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Author Topic: Coptic Church and Evangelical Christianity  (Read 8451 times) Average Rating: 0
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OrthodoxSitkan
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« on: March 14, 2008, 08:14:30 PM »

I have been listening to Coptic sermons on the net and many of them sound like Evangelical messages or a mix of Oriental Orthodoxy and Evangelical Revival messages ala www.orthodoxsermons.com and you tube.  To what extent have Coptic priests and laity been affected by Evangelicalism or Pentecostalism?
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2008, 10:10:45 PM »

Welcome to the forum, OrthodoxSitkan!

Are you from Sitka?  If so, you guys have an amazing icon over there.  I saw and venerated the icon of Our Lady of Sitka a couple of years ago when it was here in Los Angeles.

With regard to the sermons, is there one in particular which you would like to link and comment on?  It may make it easier for our Coptic brothers to respond.  Just a suggestion.   Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2008, 10:22:34 PM »

Thank you for welcoming me dear moderator:

I am from Sitka and attend St. Michael's Cathedral.  Yes, the Sitka Theotokos is glorious--I have felt the presence of God while praying in front of that icon. 

I am very grateful to learn more about Oriental Orthodoxy, since all I have known is Byzantine Orthodoxy.

One of the videos that caught my eye was "Revival Through Praise" by St. Mark's of DC:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5456224205259243525&q=coptic+orthodox+revival&total=27&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

The preaching was really dynamic--I just haven't heard Orthodox priests do sermons like that Grin

The priest is really energetic angel  People wouldn't be able to sleep in Church Wink

It just seemed like a camp meeting.  If they reach people, hey, that is a good thing.

Alexis
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2008, 01:59:14 AM »

I know what you mean, OrthodoxSitkan, that screamed "Baptist" at me right from the first few seconds.
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2008, 10:51:17 AM »

I have been listening to Coptic sermons on the net and many of them sound like Evangelical messages or a mix of Oriental Orthodoxy and Evangelical Revival messages ala www.orthodoxsermons.com and you tube.  To what extent have Coptic priests and laity been affected by Evangelicalism or Pentecostalism?

Ever seen a Muslim khaatib/waa'iz "preacher"?

The Copts have mainly influenced by their situation, a milieux where Christianity and Christian objects are harder to come by than in the "Christian" West.  So they will accept things like Sunday School, Protestant devotional materials etc, but they incorporate them (not always totally successfully, IMHO) into the context of their Church.  Ditto from the EO and the Latin church (there's a lot of bad Western-wanna-be icongraphy, but also now a lot of great neo-Coptic iconography).  Three things are a big import from the Protestants:

1.  The Bible in Use is the Van Dyke Translation, which was done by the Protestant missionaries.  This has led to an ignorance of the Septuagint books, although they are in the Coptic Services, tradition, etc.

2. I've been in a number of churches where verses of the Bible are plastered all over the wall, along with the citation number of the verse, as in Coptic houses.  The former can also be attributed to the use of Quranic verses in the dominent culture, the latter is definitely the Protestant twist.  These Coptic places, also have icons, though (unfortunately in the early 90s, the last time I was in Egypt, a lot of it was bad Westernized art).

3. The Protestant translation of the Our Father, due to number 1.  The fact that most Copts have an ambivalent relationship to the Arabic lanuguage has contributed to this.
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2008, 12:20:05 PM »

Very interesting to see how cultural context affects religious praxis.  So, Copts cannot really be accused on not being in the tradition when they are trying to survive in an Islamic culture.

Thank you.
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2008, 09:48:28 PM »

That website contains sermons from two priests (both at the same church).  They are very far from theologically sound.  There are a couple other priests across north America that don't have accents, are young, and are very popular with the youth, but not as theologically educated as would be ideal.  These priests are very popular, so they're very over represented on the internet.  But they are not the norm.

There are priests that preach Roman Catholic teachings without knowing the difference.  There are priests that teach Evangelical stuff (I don't even want to call it theology) without knowing.  But there are also many great priests teaching true Orthodoxy with deep theology and spirituality.  They don't tend to be as popular, but that's pretty normal, Christ wasn't that popular either with the people chose a murderer over Him.  Keep in mind that the Coptic Church is extremely young in North America, and there are a lot of growing pains with trade offs between ordaining more experienced people who maybe don't relate as well to the culture, or younger people who relate to the culture better but maybe don't have all the experience they should first.

H.G. Bishop Youssef in the southern states is extremely spiritual and knowledgeable.  He has established as seminary, and there's lots of hope for improvement in the next generation.

For an example of a priest who teaches solid Orthodoxy see some of the sermons on www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca .   Don't just judge us by a couple young priests who the youth have made very popular, but pray for these young priests who have been given so much responsibility, and the temptations that go with fame.

Edit: try his Orthodox Spirituality series: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/media/media_sermons/spirituality/spirituality.html , they're great.  Based on one of his books, Practical Spirituality available here: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/publications/books/books.html

It is true though that the state of our icons does not compare to those of the Eastern Orthodox.  Many are just western art used as icons.  The neo coptic icons to me seem disconnected with what came before.  There are some very beautiful ancient Coptic icons though.
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OrthodoxSitkan
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2008, 12:21:34 AM »

Thank you for the time you took to reply.  I love the website for St. Mary's, very well put together.  I am downloading sermons right now and will listen to them tonight.

It seems that the struggle for Orthodoxy exists for both our Churches.  In the OCA we are trying reclaim more of the Tradition as well and it is sometimes hard to find traditional preaching.

I loved the icon screen in the church--very beautiful.  I have attended a Malankara Church once and even little exposure to the Oriental Orthodox Churches is very enriching to me.  I am moving to Naples, Florida in the fall and there is a Coptic Church nearby that I will be visiting. 

Could you do me a favor?  What seasonal greetings do Copts give each other?  Also, what is the proper name for priests?  I think it is Abouna, but am not sure.

Thank you.

Alexis
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2008, 06:21:57 AM »

In France there is the French Orthodox Church.  It is under two bishops who were previously Roman Catholic Cardinals, but converted to Coptic Orthodoxy a long time ago.  I've heard good things about it, and am told that many of the Coptic youth go to it.  There are also Coptic Orthodox Churches.  I've been to one near Paris, and it was appalling... They had some nice icons, but the sermon was all about how evil the french are for using their brains, and the people laughed at the thought of a non-egyptian being really Orthodox.  I'm told there are very good priests there, one with a ph.d, but I must have picked the wrong church to go to Smiley

Yes, Abouna is correct.  Abu means father, and the na ending means of us, so literally it means our father, but it is typically used now the same way people say father for a priest in English.  Father is also perfectly acceptable here, so I would imagine pere would be there Smiley  We kiss the priest's hand cross, then hand when greeting him.

