Ben, your questions are serious. Many on these boards must be so much stronger in faith than I am, to be able to laugh at the contents of this site, but I found it deplorably slanderous, which is a sin placed among the great sins of the Holy Scriptures. I might be too new to Orthodoxy to do the best job of answering your question, but being that I have been a minister of the Gospel for many years within the nondenominational baptists and charismatic parts of the Church in America, maybe I can offer some minor guidance to you to help a bit on your journey.
I did notice the site administrator also took swipes at 50,000 baptists and also Billy Graham (http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/billy_graham_exposed.htm
), so it does seem the author is intent on attacking many who are called Christians besides those of the ancient apostolic Orthodox Church of Antioch, Corinth, Phillipi, and all members of the One body of Christ in Heaven and on earth. I hope the website author repents before death, or He will find shock of Christian reality on the other side of death, when He sees believers reverentially honoring those whom Christ honored, such as the one that "for all generations will be called blessed", the one who in Luke 1:41-44 is called The Mother of God, by a holy woman filled with the Holy Spirit, even while Jesus was still in her womb, the Theotokos, The God Bearer. She called on Jesus as God her Savior, so according to the Orthodox Faith, the Theotokos is the humble woman of God who has been exalted to be The Holy Temple of the Living God as well as holds a special place in the Eternal Plan of God that no other human ever has. So, Orthodox Christians are called to honor The Theotokos, Mary, the Mother of God, in one sense that she is the God bearer and the Holy Temple of the Living God, who humbly received God Her Savior into her life and womb (as no other human ever has). It is not because an Orthodox ever follows a blasphemous quadrinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit and (God-forbid) Mary, as the site tries to slanderously accuse the humble believers following Christ our God. There is no room within Orthodox and original Christian faith of the early church for anyone to make Mary or any other saint an idol equal to God, in any shape or form, and what I remember of reading the wonderful writings from the 7th ecumenical council, by St. John of Damascus, he clearly states how important it is that Christians flee from idolatry, while embracing the reality of Hebrews 11 and 12 through holy represenations (icons), so we never forget that we have a great cloud of witnesses before God and those holy ones who have gone before us, those who are now in the presence of God, worshipping Him, and enjoying the wonderful eternal blessings of His Love, Light and Truth. Godly believers in the Eternal Presence of God, where Perfection reigns, are remembered through holy representations, the icons, and help the faithful to keep the faith as they have, as well as ask Godly believers to intercede on their behalf while in God's Presence. This can only be done because of the One Mediator between God and man who gave His life as a ransom for many. There is no other Mediator like Jesus, cause no one else delivered us from death by His Resurrection and No one else is God The Son. In an evangelical mind, the word mediator and intercessor should be understood interchangeably when they apply, but never is the One Mediator's Perfect work of God through Christ our LORD "replaced" by an interecessory prayer request to any of His Saints, who have also been made perfect by Christ's Perfect Mediation as their Savior.
Ben, I have been preaching what I thought was a Bible-based message for almost 23 years of my Christian walk, in various nondenominational, southern baptist, reformed and charismatic churches. Without knowing it, I had been heavily exposed and influenced often by the writings of Lewis Sperry Chafer, Matthew Henry, Kenneth Wuest, Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Charles Spurgeon, G Campbell Morgan, Michael Horton, JI Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and many other popular Christian teachers and authors influencing the way American nonOrthodox often interpret the Bible. In my 3 years studying within a nondenominational seminary, mostly influenced by Lewis Sperry Chafer and 100s of other modern evangelical leaders of the last 200 years, I had never been told that the apostles had personally trained pastors to take charge of protecting the Church against the evil one, and avoiding "private interpretation" of the Bible, by passing along correct understanding of the faith through Oral Paradosis (2 Thess 2:15 "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter".)
I can now better understand Franky Schaeffer's argument that it makes more sense that when there is a major disagreement between the writings of a pastor personally trained by the apostles or his delegated man, versus a writer who tries to privately interpret the Bible 1800+ years removed from the apostles, we should give higher credence and respect to the Christian Bible-based or Christian-Church taught interpretation of the ones who were taught by the apostolically trusted leaders of Christ's One Body. It is not enough to read the scriptures as mormons, and Jehovahs witnesses do, and privately interpret God's Word according to one's modern "tradition", even when we try to cover up our "tradition" that goes against Christ's earlier teachings to the faithful Church. One must understand and follow God's Word according to its Author's intent and The Holy Spirit gave us faithful men, gifted and entrusted by Him, to guide the Bride of Christ, along that Holy path.
