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Author Topic: Modernist Orthodoxy: A Snare of Satan's?  (Read 2784 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: May 01, 2008, 10:18:15 PM »

Hey y'all,

While researching Phronema- acquiring an Orthodox Mind, I found the following article and wanted to know what the rest of y'all think about it?

http://www.orthodox.net/articles/orthodox-mind.html#n2_12

I've only now began researching this topic as it is of immense importance to me in my life at the moment.  The viewpoints in the article seem to be well-reasoned and thoughtful, but I'm curious to see how the rest of y'all react.

In Christ,

Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2008, 10:47:43 PM »

I like this article a lot. I spent 16 years in the episcopal church and witnessed the effects he describes first hand. In addition I am a little over 1/2 way through a masters of theology in early church history and my studies have hit upon many of these topics and I concur with his argument and conclusion. This does not mean that it is perfect, but the substance of the argument and supporting evidence are strong. Thanks for presenting the article.
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2008, 10:51:48 PM »

The monasteries established by the Elder Ephraim and his followers (17 in the US)  seem to follow the logic mentioned in the quote below:

"Modernism and Ecumenism are the primary errors with which the Church is currently struggling, but its opposite extreme is to be found among extremist Cult-like Orthodox Groups that are usually centered around a cult personality, and often claim that only they are Orthodox. Some forms of this extremism are very easily identified because they are found in schismatic groups -- other forms of extremism are to be found even within our midst. This is a pharisaical Orthodoxy, that in reaction to the modernists disregard for tradition, has become so fixated on certain externals to the neglect of the weightier matters of the law -- such as love and mercy."
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2008, 11:07:04 PM »

The monasteries established by the Elder Ephraim and his followers (17 in the US)  seem to follow the logic mentioned in the quote below:

"Modernism and Ecumenism are the primary errors with which the Church is currently struggling, but its opposite extreme is to be found among extremist Cult-like Orthodox Groups that are usually centered around a cult personality, and often claim that only they are Orthodox. Some forms of this extremism are very easily identified because they are found in schismatic groups -- other forms of extremism are to be found even within our midst. This is a pharisaical Orthodoxy, that in reaction to the modernists disregard for tradition, has become so fixated on certain externals to the neglect of the weightier matters of the law -- such as love and mercy."

If you are being derogatory, I disagree. From our experiences at the nearby monastery in Saxonburg, PA. they are an asset to the Church. Why people expect monasteries to be some sort of local parish, apparently, is beyond me.
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2008, 11:20:51 PM »

I am only going to comment on the article's first point. Because I know a lot about it and because I don't know anything about points 2 and 3.

Let me say in bold letters: MODERNISTS DO NOT EQUAL PROTESTANTS.  I attended a promeinent non-denominational seminary that is one of the finest doctrinally conservative (without being fundamentalist)
in North America. Most of the theology and Old and New Testament classes in some way deal with the challenge of modernist critical theories of biblical exegesis, hemeneutics and interpretation and challenge those from within a traditional perspective (albeit, an essentially Western perspective).

I think the scholarship among the faculty I sat under rivals and is very well superior to most any theological school you could name in North America.

Seriously, I am SOOOO weary of having to confront the ignorance among Orthodox writers regarding protestants and the almost embarrassingly juvenile strawmen they hold up as representative of all Protestants.

Serious protestant scholarship coming mostly out of the Refromed tradition has answered and or challenged modernist approaches to the Bible and theology. So, not all protestants are modernists. (I will no longer use the term evangelical on OC.net because of the abhorant ignorance as to the historical meaning of the term and the shameful shallow acceptance of the modern media's caricature of this noble stream of conservative, thinking, mind and culture engaging stream of protestant scholarship, thought and piety).

Needless to say, I am not enamoured by Orthodox capitulation to modernist trends in theology and biblical scholarship.
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2008, 11:25:42 PM »

"Modernism and Ecumenism are the primary errors with which the Church is currently struggling, but its opposite extreme is to be found among extremist Cult-like Orthodox Groups that are usually centered around a cult personality, and often claim that only they are Orthodox. Some forms of this extremism are very easily identified because they are found in schismatic groups -- other forms of extremism are to be found even within our midst. This is a pharisaical Orthodoxy, that in reaction to the modernists disregard for tradition, has become so fixated on certain externals to the neglect of the weightier matters of the law -- such as love and mercy."
I actually like this quote for its attempt to strike a balance between the two poles of Orthodox Modernism and Orthodox Traditionalism in their more extreme forms.
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2008, 11:28:33 PM »

I actually like this quote for its attempt to strike a balance between the two poles of Orthodox Modernism and Orthodox Traditionalism in their more extreme forms.

