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Author Topic: One True Church?  (Read 49315 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cleopas
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« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2009, 03:28:12 PM »

Cleopas!  Friend!  I missed your voice!  I was afraid you had left us again, I'm so glad to see you are still here!  You always have such excellent points to add to the discussion!
I don't really have anything to add yet, as ytterbiumanalyst and witega said things quite nicely, I think.  I just wanted to say glad you're still here!

Thank you Sister. *blush*  Smiley
BTW, I officially hate the limited edit functionality here. I have created a bad habit over the years of correcting typos on a second or third read through, usually on later visit. And of course I can't do that here.  Shocked Cry laugh In other words, please forgive the sloppy spelling and what not. I do not type well, or proper, though I am pretty fast for using only three fingers between two hands.  Wink Cheesy

Left? No, I have not taken a sabbatical (not yet anyhow Cheesy).
I've just had a lot going on with family and my congregation as of late. You know how that can be, I'm sure.

BTW, whose the beauty in your avatar?  Grin Cheesy
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 03:29:07 PM by Cleopas » Logged

Cleopas
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« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2009, 03:36:30 PM »

That admission, that you do not know where the church is not,

The idea that "We know where the Church is, but we do not know where it is not." is not the Orthodox position. It is a formulation used by some Orthodox to try to explain the Orthodox position but many of us find it problematic because it can be misinterpreted (as your post exemplifies).

A less pithy, but more accurate way of putting it might be "We know where the Church is. We do not presume to know what God may choose to do beyond those boundaries."

Ahhh, well then, that really is a "horse of another color" then. Thank you for the more accurate declaration.


BTW (and this is for you Ytterbiumanalyst also), when I referenced Orthodxy as the claimed successor of the NT church, the embodiment of the original, I did not mean either to deny or affirm your claims of continuity therewith. I should have chosen my terms more carefully, Albeit, these are the more natural descriptives from my perspective. I suppose I had not though through all the evangelical baggage they carry with them and how that would effect an Orthodox perception of my writing.

Of course my point is now moot, given witega's more acurate articulation of Orthodox belief regarding the nature of the church and it's parameters.
Still, I think I have made a clear and succient explanation for the Biblical basis of the common Evagelical belief in the universal nature of the church.
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« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2009, 03:54:26 PM »

There is no Baptist Convention in United Kingdom? 

Not that I've ever heard of; and seeing I started worshipping with the Baptists in 1966, I think I'd've known by now!  There are various associations, and a lot of churches are entirely unaffiliated but in informal fellowship with other churches which are near them theologically or geograpghically or both, not necessarily or even usually only Baptist ones.

Quote
what if a lapsed Orthodox discovers that a Church like Cleopas' is a 5 minute drive and Cleopas' assumes that the lapsed Orthodox doesn't know Christ or thinks that Christ is everywhere?

You'd have to ask Cleopas. If such a person came to us in Wrexham, we would make him (her) welcome, as no doubt you would if a lapsed Baptist appeared among you seeking the Lord. But our primary aim would not be to make him a Baptist, but to ensure he was born again and knew it - justification by faith and assurance of salvation. If he stayed among us, of course he would be most welcome.

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« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2009, 04:03:44 PM »



You'd have to ask Cleopas. If such a person came to us in Wrexham, we would make him (her) welcome, as no doubt you would if a lapsed Baptist appeared among you seeking the Lord. But our primary aim would not be to make him a Baptist, but to ensure he was born again and knew it - justification by faith and assurance of salvation. If he stayed among us, of course he would be most welcome.


How is one assured of salvation before the judgment?
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« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2009, 04:43:01 PM »

There is no Baptist Convention in United Kingdom? 

Not that I've ever heard of; and seeing I started worshipping with the Baptists in 1966, I think I'd've known by now!  There are various associations, and a lot of churches are entirely unaffiliated but in informal fellowship with other churches which are near them theologically or geograpghically or both, not necessarily or even usually only Baptist ones.

Quote
what if a lapsed Orthodox discovers that a Church like Cleopas' is a 5 minute drive and Cleopas' assumes that the lapsed Orthodox doesn't know Christ or thinks that Christ is everywhere?

You'd have to ask Cleopas. If such a person came to us in Wrexham, we would make him (her) welcome, as no doubt you would if a lapsed Baptist appeared among you seeking the Lord. But our primary aim would not be to make him a Baptist, but to ensure he was born again and knew it - justification by faith and assurance of salvation. If he stayed among us, of course he would be most welcome.



And what distinction do you make between being "born again" (whatever that means), justified by faith (which faith?) and assured of salvation (according to whom?) and being Baptist?

Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it.  Nonetheless, he believes he was baptized as an infant by the Orthodox, and does not seek nor accept another "believer's" baptism.  What say you then?
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« Reply #50 on: January 26, 2009, 05:33:22 PM »

Speaking from my own experience in the Baptist Church, I was told my infant baptism wasn't valid, and that I had to be baptized again. I was also told that until I pray their Jesus prayer "Lord Jesus I recognize I am a sinner, and I accept you today into my heart and into my life" I wouldn't be "born again" and therefore I couldn't be assured of my salvation. I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, my sins were washed away by Jesus' blood, and that I was forgiven, my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)
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« Reply #51 on: January 26, 2009, 06:07:39 PM »

1) You have a greater understanding of Orthodoxy than the majority of Protestants I have encountered. 
2) Would you say that this is common among Protestants?

