I don't think that is Orthodoxy, but it certainly will be orthodoxy.
So you say. Yet, in the same breath, you write:
The errors I perceive are those of ecclesiatistical excess, overly ritualistic emphasis, real prescence, infant baptism, over importance of the church and tradition, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, the confessional and priesthood, etc.
To this you may well add veneration of icons, for I suspect you disagree with this aspect of Orthodoxy too. My dear Cleopas, how on earth can you expect a genuine "unity of the faith", an "orthodoxy", if you will, when you have rejected as false and erroneous so much of what Orthodoxy regards as essential to the fullness
of the faith and salvation? To quote ialmisry: Kumbaya
I reiterate, as have others on this thread, and its sister threads, that the Orthodox Church has survived with its theological, liturgical and doctrinal treasures intact, despite ferocious assaults to its integrity by Arians, iconoclasts, Ottomans and communists (to name but a few) for 2000 years. Is this an accident? Look at the renaissance that is happening now in Russia, Romania, and other former Eastern Bloc countries. As brutal, ruthless and powerful as Bolshevism was, it still could not destroy Orthodoxy.
Even in the darkest days of Stalin's Russia, credit should not only go to the clergy and monastics who had the integrity and courage to clandestinely keep on with their work, in the towns, in the villages, and in the gulags, but the mami
and the babushki
that literally kept the faith alive. This is not some romantic idealisation on my part. I know many of these women who survived these horrors, gutsy women who made sure the babies were baptised, who hid the books and icons from the authorities (and often, through sheer force of character, sent officials packing), who made miraculous escapes to freedom with only the clothes on their backs, and an icon tucked down their clothing over their hearts. Orthodoxy is not a mere philosophy, nor an intellectual exercise, an "-ism", nor a mere modus operandi
, a set of rules or formulas for getting things right with God. It is a way of life, it is the very fabric of a believer's being.
Have you heard of the "Living Church" movement of the 1920s and '30s, Cleopas? This was an attempt by the Soviet regime to "renovate and reform" Orthodoxy. The aim was to emasculate and distort the Church in all sorts of ways, to turn it into a travesty of faith, and puppet of the government. It was a great failure, in the sense that the resistance to these "reforms" were resisted stoutly by clergy and laity alike. Cut to 1942, and the Nazi invasion of Russia. What did Stalin do? He knew (though it would have mightily stuck in his craw) that the only thing capable of uniting the people and boost morale at perhaps the nation's darkest hour since Napoleon's invasion was to allow an official relaxation of freedom of worship. There is even extant film footage from this period of Stalin atop Lenin's mausoleum at a rally of armed forces. He gives the expected stirring speech of encouragement, and ends it with the words: "Yako s'nami Bog
(For God is with us)". Seventy years of Communism was hardly likely to destroy a thousand years of Russian Orthodoxy. And Stalin, as much as he would have fought to deny this, knew it.
By contrast, your Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Baptists (whatever flavour of these you align yourself to) either keep fragmenting into ever-increasing doctrinal groups ( "I am an Arminian, and more so a Wesleyian Arminian." "I also believe in Lorship salvation -- though I do not believe in Calvinism itself" - these are just a few of your words, my friend, if I had the time and inclination, I could dig up plenty more from your posts. Someone mentioned cafeteria or cherry-picking?), or disappearing into irrelevance or doctrinal corruption after a few generations, if that. Common ground? Hooo, there's SO much you need to catch up on.