Depends on the 'cult-like' group. I consider 'modernists' a cult as well.
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2008, 11:41:27 PM »

So then, is Modernism and Ecumenism detrimental to an Orthodox mindset?
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2008, 11:50:59 PM »

So then, is Modernism and Ecumenism detrimental to an Orthodox mindset?

Like anything, it can be if run amok. But I find the article (uncredited, but extolled therein at conclusion) more insulting than edifying.
I'll put dozens, if not hundreds, of cradles before many other Orthodox I know - cradle or convert.
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2008, 01:29:42 AM »

^^I see.  Another article I looked at is from Orthodox Info, a site I really respect and enjoy.  It lists Modernism and Ecumenism as heresies and as twin sisters placing souls in danger.  Looks like I have a lot of reading and studying to do.  Undecided

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2008, 07:25:09 AM »

Somewhere we have a false ecumenism thread that never develops.
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2008, 09:06:38 AM »

A confusing point to me is the difference between modernism and an Orthodoxy that addresses modern issues (i.e an Orthodoxy that takes traditional teachings of Orthodoxy and makes them meaningful to a modern society).  I take them to be two  seperate positions, but I have heard some taht equate the two as they same thing.  Are They? Do we retreat to an Orthodoxy that had neither  electricity and modern conveniences and reside in the physical desert or do we create a spiritual desert to grow in within the modern world?

Thomas
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2008, 09:59:52 AM »

I am only going to comment on the article's first point. Because I know a lot about it and because I don't know anything about points 2 and 3.

Let me say in bold letters: MODERNISTS DO NOT EQUAL PROTESTANTS.  I attended a promeinent non-denominational seminary that is one of the finest doctrinally conservative (without being fundamentalist)
in North America. Most of the theology and Old and New Testament classes in some way deal with the challenge of modernist critical theories of biblical exegesis, hemeneutics and interpretation and challenge those from within a traditional perspective (albeit, an essentially Western perspective).

I think the scholarship among the faculty I sat under rivals and is very well superior to most any theological school you could name in North America.

Seriously, I am SOOOO weary of having to confront the ignorance among Orthodox writers regarding protestants and the almost embarrassingly juvenile strawmen they hold up as representative of all Protestants.

Serious protestant scholarship coming mostly out of the Refromed tradition has answered and or challenged modernist approaches to the Bible and theology. So, not all protestants are modernists. (I will no longer use the term evangelical on OC.net because of the abhorant ignorance as to the historical meaning of the term and the shameful shallow acceptance of the modern media's caricature of this noble stream of conservative, thinking, mind and culture engaging stream of protestant scholarship, thought and piety).

Needless to say, I am not enamoured by Orthodox capitulation to modernist trends in theology and biblical scholarship.


I understand how you feel, but you can't ignore the fact that modernism came from Protestantism.

And all the rebuttals by conservative Reformed Protestants are not always sufficient. Many of them are, but all of them are not.


You can just read up on what happened recently with the Dr. Peter Enns. He was pretty much fired from his teaching job at Westminister Theological Seminary for trying to engage modernism & post modernism. If you read the book that got him fired(put on leave). You will see that many of his conclusions are very close to our own!

Also "nondenominationalism" is still Protestantism. There is no such thing as a "nondenomination". Many of them are just break away Baptist, or Word of Faith groups that don't want to put a label to themselves.

Read the books:

"Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution--A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First" by Dr. Alister Mcgrath. It's a quick sketch of various Protestant  interpretations and groups from the 15 hundreds to the 21st century.

http://www.amazon.com/Christianitys-Dangerous-Idea-Revolution-Twenty-First/dp/0060822139


"The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science"
by Dr. Peter Harrison


http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Protestantism-Rise-Natural-Science/dp/0521000963



Modernism is one of the fruits of Protestantism.




