last is of course the more popular route.

Right now I have neither the time nor the stamina for an extended confrontation. But the arrogant presumption of your pronouncement could not pass uncondemned.

[/wrath]

I had a teacher in high school who was a high church Anglican. I found that she and I agreed on most everything, which was a warm welcome in the midst of nearly drowning in a sea of Calvinism (no offense to those who are Calvinist). She even invited an Orthodox parishioner in to school to talk about Orthodoxy (they were studying "Crime and Punishment") and I took off from study hall to sit in and listen...
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2007, 09:07:09 PM »

Judging by the large percentage of our parishioners who are former Anglicans, I'd say it's not [hard for them to come home to Orthodoxy].

Well, glory to God!  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2007, 10:06:52 PM »

IF there came a time when I had to become EO it would not be going home... My ancestors, physical or spiritual were not EO. 
 

Your ancestors (as well as mine) were Orthodox for 1,000 years!

It would be an exile.
It would be as a refugee in a strange land.

The Lord said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you… and I will bless you.”
(Genesis 12:1-2)

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country.
(Hebrews 11:8-9)

God’s elect are strangers in the world…
(I Peter 1:1)

I assure you that I am not "offended" by your declarations as to what you imagine are the spiritual, emotional and psychological conditions of other human beings…

While I do not doubt that everyone who seeks the Truth/Christ will surely find Him, I also, as an Orthodox Christian, cannot believe that anything on earth other than the One True Orthodox Church contains in the completeness of Grace.  This isn’t to say that others who love Christ have never experienced Grace… however, Christ breathed the fullness of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.  If we are not in communion with the One Apostolic Church then we have not yet experienced this fullness, although we may have had a foretaste (consider the story of Cornelius in Acts 10... he already had a relationship with God, but the Apostles brought him into the fullness of Grace).

You started this thread in the new Orthodox-Protestant Discussion forum.  I do not think that the admins established it as a place to make sweeping generalizations and accusations of others and not permit responses from persons whose Churches or motivations are being questioned.

I suppose I assumed too much in believing that non-Orthodox on this forum actually have an interest in converting to Orthodoxy and wouldn’t be very upset to hear the “correctness” of Protestantism questioned.  Most protestant potential converts I’ve ever encountered are very open to criticism of Protestantism… because that’s why they are even talking to me about it in the first place! 

Just 3 hours ago I was in public and had a random encounter with a woman (who later told me was Episcopalian).  She overheard me talking with someone else about Orthodoxy… showing them some icons.  The lady came up and began asking many questions about Orthodoxy.  She was genuinely interested, and seemed very open to any position of Orthodoxy that conflicted with her current Episcopalian beliefs.  Why?… because she was interested in Orthodoxy.  Why?… because she was growing weary in her current beliefs and everything she was hearing about Orthodoxy gave her hope.

Would you perhaps indicate if you came from a particular back-ground such as Evangelical or Liturgical or "Main Line" or the like?  It might help in understanding where you are coming from.

I started out Southern Baptist.
Then Assembly of God… Methodist… Presbyterian… Evangelical… Pentecostal… Charismatic… Quaker/Friends… Lutheran… Seventh Day Adventist… Messianic Jew… and finally, about 20 different versions of “non-denominational.”
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2007, 10:18:53 PM »

I hope this doesn't offend you Ebor or Keble but personally I do not see the high church Anglican's as protestant
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2007, 10:26:15 PM »

I will repeat. I am not "scared" of becoming EO.  This was in response to your sweeping assertion that

"I can also sympathize with protestants who are just too scared to take such a giant leap of faith." 

It is not fear that is a reason that I am not EO, it is that I do not believe that it is the only way to be a Christian.

So you are afraid of the possibility that the Orthodox Church is the only way to experience the fullness of the Christian life here in this earthly life.

I believe in the Real Presence and am a communicant…

But are you in communion with the authentic Apostolic Church that traces its lineage in unbroken continuity back to Jesus Christ Himself?

I have known or know of non-EO/non-RC Christians who have lived devoted God centered lives.

My post never implied that people outside of the Orthodox Church are incapable of experiencing Grace… the point is that the fullness of Grace does not exists outside Orthodoxy.

I have read of EO who have left it for other branches of Christianity as they were not 'fulfilled' from what they said.

I have also read of 2,000 years worth of history that shows that these people have left the One True Church… regardless of how they felt about it.

I would say that you cannot know nor judge others and their spiritual conditions based on your own experiences or preferences.