Traditional greetings are Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is Risen! for after Easter, and Christ is amongst us! for after Christmas, the same as most Churches as far as I know.

Hope you enjoy the sermons!

St. Mary's in Kitchener is obviously a rennovated former Protestant Church... Here is a picture of the church that was built under the same priest before he was transferred to Kitchener to give you a better idea of how it should look Smiley  http://cccnet.ca/Menu/Gallery/PhotoAlbum/Church/StAthanasius_Inside.jpg
http://cccnet.ca/Menu/Gallery/PhotoAlbum/Church/StAthanasius_BossomOfFather.jpg

Thank you for the time you took to reply.  I love the website for St. Mary's, very well put together.  I am downloading sermons right now and will listen to them tonight.

It seems that the struggle for Orthodoxy exists for both our Churches.  In the OCA we are trying reclaim more of the Tradition as well and it is sometimes hard to find traditional preaching.

I loved the icon screen in the church--very beautiful.  I have attended a Malankara Church once and even little exposure to the Oriental Orthodox Churches is very enriching to me.  I am moving to Naples, Florida in the fall and there is a Coptic Church nearby that I will be visiting. 

Could you do me a favor?  What seasonal greetings do Copts give each other?  Also, what is the proper name for priests?  I think it is Abouna, but am not sure.

Thank you.

Alexis

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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2008, 12:13:05 PM »

Dear Friends,

I hesitated in responding to this...however, I am also a "young" (Is 37 young?) Coptic Priest in the US (San Diego) and I strive in all my sermons to be 100% Orthodox and Patristic...my sermons can be judged here:

http://www.stdemiana.org/audio.html#FatherKyrillosIbrahim

I think the site orthodoxsermons is as one poster noted overly emphsized on the internet since they also regulalry post videos on youtube and so on.  Having said that, it is true that many Copts (including clergy) have been affected by protestant theology and approach. On the other hand, there is a new crop of priests, under both HG Bishop Serapion and HG Bishop Youssef (the two Diocesan Bishops in the US), that are heavily traditional Orthodox and patristic.

In the Diocese of Los Angeles we have many servants who are studying at St. Vladimirs and Holy Cross, as well as a "young" priest now who after finishing his Masters at Holy Cross is getting his PHD in the Fathers.

God bless...please pray for me.

Kyrillos
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2008, 08:51:24 PM »

Thank you for your input and for the link to your sermons, Father!  I hope to see you post here more often.   Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2008, 08:58:15 PM »

For an example of a priest who teaches solid Orthodoxy see some of the sermons on www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca .   Don't just judge us by a couple young priests who the youth have made very popular, but pray for these young priests who have been given so much responsibility, and the temptations that go with fame.

Edit: try his Orthodox Spirituality series: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/media/media_sermons/spirituality/spirituality.html , they're great.  Based on one of his books, Practical Spirituality available here: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/publications/books/books.html


Thank you for the additional resources, Jonathan!
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2008, 09:10:20 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Father, bless!

It is good to have you here Abouna Kyrillos!  I look for forward to listening to your semons--what a blessing.  I will pray for your new priests that they are as zealous for Orthodoxy as you.  I ask your prayers and blessing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jonathan, I am listening to the sermon called "the abomination of desolation"--I really felt Abouna's concern for his people, what a good priest.  I really appreciated how Abouna suggested that Orthodox not go after every miracle, such as the milk drinking statues or oil streaming icons--but to 'test the spirits', and that the greatest miracle was the Eucharist.  I am excited about listening to more.  --Interesting story about the French Cardinals becoming Copts--God leads us in the direction He would have us go.  I was sure the greetings were similar, I guess what I was asking is how do you say them in Coptic or Arabic/Egyptian?  angel Thanks in advance. Grin  I LOVE the iconostasis, but isn't the icon screen a Byzantinization for the Coptic Church--or is there some breathing room in that department, I mean the bishop can approve a parish to put one in? I guess I thought the holy curtain, please tell me the proper name Grin ,  was the thing used to seperate the Altar area from the Nave in the Oriental Churches. The "books" section of the website is glorious, but the Euchologian link is not working--is there a way we can let the webmaster know about this or can you tell him--I would like to see the service book. Cheesy  I did have a Coptic book of hours at one time, but never a service book.

It was a pleasure discussing your Church with you.  I will probably have more questions in a day or so. Wink

Thank you.

In Christ God,


Alexis









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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2008, 04:27:20 AM »

H.G. Bishop Youssef in the southern states is extremely spiritual and knowledgeable.  He has established a seminary, and there's lots of hope for improvement in the next generation.
This is a problem
That would mean in the United States there would be two Eastern Christian schools of thought:
Chalcedonian (St. Vlads, St Tikhons) vs. non-Chalcedonian thought.

If these seminaries were to flourish it would be blatantly obvious to reject texts like John Behr, Michael Pomazansky and Schmemman. But then rely heavily on Bar Hebraeus', Gregory Abulfaraj, Father V.C. Samuel, and Paulos Mar Gregorios,  as pinnacle Oriental perspectives. What would happen if the seminarians reached a modernist low with dissertations on Father Matta the Poor and Fr. Anthony Coniaris as reliable sources? Now add in Byzantine politics: forced modernist seminarian thought overriding traditionalists  (Crestwood v. Jordanville or  Holy Cross Brookline vs. Thessaloniki ) in the mix and it becomes shmorgasboard inter-communion with the non-Chalcedonians. Hence people like lubeltri and PJ prove their point that traditional apostolic Christianity is best seen in light of multiple expressions with theological thorns sticking out as an asset to "Traditional Latin Papal Christianity"

Our Heiarchs have not gone any further than the Geneva Agreements.They have not addressed  that schism stays with a church long after reconciliation. But I'm getting the feeling Coptics are just only starting to put their cards out on the table in America and it may lead to competing seminaries.

This could also hamper joint-services with the Byzantine Churches.  As there are ecclesiastical rites would become awkwardly imposed so Pan-Orthodoxy is out of the picture.

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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2008, 08:32:37 AM »

This is a problem
That would mean in the United States there would be two Eastern Christian schools of thought:
Chalcedonian (St. Vlads, St Tikhons) vs. non-Chalcedonian thought.

If these seminaries were to flourish it would be blatantly obvious to reject texts like John Behr, Michael Pomazansky and Schmemman. But then rely heavily on Bar Hebraeus', Gregory Abulfaraj, Father V.C. Samuel, and Paulos Mar Gregorios,  as pinnacle Oriental perspectives. What would happen if the seminarians reached a modernist low with dissertations on Father Matta the Poor and Fr. Anthony Coniaris as reliable sources? Now add in Byzantine politics: forced modernist seminarian thought overriding traditionalists  (Crestwood v. Jordanville or  Holy Cross Brookline vs. Thessaloniki ) in the mix and it becomes shmorgasboard inter-communion with the non-Chalcedonians. Hence people like lubeltri and PJ prove their point that traditional apostolic Christianity is best seen in light of multiple expressions with theological thorns sticking out as an asset to "Traditional Latin Papal Christianity"

Our Heiarchs have not gone any further than the Geneva Agreements.They have not addressed  that schism stays with a church long after reconciliation. But I'm getting the feeling Coptics are just only starting to put their cards out on the table in America and it may lead to competing seminaries.

