Author Topic: Another Anti-Orthodox Website  (Read 4506 times)

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Offline David

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Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« on: July 25, 2003, 02:07:46 PM »
For those of you who aren't members at ECafe...where they are discussing it here

http://www.nccg.org/FAQ011-OrthCh.html

FAQ 11
THE EASTERN ORTHODOX
CHURCH AND THE
ATONEMENT

NCW 35
by Christopher C. Warren

Q. Now that we have many contacts in Eastern Europe where the dominant tradition is Orthodoxy, I feel it is important we understand what we have in common with the Orthodox Church and where we are different. You have written about points of similarity but are there any real fundamental differences? And if so, what are these?

A. The Eastern Orthodox Church is a very old one indeed and, arguably, even older than the Roman Catholic tradition. It has evolved considerably over the centuries.

Although Eastern Orthodoxy has much in common with what I will broadly call "evangelical Christianity" it does not believe that salvation is through the atoning work of God in Christ but teaches that it is the church which unites humans with Christ through the "Seven Sacraments". In other words, salvation in Christ, according to Eastern Orthodoxy, is impossible without the church. This is, of course, completely unscriptural.

A Romanian Baptist pastor, Paul Negrut, comments: "This idea is appealing to the Western world because it does not emphasise sin or repentance. It is a religion without the dramatic crisis of a new birth or responsibility of living a godly life."

It is very important that we understand this when witnessing to Eastern Orthodox Christians. Without the New Birth there is no salvation in Christ. Eastern Orthodoxy is but another form of "churchiolatry" like Catholicism, Mormonism, the Jehovah's Witness religion and (some would argue) Seventh Day Adventism which requires membership in a "true church" or "organisation" for salvation. Salvation is, for them, adherence to a tradition rather than a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus if any of these Churches were to suddenly "disappear" it would be impossible to be saved.

Whilst we like much of what Eastern Orthodoxy stands for we have to say that membership in, and adherence to its doctrine of salvation through the seven sacraments, is without any spiritual merit in terms of salvation. During the communist era the Eastern Church was virtually a puppet of the communist regimes in the Soviet Union, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia, notwithstanding the occasional brave voice. Whilst this Church collaborated with the communists, people like the unregistered Baptist Churches were being persecuted. (Of course, the East German Lutherans were largely controlled by the communist party too).

We need also remember the reasons why that great nation, Russia, and other Slav nations like the Ukraine, accepted Orthodoxy over Catholicism, Islam and Judaism was (a) because the Russians were impressed by the colour and grandeur of the ritual of the Greek Orthodox (Byzantine) Church, and (b) because abandoning alcohol (a requirement of Islam) was unthinkable to them. The conversion of the vast bulk of the Eastern Orthodox lands had nothing to do with a spiritual rebirth, as was also true in areas of Catholic hegemony. We should also remember that England became Protestant not because the English people were converted to the Reformers' doctrine but because the Pope would not grant a divorce to an adulterous king (Henry VIII). As the Norwegian King Olav "the Holy" (sic!) forced his people to convert to Catholicism on pain of death, so also did the Russian princes threaten their people with death by the sword if they were not baptised.

As Bible-believing Christians we cannot take seriously any religious tradition purporting to be "Christian" which owes its origin to force or violence. History demonstrates conclusively that all the powerful Christian denominations -- Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism and Mormonism -- were established by means totally incompatible with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whilst we may take God-fearing and Christ-honouring Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mormons and Lutherans seriously we, as New Covenant Christians, cannot extend the same respect to their respective traditions. Indeed, we must ask them, as Jesus would have done: "Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matt.15:3). "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mk.7:8).
"When looking at faults, use a mirror, not a telescope."
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2003, 02:17:07 PM »
LOL.  "Evangelical Christianity" stems from the murderous Calvinists and Anabaptists so what's his point?

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Offline Oblio

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2003, 02:27:40 PM »
This is from theonion.com I assume  

 ::)
« Last Edit: July 25, 2003, 02:28:49 PM by Oblio »

Offline David

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2003, 03:15:22 PM »
Unfortunately not... just seems to be a Messianic Jew/House Church movement with very little historical or theological training.  

Here's their homepage: http://www.nccg.org/
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Offline Linus7

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2003, 03:34:54 PM »
We don't believe salvation is through the atoning work of Christ?

That's news to me.

The Orthodox Church doesn't emphasize sin or repentance?

That's news, too.

That was a highly irritating article, but not surprising.

There was one thing that was surprising, though: the guy didn't mention Constantine!  ;D
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas

Hypo-Ortho

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2003, 03:42:55 PM »
<skip>
The Orthodox Church doesn't emphasize sin or repentance?
<skip>

Hmm, some of these guys should go to Confession before an Orthodox priest.  Some of my Confessions have lasted over an hour, and when it is over, I am often in tears over the realization of the seriousness of my sin and whether or not my repentance is real or just an emotional reaction.