True.  I don’t base them on my own experiences or preferences… I base them on 2,000 years of history, the Holy Tradition, and the Holy Scriptures.  I am not going to forbid someone to love Christ just because they aren’t part of the One True Church.  However, I am also not going to just sit by and not try to help those who wander around the wilderness when I have found the Promised Land (even if many refuse to acknowledge they are even in the desert in the first place).
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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2007, 10:59:00 PM »

A couple thoughts...

Seraphim, I am glad you are here. Please stay depsite the polemics that occasionally occur.

True, most of our ancestors on this board belonged to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church 1,000 years ago, but who is in touch with these ancestors.

I am more in touch with my ancestors from say the 19th century on. On my father's side all my ancestors were Orthodox from before St. Sava and so I do feel a connectedness.

But I also understand how someone who is English/German in background and raised ANglican or Luthernan would feel like a stranger in a strange land in an Orthodox Church, even if in his/her head they knew the Orthodoxy is the "true faith... worshipping the undivided trinity..."
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« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2007, 01:22:16 AM »

Seraphim, I am glad you are here. Please stay depsite the polemics that occasionally occur.

aserb,
thank you for your kind words... but I wouldn't let a few people's comments discourage me from posting on a most informative, active, and over-all friendly Orthodox site.
 Wink


But I also understand how someone who is English/German in background and raised Anglican or Lutheran would feel like a stranger in a strange land in an Orthodox Church, even if in his/her head they knew the Orthodoxy is the "true faith... worshiping the undivided trinity..."

Minus the word Anglican, you are talking about yours truly!   Wink

I guarantee you that I felt extremely awkward and Orthodoxy felt extremely strange to me when I first encountered it. 

However, I knew the Treasure of Orthodoxy was completely worth dealing with this (temporary) discomfort.

As Christ said:
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28,30)
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« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2007, 01:38:07 AM »

a convert such as yourself has the sheer gall to pass judgment on the faith of the hundreds of millions of Protestant believers…

You must be mistaking “me” for Orthodox dogma which states that the fullness of Grace does not exist outside the authentic Apostolic Church.

[wrath]...
[/wrath]


This sounds like a remarkably similar reaction as was described in my original post on this thread:

“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…”


Red/wrath flags indeed
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« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2007, 01:41:49 AM »

It will be up to God, not us, as to who is found righteous on the Day of Judgment...

True, but this does not change the fact that right now in this present earthly life it is only Orthodoxy that possesses the complete fulfillment of Grace.
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« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2007, 01:55:54 AM »

No, it is not the deceiver "keeping Protestants blinded to the fullness of truth

Really?… so is God all for people being told the truth mixed with falsehood?

such a statement is triumphalistic and shows at best an excessively simplistic understanding of the real issues

So do you consider every single Orthodox statement that “Orthodoxy is the ONE TRUTH FAITH” to be “triumphalistic”?

Part of the problem for many Protestants is the triumphalism they see in would-be apologists for the Orthodox Faith, such as you try to be, who in their zeal build strawmen and misjudgments based on anecdotal experience and ignorance.

I never claimed to be an “apologist for the Orthodox Faith”… no more than anyone else on this forum.  In a most sarcastic manner I must say:  Undecided thank you so much, as a fellow Orthodox brother, to be so quick to side with the non-Orthodox in a discussion about the Orthodox dogmatic fact that it is only the ORTHODOX Church that possesses the complete fullness of Grace. 
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« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2007, 01:57:06 AM »

Good to see you on OC.net, by the way! Best wishes to you.

George


So good to see you too, George!  Wink
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« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2007, 02:00:26 AM »

Seraphim,

I echo George's sentiment that you are here. You may have stepped on some toes...too bad.

And so good to see you also, Αριστοκλής.  Wink

Yes, it seems toe-stepping is virtually inevitable this day and age... a time when most all notion of absolute Truth is collapsing.

Glory to God for His One True Orthodox Church!
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« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2007, 02:42:11 AM »

Really?… so is God all for people being told the truth mixed with falsehood?
Are you the one to tell Protestants the truth?  If the fullness of truth can be found only in the Orthodox Faith, which I do believe with all my heart, then it NEEDS neither you nor me to defend it.  The Church has been in existence for 2000 years.  Lest the Lord returns in our lifetimes, the Church will certainly continue to minister to the world long after you and I have died.

Quote
So do you consider every single Orthodox statement that “Orthodoxy is the ONE TRUTH FAITH” to be “triumphalistic”?
No.  I just consider the statements you made to start this thread triumphalistic in tone.