This could also hamper joint-services with the Byzantine Churches.  As there are ecclesiastical rites would become awkwardly imposed so Pan-Orthodoxy is out of the picture.



Uh, what are you trying to say?  Your post makes no sense to me at all.
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2008, 11:30:58 AM »

I LOVE the iconostasis, but isn't the icon screen a Byzantinization for the Coptic Church--or is there some breathing room in that department, I mean the bishop can approve a parish to put one in?

It actually has become part of Coptic tradition.  Every Coptic Church has an iconostasis, although many do say that it was adopted from Byzantine tradition.  Others, like my own priest, but I haven't really researched, said that we have always had an iconostasis, but instead of Christ on the right side, it would be St. John the Forerunner baptizing Christ immediately, giving the whole Church from left (Theotokos with baby Christ on her lap), altar (Christ the Pantocrator) and right (St. John the Forerunner baptizing Christ) a deisis look of the Church.  In my pilgrimage trip to Egypt this summer, I hope to see an ancient Coptic Church with that style to prove a unique Coptic iconostasis style.

God bless.
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2008, 03:34:18 PM »

Uh, what are you trying to say?  Your post makes no sense to me at all.

3 points:

-non-Chalcedonian writers go in deep contrast to writers like Alexander Schmemman and  Georges Florovsky with writers such as Eric Steppa and V.C. Samuel. They are anti-Chalcedonian and these writers have a polemical slant on the position of ecumenicity of Councils. Do we honestly believe our bishops would re-assess each other if one does not confront polemical writings as divisive? The greater issue of ecumenicity of councils is dependent on the importance of Canon Laws, Liturgical Life and even customs that go in contrast with their Byzantine counterpart.

- what defines the standards of a semanarian to graduate with a quality Christian education? The education at St. Vladimir can be best described as a synergy between Eastern academics and spiritual improvement on the life of a student.  But Copts and Orthodox Christians would be better off doing that in a "spiritually enlightened" University with their Catholic professors in Notre Dame's Divinity Dept or at it's elitist schools at Oxford. It makes no difference for a post-graduate to get educated. The only thing a seminary provides is a motivation to assist parishes and metropolitans but research scholarship should end up at the University level. In fact lets be honest how many seminarians were tempted to take their post-graduate education somewhere else besides Crestwood?

-What the Copts are trying to figure out are to maintan their Egyptian status in the U.S. And as usual every ethnic jurisdications both EO and OO undergo internal conflcts with a Diocese in the US to fix their nationally homogonoized issues arising at home. To the Orientals in America  they prefer not to unite under a single metropolitan as SCOBA insists. But with Egypt they're modernism as of late is not Latinization but much more Protestant-like notions of Missionization of Muslims to prevent the decrease of nominal Copts. Now should Copts embrace African Greek Orthodox Seminarians to learn from them? Somehow the Coptic Pope would  oppose that type of Byzantinization.

All in all there will be a conflict of interest with two types of Seminarian schools in the US. Perhaps EA has the right to teach me a few, but I was just stating seminaries would be a step back considering that a rift that would be created with traditionalist vs. modernist vs. non-chalcedonian.
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2008, 08:27:31 AM »

I didn’t realise enthusiasm and liveliness in preaching the word of God were uniquely characteristic of the Protestant movement. I might have to start seriously re-considering the idea that the Holy Spirit only began working in the fifteenth century…

I personally like Fr. Anthony’s sermons. Most of the time I do not feel like he is telling me something I do not already know, at least on a theoretical level, but there have been many moments where he’s been able to take a particular point or message registered abstractly in my mind and instil it in my heart with a force capable of effecting some real practical change. I think his dynamism, which is but a reflection of his personality, zeal and sincerity, and no less the work of the Holy Spirit, has a large part to play in that regard. More important than my own personal testimony, however, is that of the multitude of youth who testify to their lives being changed by Fr. Anthony’s sermons. A sermon does not have to be sophisticated, formal, or academic, or defined by any particular tone, volume, or style to be "Orthodox"; it simply has to be in Spirit and Truth, and the fruits of Fr. Anthony’s sincere efforts to draw hearts and lives to Christ through the Church speak for themselves in that regard.

Ultimately, the Coptic Orthodox Church has been blessed with a wonderful diversity of personalities amongst her clergy; a diversity which meets the diverse needs of a diverse congregation. Some priests are soft-spoken, others speak with a prophetic-like harshness; some are very down-to-earth, others are towering figures who command great respect and authority; some are simply good story-tellers, others are very well-read; some deliver formally prepared and well-researched sermons, others deliver impromptu sermons largely based on their own extensive, profound and intimate personal experience in the Church; some have brilliant rhetoric, others have a very limited vocabulary and poor English; some have a wonderful sense of humour, others are overly stern and serious. And, ofcourse, some are a mix of all the above.

In the end, what any of this has to do with Orthodoxy vs. Protestantism is beyond me. I think some people need to relax a little bit; quit being so unreasonably critical. If one is inclined to pass overly offensive judgment on a sermon within the first few seconds of it, then I would suggest that it is they who have the problem.

I leave you with Fr. Anthony’s most recent sermon on last Sunday’s Gospel reading: http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=8110487547464490315&q=coptic&total=2087&start=10&num=10&so=1&type=search&plindex=0 For those of you who are not inclined to judge this sermon within the first few moments of it (and in this particular sermon Fr. Anthony somewhat deliberately gives one that opportunity—he begins by ostensibly stating the obvious until he makes a rather important qualification), and who, rather, are concerned, and genuinely at that, with taking some—any—spiritually edifying message away, listen to the entire 22 minutes of it with an open mind and heart, and a spirit of humility and simplicity, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2008, 10:03:19 AM »

I once attended a Bible study with Fr. Anthony. Although I personally didn't feel there was anything life-changing in what he said, I appreciated the way in which he was able to communicate his thoughts to people, particularly the youth, and the obvious zeal for God with which he did so. So I can certainly understand why he's so popular.

As for Protestant influence. The topic of the Bible study was an Old Testament verse that was also the title of a Protestant book he had just finished reading, and much of what he said came directly from that book (I'm afraid I forget the title). He mentioned quite a few authors, but not one of them Orthodox, let alone a Church Father. And instead of ending the meeting with a Coptic hymn, everyone sang a few Protestant songs that both the D.C. people and the London people knew off by heart (the same songs I hear every time I visit a Coptic Church in a non-liturgical setting).