Hypo-Ortho

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2003, 03:56:04 PM »
Hypo,

It reminds me of something G.K. Chesterton said about those who attacked Christianity: they seemed to attack it from contradictory points of view; this seems to be the same case here with Orthodoxy. One group criticizes Orthodoxy for focusing too much on sin and making an effort ("deeds" too much, and not "trusting in God's forgiveness," and then another group criticizes Orthodoxy for exactly the opposite thing: not taking sin seriously enough. *Shrugs* I'm not going to follow Chesterton's argument that this points towards Orthodoxy being the truth (since I don't think that's a very good argument in this case), but like Chesterton I do think it's odd how they come at us from different directions.

Offline Frobie

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2003, 04:55:36 PM »
<<it does not believe that salvation is through the atoning work of God in Christ but teaches that it is the church which unites humans with Christ through the "Seven Sacraments".>>

Woo hoo! Only 3 more to go!

Matt

Offline Ebor

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2003, 05:55:36 PM »
They also don't know much about the religious and political structure of Tudor England or much about  King Olav the Stout, as was one of his sobriquets when he was alive, either.
 
Sigh

Ebor
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Offline Linus7

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2003, 06:10:37 PM »
Do those people have any idea how many Orthodox bishops, priests, monks, nuns, and lay people were imprisoned, tortured and murdered by the communists?

Did you all notice the backhanded slap at the "East German Lutherans", too?

When Lutheran Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was thrown into prison in Romania, whom did he find sharing the prison with him? - Orthodox Christians.

When he was dying in a hospital here in America, who came to visit and comfort him? - Monks from the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas

Offline Boswell

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2003, 11:46:23 PM »
Ok, its pretty easy to see that these guys are not well informed, and tend to look pretty stupid. But, who cares? Why would an Orthodox want to visit Protestant sites-to stir dissension that leads frequently to very large threads on OC.net? I mean, if you don't like what they are saying, don't go to their websites! Its far from clear to me that Orthodox are always blameless when they discuss other Christian denominations  or other religions (waiting for the obligatory comment from the admins to provide evidence, and to stop bashing Orthodoxy).

Hypo-Ortho

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2003, 06:09:11 AM »
Boswell<< Its far from clear to me that Orthodox are always blameless when they discuss other Christian denominations  or other religions (waiting for the obligatory comment from the admins to provide evidence, and to stop bashing Orthodoxy). >>

I'm pretty much in agreement with you on this, Boswell.  I don't happen to be an Orthodox Christian who routinely visits Protestant, Catholic (except for Byzantine Catholic) or non-Christian religious websites.  But that's me.  Some of my Orthodox brothers and our allies, OTOH, do so (in their view, IMHO) as apologists and witnesses for Orthodoxy.

Hypo-Ortho

Offline Anastasios

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2003, 11:18:05 AM »
Boswell,

Why the need to be sarcastic? You make it out like it is such an easy thing to run an Orthodox website--but it is quite hard to manage all the competing interests. We had to start cracking down on bashing Orthodoxy because it was getting tiresome.  Don't Orthodox have a right to have a website where they don't have to worry about getting attacks from every stripe?  I think that we have been more than gracious with our non-Orthodox guests; witness our friend Keble who is still a regular participant!

anastasios
« Last Edit: July 27, 2003, 11:23:50 AM by anastasios »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2003, 11:18:40 AM »
Like I said before, it's important to find any attacks on Orthodoxy and counter them.  That DOES lead to conversions from time to time!

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Offline Jakub

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2003, 01:27:55 PM »
I agree with Anastasios, not because he is the Imperial Administrator, but due to the fact I feel comfortable here, even being a "outsider", I am not being chased away by brow beating, I am here due to people like Hypo, Linus7, Mor, Serge, Bridgid and Anastasios who explain things to the best of their abilities in terms I can understand.

Geez, too much coffee has me rambling.

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Offline Linus7

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Re:Another Anti-Orthodox Website
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2003, 04:34:01 PM »
Ok, its pretty easy to see that these guys are not well informed, and tend to look pretty stupid. But, who cares? Why would an Orthodox want to visit Protestant sites-to stir dissension that leads frequently to very large threads on OC.net? I mean, if you don't like what they are saying, don't go to their websites! Its far from clear to me that Orthodox are always blameless when they discuss other Christian denominations  or other religions (waiting for the obligatory comment from the admins to provide evidence, and to stop bashing Orthodoxy).

I can understand what you are saying and see your point, to a certain extent. But in this case they are talking about us and our faith and misrepresenting it grossly.

It is important for us to know what is being said - and thought - so that we know how to give an answer when asked to explain.

I think we will probably continue to discuss the various sects and denominations that plague Christendom, whether or not we are always "blameless." Information like that is important, and no one is stopping the sectarians from answering for themselves.

I used to visit a Protestant site; but I stumbled upon it because it billed itself as Christianity.com. I thought it was a forum for all Christians. In fact, I went there at first to try to round up a few people who might be interested in an Orthodox mission in my area. I did not go there (at first, anyway) to argue or "stir up dissension." When controversy ultimately arose, as it did, I was simply trying to testify of my faith, not to cause anyone any difficulties.

BTW, if you don't like what we are discussing, why come to our site and stir up dissension?  ;)
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas