Wow, Cleopas, there is a lot here.
I have left evangelicalism and and on the road but not quite there to
Orthodoxy, so, this is a good test for me as well to see if I represent
the Church's position.
So, please Orthodox posters, correct my misconceptions about
the Orthodox faith, and maybe I'll learn something too
Also, this will be broadbrush. (And please forgive any misconceptions
that I have about the Orthodox faith.)
1. Salvation is, on the human side, by faith alone in Christ alone. Not by works.
Both faith and works are needed for salvation, but ultimately it is God who judges, not us.
Plenty of scripture verses support the role of works, (my fav Rev 20:12). Faith without
works is dead. Also "salvation" to Orthodox is more than the heaven/hell decision.
2. Believers baptism, by immersion. No formula required.
Infant baptism, by immersion: specifically 3 times (by Father, Son, Holy Spirit.) Other forms of baptism in the name of the Trinity are accepted, even if done outside the O churth. Infant baptism is early church practice.
Baptism is part of the salvation process
3. Believers are called and enabled to live a life of holiness and godliness. These include complementary works that validate faith. Known sin, not repented for, separates a believer from fellowship with God (which is salvation). If he should die that way, he dies outside of Christ, in his sins, and must face the wrath of God and His punishment. Thus all believers are called and enabled to perfect holiness, to be conformed more fully to the image of Christ, to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and to live without sin in this present world.
We like sanctification too.
4. I believe that salvation is received and initiated at the moment of conversion -- which consists of repenting of one's sins, turning from them to follow after God by faith in the life, person, and atoning work of His Son. Thus one who has repented and believed on Christ is a convert, a disciple, born again.
The best shorthand here I know is "justification plus sanctification equals salvation (using your definition of salvation)"
Born again, by the way, we believe refers to baptism (John 3:5), an historic church position.
5. Upon the sinner's repentance and trust in Christ He is justified, sanctified, and regenerated through the agency of the Spirit of God. Thus he is forgiven of his sins, has his standing before God made acceptable, is cleansed of his sins and set apart to a life of devotion to God, and is made a partaker of the nature of God receiving new spiritual life.
We call this the juridical view of salvation, which we don't accept as a complete definition of salvation. Salvation
"formulas" we feel are limiting on God's judgment. My favorite scripture is Matthew 19:25-26 When the disciples heard this [rich man and camel through needle], they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
6. The lord's Supper as a transcendent and fulfilled form of the Passover celebration. Thus a sacred memorial meal in remembrance of the sacrificial offering of Christ once for all. I believe it should be kept at least once per year in accord with the Jewish passover festivities and feasts.That it's elements are unleavened bread and wine(sufficiently diluted)/grape juice.
Communion is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, which is the historical view of communion since the church began. (See John 6.) Sorry, but we also believe in closed communion. This is based on the idea that the proper
communion should come from the church the Jesus Christ established (Matt 16:18) which we believe is the O church.
7. I believe that washing the saint's feet was a practice among the NT believers. I do not hold that it was an ordinance. But it does seem to have been practiced as a special experience among the community of believers. Therefore believers today can and may choose to use such a method as a form of worship or Christian service.
I'm not entirely sure about this one. But foot washing is not done on Sundays and most holy days.
8. I believe in the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the church. Besides the more general functions of the Spirit this means I believe in the present and continued operation of the spiritual gifts, the miraculous, etc. I also believe that one may receive the baptism of the Spirit, and that it is post conversion.
We believe the Holy Spirit indeed resides in the Orthdox Church. However, we dare not limit the Spirit's presence outside of the church. The phrase we use is "We know where the Holy Spirit is, we dare not say where He isn't"
As for baptism of the Spirit, we believe this is conferred at the ceremony of conversion (called Chrismation) or
at baptism in the case of infants.
9. I do not believe in tithing as a NT teaching or practice. Though I do not see such forbidden under the NT, if a willing gift to God and His church. But I do not see such compelled by the NT. Yet, giving of one's means to the service and glory of God, to the church,m to one' neighbors, and the needy, as we are able is certainly endorsed, taught, and expected of the believer via the NT.
Not sure about this one. But I think it's fair to say the church likes receiving money
10. I believe each local church should ideally be overseen by a plurality of elders, assisted by deacons when or as needed.
There are three scriptural offices: bishop, presbyter (now called priest in O church), and deacons. The O church has three offices today. A single bishop (sometimes called an overseer in Scripture), is charge of a geographical area and they should not compete or overlap. We also believe that synods should meet to decide certain topical issues. The last synod of the entire undivided church was in 787 A.D. (7th Ecumenical Council). Finally, decision in the Orthodox decision are made conciliarly, no one person has the power to act alone (on important decisions).
11. I believe all believers are one in Christ, and thus should be one in corporeal/organizational fellowship. I believe we will be prior to the return of the Lord.
We believe that believers should belong to the Orthodox Church, because when Jesus said "upon this rock, I will build my church" (Matt 16:18), he did not intend for there to be more than one church. By the way, this does not mean all in the O church will be saved (Parable of wheat and tares) nor that all those that are outside the O church will be damned.
12. I believe in the rapture of the church prior to the Second coming proper. I have my opinions concerning just, when and how all that will play out. But the important thing is that Christ will personally, bodily, return in power and glory.
13. I believe in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ over all the world.
14. I believe in the national restoration and salvation of Israel.
We are free to hold divergent views on eschatology. I would say, however, that amill is the prevailing eschatological theory in the O church. (Personally, I am amil as well).
15. I believe in a literal state and place called hell. All those who die in their sins are confined there until the resurrection and last judgment. I believe they will be raised, face God in judgment, be confined to the lake of fire where they will forever be separated from fellowship with God and in torment.
16. I believe the disembodied spirit's of believers go to be in the presence of Christ in heaven upon death, where they also await the resurrection, and their bodily glorification at the coming of Christ. That they will in habit the new earth, in perfect fellowship with Christ throughout eternity future.
Oh boy. This is a hard one. We too believe that the saved spirits go to Christ in heaven upon death and are indeed alive. Especially important is the community of saints. These saved spirits will on the last day be reunited with their perfected body, and will become incarnational like Christ, (both body and spirit). There may be a second chance for those who didn't make it the first time at the second (final) judgment (Rev 20).
17. I believe marriage is a lifelong state that is not severed except by death. I believe that God dislikes, but permits on some occasions (i.e. in the case of fornication, abandonment, etc.) divorce. Albeit remarriage, besides to one's proper living spouse, is never permitted.
We like marriage and it is a sacrament in the church. As for divorce and remarriage, I'll have to leave it to others for that one.
18. I believe the bible (both the OT and NT), especially the NT, is the ultimate authority and rule in all matters of Christian belief and practice.
We believe the Bible is inspired as well, but the Church is the ultimate authority, because it is indeed Christ's body.
19. I believe in original sin, whereby man became subject to death, physical and spiritual. Thereby man is mortal and separated from physical life by death. Also man is sinful and separated from fellowship with God by inbred corruption and death. Man is not sick in sin and trespasses, he is dead in them.
We do not believe in original sin (as posited by Augustine) but do believe that Adam's sin brought death to humankind.
We inherit death from Adam, but not sin. (I think it is called the "ancestral sin.")
Now let's see how well I did.