That being said, I cannot remember anything Fr. Anthony said that I would consider heresy - in that respect he was perfectly Orthodox.
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2008, 11:36:55 AM »

The topic of the Bible study was an Old Testament verse that was also the title of a Protestant book he had just finished reading, and much of what he said came directly from that book (I'm afraid I forget the title). He mentioned quite a few authors, but not one of them Orthodox, let alone a Church Father.

He's a priest, i'm sure he has sufficiently reasonable discretion to be able to select and use a non-Orthodox author to meet an Orthodox end. If the Apostles and Fathers of the Church could consider certain pagan writers to make some of their points (and not all of them were doing so simply as an evangelistic tool) why can't we consider what some Protestants have to say? I once would've considered the idea scandalous, and bought into the whole, "but we have everything, there is no need to resort to any author outside of the Church," to justify a refusal to consider anything produced beyond the strict boundaries of the Church. Whilst I certainly do not renounce the Church's self-sufficiency, I no longer find it good reason to stubbornly refuse to consider outside sources. Let's admit it; some Protestants have some really great things to say on non-controversial/universally-accepted truths. Ultimately, it's the way the point is made and not the essence of the point itself which is being relied upon. I doubt the books Abouna used had introduced any novel ideas that cannot be found in, or at least supported by, any Orthodox author, whether ancient or modern.

In the Western diaspora, the concern of our clergy in regard to the youth in particular is practically-oriented--they truly, really, deeply, want to preserve the youth in the love of God in the bosom of the Church, and honestly, as far as I can see, most parishes are doing a great job of that. Certainly, Protestant texts are not the reason for such success; the point i'm trying to make is that if a Protestant text is on the rare occasion used or endorsed it's really most likely because of its effectiveness in popularising and making attractive (especially to a younger audience) certain moral, spiritual, and, dare I say, at times doctrinal truths. Anyway I do not want to dwell on this issue, especially since I do not want to give the impression that using Protestant texts is in any sense the normative means of our clergy in attracting youth--that's certainly not the case.

Quote
And instead of ending the meeting with a Coptic hymn, everyone sang a few Protestant songs that both the D.C. people and the London people knew off by heart (the same songs I hear every time I visit a Coptic Church in a non-liturgical setting).

See above. At the youth meetings (non-liturgical services) held in my parish, I have never noticed them using any Protestant texts, but it is often the case that they would begin the meeting with prayer from the Agpia followed by one or two songs from a collection of "western" (i'm not sure if they're Protestant or RC) pop-religious-type songs. Back in my "fundamentalist" days, I confronted the youth leader and demanded that we chant only Coptic hymns. "But we've just had vespers, full of Coptic hymns, and we've just chanted the Agpia prayers, and finished with 'Je Nai Nan', what's wrong with singing one or two of these songs after all that, they're really quite lovely, and catchy and the youth enjoy them?" I tried to compromise with him, "okay, we'll stick with the tunes, but let me change the words." He gave me a strange look, but ultimately he referred me to one of the songs we sang on the night and said he'd consider any modifications I wish to make. I sat down with the lyrics: "Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me..." ...Okay, couldn't really do much with that...Next. "Father God I Wonder how I managed, to exist without the knowledge
of Your parenthood and Your loving care..." ...Couldn't do much with that either...In fact, I couldn't really do much with anything. I gave up, realised how stupid and pedantic I was being, and the next Friday night instead of being a pharisee, I humbled myself enough to try and sing along, and hey, I enjoyed it. And yeah, I still love Orthodox hymns, still love the Fathers and the Church and i'm still Orthodox--as with everyone else who sings along.
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2008, 12:41:47 PM »

I've found myself wrestling with this too:  the "protestant" type songs.  My usual parish does not do anything like this but I have been to one that does.  I don't particularly like these songs or style of praise as you might say, but I can't necessarily find any fault in it.  Are there anything wrong with the songs or their lyrics?  The one's I've heard, no.  I often sing the Trisagion to myself in my car while I'm driving, and I suppose there is nothing wrong with singing one of these songs if I were so inclined.

I would think that there is nothing wrong with them as long as they are not included in the mass or sung on the altar.  How many of us listen to pop music in our spare time or at social gatherings.  Certainly these types of religious songs are better than those.
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« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2008, 07:25:47 PM »

He's a priest, i'm sure he has sufficiently reasonable discretion to be able to select and use a non-Orthodox author to meet an Orthodox end. If the Apostles and Fathers of the Church could consider certain pagan writers to make some of their points (and not all of them were doing so simply as an evangelistic tool) why can't we consider what some Protestants have to say?

First I have no problem with Coptic sermons at all. God bless the Coptic Orthodox Church for putting her voice to act on the Gospel word to preach to all the world. You will find much less form the rest of us in wide distribution unfortunately.

But this argument you are posing here should be reconsidered in my view.

I know what you intend.

But purely there is only one source for the Holy Church and that is that which is of the Holy Church. If we allow each other to be so liberal in sighting the writtings of people who are the enemies of the Holy Orthodox Church than we are opening up a new and unfounded chapter. Where will the line be drawn?

I do not say enemy as to mean a dangerous element. I have heard and read some pretty 'Orthodox' things from protestants and others. I say it to mean that the Holy teachings of the fathers are challenged or ignored by these people. The teachings of the fathers are the soul of Holy Orthodox Church.

Paul may have had to use various examples and writings that were developed by those who at his time were outside the true faith and thus had NO real authority for basis in preaching even if the knowledge these writers offered had some incidence of 'pureness'. But Paul's' world was not one wrought with those who believed that they are the 'church' verses those who ARE the Church which is the case today. Paul preached to gentiles who knew not the true God. Different case altogether.

So writers of so-called 'christian' thought or commentary or any other commentary that by some stroke of natural inclination and thought purport an idea that is vastly relevant to truth as the Holy fathers would teach it is really only 'incidental' and not necessarily connected to the whole truth of the teachings of the Holy Church which comes to us unchanged from our fathers.

The lack of this vital connection is the downfall of such and the trap that is set for us and our fall from the WHOLE truth.

Again; I have no issue with Coptic sermons. I love anything I have heard to date.

I have downloaded dozens of sermons on varying topics. I find some a little contemporary in style. Not my call to say anything contrary here since the effort and intention is clear in my mind.

I do pray that we not loose sight of the fact that we must check ourselves with how and what we use to project Gods word. This includes how we act and live.