As taken from my blog:


Quote
Is Calvinism one step away from Atheism?
It is my view that Calvinism is semi-Atheistic. Especially those Calvinists that are "cessationists" I point the finger at the Zwingli/Calvin Compromise. This compromise was one of the reasons why the Reformed churches couldn't unite with the Lutherian churches.

But I would like to quote a few things by Alister Mcgrath to show that I wasn't wrong for speculating this.

He says on page 146 of his book "Christianity's Dangerous idea: The protestant revolution-a history from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first":



"The appeal of the Enlightenment proved greatest within Reformed circles. For
reasons that remain unclear, rationalism gained acceptance in many former
Calvinist strongholds. Geneva and Edinburgh, both international centers of
Calvinism in the late sixteenth century, were noted as epicenters of European
rationalism in the late eighteenth century. John Calvin and John Knox gave way
to the very different worldviews of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume. In
marked contrast, the Enlightenment had relatively little impact on Catholicism
during the eighteenth century-unless, of course, the French Revolution (1789) is
seen as a political extension of the ideas of the Enlightenment."
[1]


He mentions this again in passing on page 264 while talking about the stripping away of the "sacred/supernatural" and the rise of the Atheistic worldview.


"While most Elizabethan Protestants were happy to follow continental ideas,
especially those of Calvin, their Jacobean and Stuart successors were
increasingly aware of the need to symbolize the interaction and interpenetration
of the sacred and secular. The poetry of George Herbert can be seen as an
attempt to retain an essentially Calvinist theology of the Sacraments, while
developing its capacity to promote the Church's social and confessional
cohesion.
This decoupling of the sacred from the quotidian, characteristic
of certain types of Protestantism, accelerated the rise of a functionally
atheist worldview in which God was not regarded as an active participant in the
worldview. It is no accident that two sixteenth-century European centers of
Calvinism-Geneva and Edinburgh-had became centers of rationalism two centuries
later.
We shall have more to say about this development later. Yet it is
important to appreciate here that one of the most fundamental characteristics of
Pentecostalism is its insistence that the divine may be encountered in the
secular realm. Its astonishing success points to the reversal of this trend and
the emergence of a new form of Protestantism characterized by its expectation of
the direct experience of the spiritual within the mundane."
[2]



I am not the onlyone who sees a connection between Calvinistic theology with the rise of Atheism. I'm not gonna say all, but alot of Calvinists tend to disregard any idea of "mystery" for the sake of "rationalism".






[1], and [2] by Dr. Alister Mcgrath, from the book Christianity's Dangerous idea: The Protestant Revolution-A history from the sixteenth Century to the twenty-First. Published by HarperOne. Copyright 2007









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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2008, 10:05:39 AM »

A confusing point to me is the difference between modernism and an Orthodoxy that addresses modern issues (i.e an Orthodoxy that takes traditional teachings of Orthodoxy and makes them meaningful to a modern society).  I take them to be two  seperate positions, but I have heard some taht equate the two as they same thing.  Are They? Do we retreat to an Orthodoxy that had neither  electricity and modern conveniences and reside in the physical desert or do we create a spiritual desert to grow in within the modern world?

Thomas


I think what people mean by modernism is looking at everything with an Atheistic presupposition. Thus Eastern Orthodoxy must be re-interpreted in light of an Atheistic Worldview.







JNORM888
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2008, 11:11:40 AM »

I find the article a bit shady.

(1) "The Webmaster does not remember the author of this fantastic talk."  Right.  The only places where it appears online it is traced back to the website that is linked in the OP.  The line seems like a ploy to (a) hide the identity of the author (if they really want to do this, adopt a pseudonym, like other "fantastic" authors), and (b) deflect criticism away from both webmaster and author.