Quote
I never claimed to be an “apologist for the Orthodox Faith”… no more than anyone else on this forum.
You don't have to.  Simply presenting an apologetic for the Orthodox Faith is in itself a tacit claim to be an apologist.

Quote
In a most sarcastic manner I must say:  Undecided thank you so much, as a fellow Orthodox brother, to be so quick to side with the non-Orthodox in a discussion about the Orthodox dogmatic fact that it is only the ORTHODOX Church that possesses the complete fullness of Grace. 
Nah.  I have no problem with the dogmatic content of your message; I just find the proud tone of your message rather unsettling.  The content is something beyond either you or me, but the tone is all you.


I've been a member of this forum long enough to know that Ebor and Keble have been exposed to a lot of our discussions regarding the ills and falsehoods we see in Protestantism, and they have both shown remarkably thick skins to be able to join our discussions without showing anger or irritation in their posts.  I originally didn't give much consideration, good or bad, to this thread's OP, but when I saw both Ebor and Keble visibly upset at what they called a haughty tone in your OP, I knew something was not right and that I needed to take a closer look at what you had written.  Whereas I agree with the basic content of your dogmatic statements, I also agree with Ebor and Keble that you could certainly have found a much more diplomatic way to express your message.
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« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2007, 03:03:22 AM »

As an example of the RIGHT way to discuss why Protestants reject Orthodoxy, I suggest you read the following thread and pay very close attention to how posters there related to Ebor.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12803.30.html
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« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2007, 03:06:03 AM »

Ebor has helped me understand Christian love and belief more than any poster (minus the priests) and I will always remember that.
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« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2007, 09:23:22 AM »

I hope this doesn't offend you Ebor or Keble but personally I do not see the high church Anglican's as protestant

There is a lot of positioning about the degree to which Anglicans are Protestant. There seem to be about four basic positions:

  • Anglo-Catholics aren't Protestants; the rest are.
  • They are all Protestants because they don't identify any earthly hierarchy as infallible.
  • They aren't Protestants, but a third flavor.
  • They aren't Orthodox so who cares?

"High" vs. "low" tends to have more to do with liturgical style than with theology per se, though there is a correlation. It doesn't work the way one might expect. The "low" church strain is the most Protestant in that is most strongly resembles the way other Protestants do things, but in church and in the seminary (as it were). The Anglo-Catholics can be like RCs (or rather, like what the RCs would be like if they had any dignity/taste  Undecided ) in all but fealty to the Pope. The liberals tend to be very high in church, but so do a lot of the conservatives.
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« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2007, 09:53:57 AM »

You must be mistaking “me” for Orthodox dogma which states that the fullness of Grace does not exist outside the authentic Apostolic Church.

So the dogma is wrong. And I believe the canonical expression is that there is no grace outside of your church; at least that is what Cyprian said. "Fullness" is a concession needed to avoid flat refutation by those who came upon grace elsewhere.

You cannot duck responsibility for the judgments you pass on others. Blaming them on your church's dogmas simply makes you culpable for adopting those views and making an issue out of them.

Besides, the truly unacceptable part of your screed is the pseudo-psychological rationalization of your bragging about finding the True Church. You don't love me enough to take me seriously.

When it comes to fear and doubt, the real issue for me is not between churches; it is between church and unbelief. The whole "come home" sales pitch relies, at its heart, on the ne plus Protestant notion that there is a fundamental core of faith whose allegiance can be transferred from my (supposedly false) to your (supposedly one true) church. Well, if it can, then it is grace independent of any church. But if it cannot live separately, then tearing it loose from Anglicanism destroys my reasons for faith in the first place.

The tactic of attributing your opponent's anger to "doubt and confusion" is self-serving and at its heart dishonest. If you would search in your mind somewhere besides your cache of rationalizations, you might discover the truth that you don't really know much about my thinking/feelings on religion. Indeed, your claims are essentially a faulty excuse for not having to bother to find out what I really think and feel. And perhaps that is threatening; because if you had to take me seriously, then you would have to take my criticisms and comments seriously too. As it is, you earned my anger for treating me as a prop to your self-exaltation rather than as a human being.

Perhaps you are among the fortunate few who are so obtuse as resist any disturbance to your faith from the faults of your own church. Those who aren't tend to live to regret expression of the setiments you espouse here.
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Ebor
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« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2007, 12:14:52 PM »

I hope this doesn't offend you Ebor or Keble but personally I do not see the high church Anglican's as protestant

No offense at all, Prodromas.  Smiley

Ebor
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"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
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