To criticise the Coptic Church for being or having protestant leanings in their preaching methods means that we could also criticise any other Orthodox community who does not for example follow strict adherence to eastern traditions or keep up with too much modern architecture for the church buildings, or no longer have the women cover the head in Liturgy or, have men and women standing together in liturgy, or use Icon styles common to secular art and other practices like eater egg hunts and halloween parties et cetera an so on. The list is as big as we want to make it.

I do not mean to offend anyone. I used 'Easter egg hunt' as an example because I have experienced so many non-christians that persue this activity. They love it. You ask them do you worship Jesus Christ? You get every kind of answer except...YES! You here..."This is a kids holiday for me".

Sad...

I am sure that there are people who some how keep Christs' Resurrection as the centre focus of such activities; the sad fact is that the practice today overwhelmingly is marred in secularism; shrouded in the Peter Cotton, and the Easter Bunny culture. The Lord warned us to "not to cast our pearls among swines". The obvious point is that the swine cannot know nor care to know about the precious nature of the pearls and will simply destroy them. Our faith as Christians carry this way. We must be careful (with diligent) to not share with others the precious gift we have received if the gift is not appreciated as we appreciate it. They make our holy traditions as past times and  distractions from the truth leaving little hope of demonstrating anything to others that Christ is Risen for the saving of the world.

All these and more we must all check and defend not just how preaching is done.

If we fall from these holy virtues which has been held from the earliest time than we are slowly loosing the 'key' to our fathers understanding of the faith of The Holy Orthodox Church; which is One, Holy and Apostolic in Christ.



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« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2008, 01:36:08 AM »

Deacon Amdetsion, my comments really only apply to the specific context which they were made in consideration of: a clergyman on the very rare occasion using some western material/songs to appeal to a younger audience who have been born and raised in the western diaspora. I certainly did not intend my comments to serve as open-blanket endorsements and approvals of Protestant works in general.

All I am saying is that as clergy they have the prudence, training and knowledge (or at least should—and if they don’t, then that’s a big problem) to be able to be selective about what they use and to incorporate and apply it in an Orthodox context to meet an Orthodox end. You could almost say that they are taking something outside of the Church and transforming or sanctifying its use to assist growth and development in the Church—not because it is necessary to do so, but simply because it may be helpful/useful to do so in a particular context. Again, I can’t stress enough how rare such occasions may be; I personally have never witnessed any priest referring to anything Protestant in a positive light, and I live in an area which is blessed with a number of nearby local Coptic parishes. Furthermore, of the many sermons of Fr. Anthony I have heard, I have never heard him referring to anything Protestant. In the last sermon I referenced in my second last post, he appeals to, and relies on, the traditional structure of the Church’s liturgical readings as the key hermeneutical tool (i.e. when he emphasises that the Gospel reading of the Eucharistic Liturgy is to be interpreted in light of the Matin’s Gospel reading).
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« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2008, 11:29:17 AM »

I certainly did not intend my comments to serve as open-blanket endorsements and approvals of Protestant works in general.

You said before: "why can't we consider what some Protestants have to say?"

That is clearly an endorsement EkristosAnesti.

That is why I made my previous comment that "you should reconsider the argument" you were making.

Your reply seems to indicate that you have made a reasonable ajustment in your perspective.

I do not want you to become defensive. I was only making a suggestion. I did say in my previous post that "I have no problem with Coptic Sermons" so far.

Good to have you back!

I pray all is well with you.

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« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2008, 11:56:05 AM »

I don't think EA's post is an adjustment in his perspective, but rather a clarification of his earlier post.  I don't think he would make a general endorsement of Protestant materials.

The unfortunate reality is that among the OO Churches we don't always have all the materials we need to deal with an English speaking youth in the New World.  Some borrowing of materials from outside our tradition is inevitable, but of course we much exercise discretion.

I come across this in running my church's bookstore.  I get as much as I can from the Armenian Church and other Oriental Orthodox Churches.  But there is not all that much in English, although it is getting a lot better.  I also get a lot from Conciliar Press, which is run by our Antiochian Orthodox brothers.  But when it comes to materials for children, especially Bible story books in English, I find myself sometimes having to go to Protestant sources.  Before picking out a Bible story book, I have learned to look through it, especially in a few places where certain paraphrasing is most likely to happen, such as the Last Supper.  Most are O.K. and would not in any way lead a child away from Orthodox belief.  Materials for adults, however, are a different matter, and it is more rare to find anything which really reflects an Orthodox viewpoint.

Of course this all means we need to encourage our own Churches to publish more in English and to privide us with more materials.  It's a slow process, but a worthy endeavor.

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« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2008, 12:56:04 PM »

Salpy,

If you are looking for some OO resource books for your bookstore, you should contact my priest in Kitchener Ontario.  He has a great wealth of books and has written many of his own.

PM me for his email, I don't really want to post it for all to see lest he get bombarded by a plethora of unwanted email.
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« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2008, 07:03:33 PM »

You said before: "why can't we consider what some Protestants have to say?"

That is clearly an endorsement EkristosAnesti.

Clearly it only clearly reads like that when ripped out of its context, which, as Salpy notes, was only further clarified, not modified, in my last post.

I really don't see any point in further dwelling on this subject. I know I probably contributed to this, but it does seem like we're making a big deal out of an issue that is virtually non-existent.
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« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2008, 10:50:59 PM »

First I have no problem with Coptic sermons at all. God bless the Coptic Orthodox Church for putting her voice to act on the Gospel word to preach to all the world. You will find much less form the rest of us in wide distribution unfortunately.

But this argument you are posing here should be reconsidered in my view.

I know what you intend.

But purely there is only one source for the Holy Church and that is that which is of the Holy Church. If we allow each other to be so liberal in sighting the writtings of people who are the enemies of the Holy Orthodox Church than we are opening up a new and unfounded chapter. Where will the line be drawn?

I do not say enemy as to mean a dangerous element. I have heard and read some pretty 'Orthodox' things from protestants and others. I say it to mean that the Holy teachings of the fathers are challenged or ignored by these people. The teachings of the fathers are the soul of Holy Orthodox Church.

Paul may have had to use various examples and writings that were developed by those who at his time were outside the true faith and thus had NO real authority for basis in preaching even if the knowledge these writers offered had some incidence of 'pureness'. But Paul's' world was not one wrought with those who believed that they are the 'church' verses those who ARE the Church which is the case today. Paul preached to gentiles who knew not the true God. Different case altogether.

So writers of so-called 'christian' thought or commentary or any other commentary that by some stroke of natural inclination and thought purport an idea that is vastly relevant to truth as the Holy fathers would teach it is really only 'incidental' and not necessarily connected to the whole truth of the teachings of the Holy Church which comes to us unchanged from our fathers.

The lack of this vital connection is the downfall of such and the trap that is set for us and our fall from the WHOLE truth.

Again; I have no issue with Coptic sermons. I love anything I have heard to date.