My shock in reading the early church writings was that although I was often right on target with early Christians about many theological issues (Christ's eternal deity, The Holy Trinity, Trust in the canon of Scriptures, ...), I have also often been wrong about some of the basic understanding of the Christian faith that the apostles (and those they personally trained and trusted to lead the Church) taught the Church of God.
I was baptized Roman catholic, but even after returning from my time under islamic governance, I could not return to it mainly because priests were unable to address many important doctrines Biblically, like the belief in "intercession of saints", papal infallibility, Mary calling God Her Savior, etc.. I have since had experiential knowledge of the charismatics in several Assemblies of God, Calvary Chapel as well as other nondenominational churches.
The pictures on the site you found present a woman kissing the Cross of Christ as if it is evil idolatry. I can kinda understand why someone with a zealous and fervent desire to avoid all idolatry, might misinterpret that act, but as one who has now "kissed the Christian Cross", I can tell you for certain that there is not even a smallest hint of idolatry in my heart and mind when I kiss the Cross. I do it out of reverence for Christ's Holy Sacrifice and the power of the Cross and the Resurrection that overcame the devil and death to open the door of salvation for all of us. I do it because I humbly bow to the Love of Christ our God, who shed his blood for me that I might be free from the bondages of my sin and am forever thankful for His wondrous and great sacrifice. If I kiss the hand of the priest who is the minister of God, I do it out of respect for His Office, being the humble representative of Christ to us. In the Orthodox faith, my understanding is that the priest is in no way less of a "sinner" than we are, but rather a recipient of God's Grace to represent Christ to the Church during the divine Liturgy and one who can also choose to follow God as His Lord or make the wrong choice like the sons of Eli did. Priests and Bishops are accountable to the Holy Spirit who is the protector of Christ's Church and has at times led His People, the Christian Faithful, to stand up to unfaithful powerful and influential bishops like Bishop Arius. My understanding of all the Christian historical writings so far, is that no Bishop is infallible, whether Roman or Constantinople or Protestant. All of us are accountable to God the Holy Spirit to keep the Orthodox faith, while praying and supporting ministers of Christ, who are faithfully serving God's body so humbly and graciously.
We have only one High Priest, Christ our God, and one Salvation Mediator between man and God, our LORD Jesus, who died for us and was risen from the dead to bring the Hope of Eternal Life to mankind. In 1 Timothy 2:1-8, one sees the context of the passage as very important to reading the scriptures according to the apostolic understanding. In verse 1, The Holy Spirit inspired writer of the letter to Pastor/Bishop Timothy, calls all believers to intercede (lower mediation form :-) ) for one another, pray for one another, and lift up holy hands and pray everywhere.
1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty; For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
In Revelations 5:8, Christians in the presence of God are offering prayers to God and represented by incense in the Holy Temple of God, just as it was in the vision the Prophet Moses received over 1000 years before the one John received.
To pray and intercede for one another is a High and Holy Calling that does not lower Christ's Perfect Mediation Service on our behalf, but rather exalts God's Perfect Sacrifice, since it is by God's gift that Christians with God the Holy Spirit can offer prayers to God in Heaven and on earth, although those in Heaven have a great advantage of beholding God with no worldly distractions.
While this teaching may seem elementary and very basic to those who understood it for much longer than I have, I hope it will provide a small light along your path. As a humble servant of God, who has not officially been baptized and Chrismated into The Orthodox Faith yet, although I have been accepted to become Orthodox soon, I might have made some mistakes in my presentation, but I am providing you with the light I have at the moment with hopes that you would find God's path to His Presence in Christ's Church.
One great resource for me has been the presentations by Bradley Nassif, on http://www.ancientfaithradio.com/podcasts/nassif
and Matthew Gallatin's series on impartation and sanctification modes of interpreting the Bible vs. the way the Christian Orthodox Church has always seen the walk of Christian Faithful in his online audio messages entitled virtual righteousness found at http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/pilgrims/P32/
. Many other great Orthodox messages on that site, especially for those of us needing special help in understanding our similarity and differences between Orthodox original Christian way of life and a modern "westernized" version.