(2) "Another related pitfall that converts must beware of, is Convertism Orthodoxy.  By this I mean that Orthodoxy which one usually will find in an all or almost all convert parish. This kind of Orthodoxy is not consciously Modernist -- in fact most people in such parishes sincerely desire authentic Orthodoxy, but because they are in jurisdictions which have been infected with Modernism, they have often been given stones instead of bread. I by no means want to broad brush here -- not all convert parishes are this way, and in fact among jurisdictions that have been infected with modernism, it has mostly been converts who have begun to resist these tendencies.  The cause of Convertism is a neglect of the subject at hand -- it is the result of a failure to recognize the need to develop an Orthodox mind, and to consciously seek to rid oneself of Protestant modes of thought. Converts who have fallen into this pitfall are generally teachable, though not all, and when they see authentic Orthodoxy they are attracted too it. "

Huh?  Convertism Orthodoxy?  Neglect of the "subject at hand" is common amongst convert and cradle alike - his/her naming this "Convertism" just shows his obvious bias.

I've got more objections, but I haven't had breakfast yet since Liturgy ended, so I'm off...
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2008, 11:23:27 AM »


I understand how you feel, but you can't ignore the fact that modernism came from Protestantism.

And all the rebuttals by conservative Reformed Protestants are not always sufficient. Many of them are, but all of them are not.


You can just read up on what happened recently with the Dr. Peter Enns. He was pretty much fired from his teaching job at Westminister Theological Seminary for trying to engage modernism & post modernism. If you read the book that got him fired(put on leave). You will see that many of his conclusions are very close to our own!

Also "nondenominationalism" is still Protestantism. There is no such thing as a "nondenomination". Many of them are just break away Baptist, or Word of Faith groups that don't want to put a label to themselves.

Read the books:

"Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution--A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First" by Dr. Alister Mcgrath. It's a quick sketch of various Protestant  interpretations and groups from the 15 hundreds to the 21st century.

http://www.amazon.com/Christianitys-Dangerous-Idea-Revolution-Twenty-First/dp/0060822139


"The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science"
by Dr. Peter Harrison


http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Protestantism-Rise-Natural-Science/dp/0521000963



Modernism is one of the fruits of Protestantism.




As taken from my blog:










JNORM888

jnorm, you will get no argument from me and I essentially agree with you. You obviously know some Church History and understand the history of protestantism quite well. You seem to be well read and can speak on this subject with intelligence and with appreciation for nuances and differences within the protestant traditions.

I am speaking to the almost gleeful, willful ignorance among Orthodox who continually state caricatures and set up strawmen to their own intellectual discredit and the embarassment of all concerned.

PS I know that non-denominational is still protestant, nonetheless, within protestantism the school is nonetheless non-denominational in that students from many different protestant denominations, including conservatives from mainline protestant denoms, matriculated there.
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2008, 11:48:57 AM »

An article entitled 'Orthodox Tradition and Modernism' by Constantine Cavarnos can be found at www.orthodoxinfo.com and typing modernism in the search engine or you can follow the orthodoxinfo link I provided in an earlier post and scroll down and click on modernism.  This deals a little with Modernism, but I suspect is by no means exaustive.  In it, Dr. Cavarnos explains a few modernisms that have invaded Holy Orthodoxy.  They have been discussed on our own forum here almost ad nauseum: Concerning our priests and hierarchs; the cutting of hair, shaving of beards, and abandoning the rason in favor of pants and jackets. Concerning our icons; adopting the Western forms of painting.  Concerning our music; adopting Western notation rather than Byzantine.  Concerning our church interiors; the additions of the organ and arranging pews to resemble RC and Protestant church interiors. 

Although I consider these matters very important, they are externals.  I'm curious as to how and where modernism has infiltrated Orthodox Thought and Mindset (Phronema). 
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2008, 12:02:56 PM »

A confusing point to me is the difference between modernism and an Orthodoxy that addresses modern issues (i.e an Orthodoxy that takes traditional teachings of Orthodoxy and makes them meaningful to a modern society).  I take them to be two  seperate positions, but I have heard some taht equate the two as they same thing.  Are They? Do we retreat to an Orthodoxy that had neither  electricity and modern conveniences and reside in the physical desert or do we create a spiritual desert to grow in within the modern world?

Thomas

I believe the paradosis of Holy Orthodoxy is quite capable of addressing contemporary concerns without having to dilute or conform to any other mode of thinking.  Although, adopting scientific discoveries that weren't known or available centuries ago has greatly benefitted us, just to make a distinction or rather, to clarify.  IMO, retreating to a 2nd - 4th century monastic way of living (sans modern conveniences and residing in the physical desert), has nothing to do with viewing modernism with a highly criticil eye.
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