I have downloaded dozens of sermons on varying topics. I find some a little contemporary in style. Not my call to say anything contrary here since the effort and intention is clear in my mind.

I do pray that we not loose sight of the fact that we must check ourselves with how and what we use to project Gods word. This includes how we act and live.

To criticise the Coptic Church for being or having protestant leanings in their preaching methods means that we could also criticise any other Orthodox community who does not for example follow strict adherence to eastern traditions or keep up with too much modern architecture for the church buildings, or no longer have the women cover the head in Liturgy or, have men and women standing together in liturgy, or use Icon styles common to secular art and other practices like eater egg hunts and halloween parties et cetera an so on. The list is as big as we want to make it.

I do not mean to offend anyone. I used 'Easter egg hunt' as an example because I have experienced so many non-christians that persue this activity. They love it. You ask them do you worship Jesus Christ? You get every kind of answer except...YES! You here..."This is a kids holiday for me".

Sad...

I am sure that there are people who some how keep Christs' Resurrection as the centre focus of such activities; the sad fact is that the practice today overwhelmingly is marred in secularism; shrouded in the Peter Cotton, and the Easter Bunny culture. The Lord warned us to "not to cast our pearls among swines". The obvious point is that the swine cannot know nor care to know about the precious nature of the pearls and will simply destroy them. Our faith as Christians carry this way. We must be careful (with diligent) to not share with others the precious gift we have received if the gift is not appreciated as we appreciate it. They make our holy traditions as past times and  distractions from the truth leaving little hope of demonstrating anything to others that Christ is Risen for the saving of the world.

All these and more we must all check and defend not just how preaching is done.

If we fall from these holy virtues which has been held from the earliest time than we are slowly loosing the 'key' to our fathers understanding of the faith of The Holy Orthodox Church; which is One, Holy and Apostolic in Christ.






Well said Fr.Deacon Amdetsion i like what you said above,,i agree 100% you are good ,,,we need you on the eastern orthodox side badly.....stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2008, 01:59:58 AM »

Marc,

That's cool that your priest writes books.  Does your church have a bookstore of any kind?
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2008, 02:08:01 AM »

I think I just found your church's website.  Cool website!
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« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2008, 08:21:44 AM »

Just finished listening to Fr. Anthony's sermon on this Sunday's Gospel reading on the Samaritan woman: http://www.orthodoxsermons.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=467

God bless him. I love him.

(P.S. He does not refer to anything/anyone apart from a brief reference to St Athanasius, and a general reference to the tradition of the Church in regard to St Photini)
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« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2008, 01:12:48 PM »

Dear EA,

I didn't take the original post in any way implying that the teaching of the sermons referenced were not Orthodox but that rather the approach or style of the presentations were unfamiliar to Eastern Orthodoxy and the question was raised as to whether this was typical of Coptic priests.  I then responded that the sermons at the site in question may have more visibility than the hundreds of other priests we have in the US alone and may give the impression that this style is typical.  I then went on to say that "having said that" there is certainly a trend in our church to borrow materials and approaches from other churches in a genuine zeal to bring people to the Lord.  I don't think this can be disputed.

One of the unique things in our Coptic church is that many of our priests are not seminary graduates (myself included) as many of them did not seek priesthood but were compelled to accept it.  Therefore, clergy education is not uniform and many clergy receive their theological training from various sources including western sources.  I think it is a two edged sword.

I just wanted to clarify that in my post (at least) I certainly was not criticising any clergy personally, of whom I am the least and most miserable.  If I gave that impression, please forgive.

God bless.

Kyrillos
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« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2008, 01:27:09 PM »

Marc,

That's cool that your priest writes books.  Does your church have a bookstore of any kind?
Yes we do have a small bookstore but you have to go there in person.  But something else of interest to you, would be my Priest's monthly publication called "Parousia" that is available free of charge.  If you would like to be on the mailing list just give me your address (or any other address of your choice) and I'll see that you get a copy.  Fr. Athanasius frequently lectures on Patristics, theolgy, and prophesy, and his works are regarded in high esteem all around the world.
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« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2008, 09:51:58 PM »

Dear Abouna,

First, I seek your prayers and blessings, and your forgiveness if I offended you in any way.

I didn't take the original post in any way implying that the teaching of the sermons referenced were not Orthodox but that rather the approach or style of the presentations were unfamiliar to Eastern Orthodoxy and the question was raised as to whether this was typical of Coptic priests.

I haven't heard many EO sermons, and have not noticed any general trend in their "approach." With all due respect to EOxy, I don't see why, in principle, something unfamiliar to them should thus be a problem for us. I don't think anything can be said of what is "typical of Coptic priests" apart from the fact they typically preach with love, experience, zeal and spiritual depth; the tone, volume, and style with which they preach may differ, but in the end these are incidental factors that reflect the broad range of personalities and experiences of our clergy. As I implied earlier, the rich diversity amongst our clergy in that regard is a beautiful thing that I would hate to see lost.

Quote
I then went on to say that "having said that" there is certainly a trend in our church to borrow materials and approaches from other churches in a genuine zeal to bring people to the Lord.  I don't think this can be disputed.


Whilst I wouldn't dispute that it happens, I will definitely dispute that it is a "trend." At least it's not one observable here in Sydney, Australia; I do not want to presume what the situation is in the U.S., but I have heard and read many things from clergy up there and there does not seem to be any indication that there is a trend of borrowing non-Orthodox material. In my home parish, our couple of priests love the late Abouna Pishoy Kamel and Archdeacon Habib Guirgus and base most of their contemplations on their works. The youth servants can't get enough of H.H. Pope Shenouda III and base the weekly Friday night theme on one of his works. There is another parish which is a little out of my way but which I do make an effort to attend every now and then precisely because they have an excellent patristic programme happening--one primarily inspired and supported by the parish priest, Abouna Mikhail Mikhail (the Sydney Abouna Mikhail, not the U.S. one) who can't get enough of the Fathers. Another nearby parish recently purchased a small neighbouring residence to develop into a small Coptic Orthodox resource centre which is dedicated to translating, publishing and making available patristic--early and modern--works.

To date, every sermon of Abouna Anthony (who is essentially the subject of this thread) that I have heard, has either referenced a Church Father, Church tradition, or the Liturgical rites of the Church to make his point, or otherwise he doesn't particularly care to reference anyone because his own personal spiritual experience is sufficient material for him. I do not presume Orthodox11 to be a liar when he relates to us his personal experience regarding Abouna Anthony, but I think i'd be safe in presuming that his experience was not representative or typical in that regard, and that Abouna Anthony was probably justified in referring to some non-Orthodox work in that particular circumstance (as per the reasons given in my previous posts).

Quote
One of the unique things in our Coptic church is that many of our priests are not seminary graduates (myself included) as many of them did not seek priesthood but were compelled to accept it.

And I personally do not believe that clergy need to be seminary graduates. I once used to think so, but I revised that thought when I realised that those monks and clergy who had the most significant impact on my spiritual life were those who obviously lacked any real theological erudition; their sincerity, their zeal, their spiritual depth, and their humility had more influence in rooting me in my Orthodoxy than the most eloquent and learned clergy ever could I think. Let's just remember, that a true theologian is one who prays.

Let's also remember that priesthood is, before anything, a calling from above; it's not the next logical step of a seminary education. Once we make seminary education compulsory, we will begin to lose sight of that. (Unless it becomes the compulsory next step after ordination rather than a compulsory pre-requisite to ordination).
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« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2008, 10:12:37 PM »

Another nearby parish recently purchased a small neighbouring residence to develop into a small Coptic Orthodox resource centre which is dedicated to translating, publishing and making available patristic--early and modern--works.


This is awesome.
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« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2008, 10:45:21 PM »

Whilst I wouldn't dispute that it happens, I will definitely dispute that it is a "trend." At least it's not one observable here in Sydney, Australia; I do not want to presume what the situation is in the U.S.,

From the Copts I know in the UK, those coming from Australia tend to be much more "conservative" than those brought up in the UK.

Although I can cite other examples of Coptic clergy using non-Orthodox materials as a basis for their talks and whatnot, I wouldn't call it a trend here either. It's among laypeople (youth in particular) where the Protestant influence is really noticable, be it the books they read, the sources they appeal to, the songs they sing, attending weekly worship services at Protestant churches, etc.

Again, just my observation.
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« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2008, 02:19:44 AM »

...attending weekly worship services at Protestant churches, etc.

Well that is completely unheard of as far as i'm concerned, and unquestionably a big fat no no.

Anyway, I hardly doubt this is a unique problem faced by the Coptic Orthodox Church alone. Actually, to be perfectly honest with you, I used to know a Greek Orthodox girl who at first used to attend Coptic Orthodox passion week services because her close friends were Copts, and who then began attending Anglican services because she became really close to a few guys in one of my uni classes who are active servants in the Anglican Church (she's now engaged to one of them). After hearing about her "Anglicanisation" I tried to convince her to go visit her own church and speak to a priest, but for some reason she's always been bitter about her "mother's church." Given that at the time she used to attend the Coptic pascha services she would tell me how much she loved the experience, I even tried to get her to visit the Coptic church more often, but she simply shrugged that suggestion off because she hardly sees her past Coptic friends anymore and it's more convenient for her to attend Anglican services. It was really hard to emphasise the important difference between her attending an Orthodox church and a Protestant one given all the relevant factors that could serve to really offend her and make her not wish to speak to me, but I tried to do so as subtly and gently as I could; ultimately, however, the points I were making didn't seem to register very well.

I'm guessing that in the cases of young Copts attending Protestant services you have in mind that it's probably more or less the same case--the influence of western friends (and we all know how great the influence of friends are on youth). Here, in Sydney, you'll find that there is a tight-knit network amongst the Coptic youth at most parishes, largely thanks to the wisdom and initiatives of our clergy in organising regular activities/events like consistent Friday night youth meetings which are organised in such a way so as to serve a spiritually-centred, though no less social purpose, spiritually themed camps, and even interstate and international trips that end with a visit and stay at certain Coptic holy sites and monasteries.
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« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2008, 02:35:31 AM »

I think you find that sort of church-hopping among the youth of a lot of churches.  I know it is very common among Armenians in my area.  Part of the problem is that they honestly don't know there is a real difference between the churches, and part of it is the influence of friends, as you say.  I find the Coptic churches in my area have very strong youth groups and do a much better job of educating their congregations about the faith.  These two things are essential if one is to keep the next generation in the church. 
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« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2008, 03:02:52 PM »

I think this might be a trend among some youth, but certainly not the priests.  If the youth do it, they certainly don't or won't share it with the priest.  The priest would probably hear these things happen by second-hand accounts.  But there is that mentality where people don't quite understand the exclusivity of the Orthodox Church, which lead the youth to ask the same question all Christians ask, "We all worship Christ.  Whats the big deal?  Ya, sure tradition is important, but those without tradition are good Christians too."

At this point, one finds it hard to really engage in a discussion on this.  They already made up their minds and already know what to expect from a conversation with a pro-traditionalist.  It's not about the use of Protestant material that is the problem per say, it's how the youth interpret the usage.  We as responsible Orthodox servants can interpret it as simple the use of material for evangelical purposes that serve the youth well in an Orthodox background, whereas the youth can interpret it as, "since they got it from a Protestant Church, I guess it's okay to get anything from the Protestant Church, maybe even pray at their church." 

At this point, you can now see why many are worried about a certain "Protestant influence."  Priests have a sincere Orthodox approach to things, but it can backfire and be misinterpreted by the youth.  I think in a society where apathy and pluralism are popular, the Church needs to also stress (even more so now than before) her exclusivity to make it very clear that what the Church does is under special guidance, and the youth are not allowed to just do anything they want based on simply singing a song like "Open the Eyes of My Heart" or reading Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ."

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« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2008, 05:12:30 PM »

Anyway, I hardly doubt this is a unique problem faced by the Coptic Orthodox Church alone.

In the Greek Orthodox Church in the UK, I find the problems surrounding youth are more along the lines of non-attendance and apathy. I think the Greek Church could learn a lot from the way the Coptic Church has been able to engage their youth.

Quote
I'm guessing that in the cases of young Copts attending Protestant services you have in mind that it's probably more or less the same case--the influence of western friends (and we all know how great the influence of friends are on youth). Here, in Sydney, you'll find that there is a tight-knit network amongst the Coptic youth at most parishes, largely thanks to the wisdom and initiatives of our clergy in organising regular activities/events like consistent Friday night youth meetings which are organised in such a way so as to serve a spiritually-centred, though no less social purpose, spiritually themed camps, and even interstate and international trips that end with a visit and stay at certain Coptic holy sites and monasteries.

The Coptic Church here also has a very close-knit network amongs their youth, and there are meetings on various days of the week, as well as camps, trips, etc. The youth who attend all of these meetings are the same ones who will attend Protestant services.

A Sunday for many youth will consist of Coptic Liturgy in the morning, then youth meeting, and then in the evening go to the Protestant church up the road (where many of the aforementioned songs come from btw), which is ok since "we're not taking Communion there, and the sermon doesn't contain anything different from what our Church teaches."

"Western friends" doesn't seem to be the reason - a group of Coptic youth will go together and leave together - but it's possible.

Once again, just my observation. Don't think I'm singling out the Coptic Church - it just happens to be the title of this thread - nor did I ever suggest attending Protestant services was something approved of by Coptic clergy.

But there is that mentality where people don't quite understand the exclusivity of the Orthodox Church, which lead the youth to ask the same question all Christians ask, "We all worship Christ.  Whats the big deal?  Ya, sure tradition is important, but those without tradition are good Christians too."

At this point, one finds it hard to really engage in a discussion on this.  They already made up their minds and already know what to expect from a conversation with a pro-traditionalist.  It's not about the use of Protestant material that is the problem per say, it's how the youth interpret the usage.  We as responsible Orthodox servants can interpret it as simple the use of material for evangelical purposes that serve the youth well in an Orthodox background, whereas the youth can interpret it as, "since they got it from a Protestant Church, I guess it's okay to get anything from the Protestant Church, maybe even pray at their church." 

At this point, you can now see why many are worried about a certain "Protestant influence."  Priests have a sincere Orthodox approach to things, but it can backfire and be misinterpreted by the youth.  I think in a society where apathy and pluralism are popular, the Church needs to also stress (even more so now than before) her exclusivity to make it very clear that what the Church does is under special guidance, and the youth are not allowed to just do anything they want based on simply singing a song like "Open the Eyes of My Heart" or reading Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ."

My sentiments exactly.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 09:41:49 PM by Orthodox11 » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2008, 06:48:16 PM »

Marc,

That's cool that your priest writes books.  Does your church have a bookstore of any kind?

Heg. Fr. Athanasius' books are available in .pdf format here: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/publications/books/books.html
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« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2008, 03:36:00 AM »

Quote
Once again, just my observation. Don't think I'm singling out the Coptic Church - it just happens to be the title of this thread - nor did I ever suggest attending Protestant services was something approved of by Coptic clergy.

We are quite clever at this: Instead of youth attending Protestant worship and sermons outside, we will bring it home and offer it to the youth in our own churches. The mentality of " Youth at any cost" (mind you, even on the expense of Orthodoxy) is dominant. Our dear priest Antony Messih is just an example who came to be exposed because of his popularity, but he is not the exception.

Just for the record, Priest Antony Messih made Rick Warren's books such as "40 days of Purpose Driven Church" as the cornerstone for his servant's education or preparation class as well as spiritual revival weeks , and recommends the books of other prominent protestant writers such as Joshua Harris for the youth. It seems John Chryssostom never wrote about pastoral care and service, nor did Augustine exhaust the topic of purity, and we need to resort to the non-orthodox resources for our education. To be fair, prominent bishops in the USA and in Egypt do exactly the same.

His sermons are purely protestant in style and in spirit. It is your usual prosperity gospel kind of sermon, shallow and coming from an ignorant person. His sermons about the Song of Songs that he delivered in front of a packed church in Toronto was a complete disaster to the orthodox ear. To insert a couple of quotes by the Fathers here and there after he was criticised for his lack of Orthodox teachings is not enough.

I cannot blame him, for he is a poroduct of a system that never addresses the real problem of mankind and its relation to the incarnation and salvation but presents Christianity as only a moral code and a path among many to Heaven. To speak about Orthodoxy and its exclusive nature as the ONLY way to reconcilation with God is useless at this stage. This is not Antony Messih's message but it is the message you get from yjr vast majority of the priests in the Coptic Church worldwide. There is a fear to proclaim Orthodoxy as it is because the teachers, clergy or laymen, never lived it and have never experienced its power.

It is only natural to have congregations accepting this kind of teachings without even raising an eyebrow, for they have been fed with this dung for too long. The problem is not in a priest or two being invested by a Protestant Pentecostal spirit, but in the congregations who do not know their left from their right.

On the bright side, there remain some priests who are excellent preachers and are orthodox to the core like Abona Dawud Lam3y, Abona Armia Bolos, Abona Tadros Yacoub, Abona Ammonius Gerges and Abona Athanasius Iskander who is mentioned above. It should be mentioned that the latter is doing an excellent service in his small church in Kitchener, Ontario, but is unpopular outside his church and among the hierarchs because he is straight forward and boring for the youth who need the Antony Messih or Benny Hen kind of preacher to satisfy their shallow minds.
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« Reply #42 on: April 03, 2008, 10:57:50 AM »

Abona Athanasius Iskander who is mentioned above. It should be mentioned that the latter is doing an excellent service in his small church in Kitchener, Ontario, but is unpopular outside his church and among the hierarchs because he is straight forward and boring for the youth

I would have to dissagree with this statement.  If he were not popular amoung the hierarchs then why would he be asked to give lectures and sermons throughout North America in Churches and Seminaries and Universities?  Why would Orthodox churches throughout the world request his books and further request that they be translated into different languages?  And also, the youth in our church appreciate him greatly and they request of him continually to present talks to our youth group.

There are some who criticize him for his adherence to Orthodoxy, but I however applaud, him.  And because of his orthodoxy he is respected amoung priests and bishops and H.H.

EDIT:  I agree with the part about him doing an excellent service Smiley
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 10:59:43 AM by Marc Hanna » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2008, 05:26:39 PM »

Abona Athanasius Iskander who is mentioned above. It should be mentioned that the latter is doing an excellent service in his small church in Kitchener, Ontario, but is unpopular outside his church and among the hierarchs because he is straight forward and boring for the youth who need the Antony Messih or Benny Hen kind of preacher to satisfy their shallow minds.

Heg. Fr. Athanasius Iskander teaches at St. Athanasius' Theological Seminary in Texas at the request of H.G. Bishop Youssef.  His books and articles are read by clergy and laity all over the world.  He is the pioneer of translation into English, and has put out some of the highest quality English translations we have.  He is very much loved by the youth at his own church, at the more than a dozen churches he quietly served over the years before they had priests, and from churches all over.  There are some people, clergy and laity, who do not like him, some because of untruths, and some because he is unyielding in Orthodoxy and in what is right.  There are many, many youth in the Coptic Church who know what Orthodoxy really is, and are hungry for it, not the watered down version that is taught in some places. 
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« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2008, 03:51:26 PM »

Heg. Fr. Athanasius Iskander teaches at St. Athanasius' Theological Seminary in Texas at the request of H.G. Bishop Youssef.  His books and articles are read by clergy and laity all over the world.  He is the pioneer of translation into English, and has put out some of the highest quality English translations we have.  He is very much loved by the youth at his own church, at the more than a dozen churches he quietly served over the years before they had priests, and from churches all over.  There are some people, clergy and laity, who do not like him, some because of untruths, and some because he is unyielding in Orthodoxy and in what is right.  There are many, many youth in the Coptic Church who know what Orthodoxy really is, and are hungry for it, not the watered down version that is taught in some places. 

Well said...

I read and teach with much of his books and essays. Even the sermons He has on the net and on CD are excellent.

May God Bless the Coptic Church and HG Abuna Youssef with eternal grace.
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