1) You are too kind! If there is any truth in your generous words, it is probably because:

- I work with a mission which works in a country where there are twice as many Orthodox as Catholics, and the rest are Moslems (bar maybe 8000 Protestants), so I needed to learn
- I am fascinated by historical theology - that is, the development of theology over the centuries
- likewise, I am seriously interested in the development and various expressions of Christian spirituality over the centuries
- I love so many things about Greece - the scenery, the food, the wine, the olives, the wonderful weather (cold, deep snow and pine forests to blazing sunshine and turquoise seas), and (if I weren't striving for holiness) I am aware that Greek women had a well-deserved reputation for great beauty even before the Greeks arrived in Greece
- The hospitality from Alexandroupolis to Konitsa, and down to Vagia near Thebes
- Coupled with this, many Orthodox churches are of great age and beauty, and my wife and I love visiting them, and sometimes if my wife is tucked up in the hotel (half the price of one in Britain) of a late evening I might go and pray silently in one of those churches. Even deserted monasteries have a serene beauty and a lingering sense of holiness.

I really think that the Orthodox Church has a rich heritage which needs to be shared with the wider Christian church - if only you would or could get out of the 'only true church' mentality which locks you away and with you your blessings, and recognise that there really is a 'wider Christian church' which needs what you have to offer.

2) No, it is not usual. Most Protestants have barely heard of Orthodoxy, and probably think it consists of people who wear funny hats and have a chaotic, wailing style of worship to which they cannot relate. A few uninformed glimpses of the exteriors when on holiday in Greece. They haven't the faintest idea what Orthodox believe.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 06:08:56 PM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2009, 06:19:46 PM »

How is one assured of salvation before the judgment?

You have approached one of the largest differences between us. It is written, "Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself" (1 John 5). Or, "you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans eight). Or "Whoever believes in him is not condemned" and "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement but has passed from death to life" (John 3 and 5).

You ask How? It is also written that "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans eight). A believer has that testimony in himself. To describe it is a bit like trying to describe what it means to be alive, or to be in love: within yourself, you know. But this assurance is imparted by the Spirit of God to our spirit within us.

Now the question, whether this blessed condition can be lost, is a different question. Orthodox and Arminian Protestants say it can; Augustinians and Calvinists say it cannot. I cannot enter into that question with confidence.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 06:20:36 PM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: January 26, 2009, 06:40:50 PM »

what distinction do you make between being "born again" ... justified by faith (which faith?) and assured of salvation ... and being Baptist?

Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it.  Nonetheless, he believes he was baptized as an infant by the Orthodox, and does not seek nor accept another "believer's" baptism.  What say you then?

Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)

Being born again is a literal new birth. We come into the world by physical birth, but we are not alive spiritually. We are born again when we are made alive spiritually, united with Christ, alive in him, a new creation. Orthodox see this as happening at baptism; we see it as happening when a person cordially believes in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Either way, it is a separate and later event than physical birth, and it makes one a child of God ("adopted" to use Paul's analogy).

These are entirely different from being Baptist, which denotes one's denominational affiliation, or one's "persuasion" as they used to say.

Now to come to your mooted lapsed Orthodox, it is hard to reply without sitting down and talking with him, for much is revealed in a person's body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and so on. Again, let me reverse the order of your questions. We do not believe that baptism is essential to salvation, so we would certainly not begin by trying to persuade him that his problem was related to his previous baptism as an infant. The first thing would be to get him right with the Lord, in his relationship with God; he could wrestle with the question of baptism later. Certainly we have unbaptised people (that is, people christened as infants) coming to our church, and we place no pressure upon them on that score, though we do require baptism for church membership.

You say he "thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it". I would be surprised to hear him say those things if he were a lapsed Orthodox, because normally I believe you do not speak in those terms. However, assuming he has learnt Evangelical jargon and is speaking to us in it, I would probably attempt to take two approaches:

- I would wish to probe sensitively to discover why he believed he is fact "justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it", to try, as far is is pastorally and humanly possible, to discover whether his was a false assurance based on a faulty understanding of these things, or a second-hand rather than personal faith.

- If it seemed that he truly were "justified by faith, assured of salvation" I would wish to discover what made him lapse from public worship and all the privileges and duties of being a member of the Body of Christ. It might be his reaction to harsh, ungodly people who had treated him badly in church; it might be some sin he was cherishing, or other known and sustained disobedience.

I could ramble on at length to you as to how one should counsel a lapsed believer, but there are some initial and spontaneous ideas. Others are much better pastors than I ever was.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 06:44:32 PM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: January 26, 2009, 06:45:12 PM »

I really think that the Orthodox Church has a rich heritage which needs to be shared with the wider Christian church - if only you would or could get out of the 'only true church' mentality which locks you away and with you your blessings, and recognise that there really is a 'wider Christian church' which needs what you have to offer.

You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

Christ commanded us to go out and make disciples of all nations. (Matt 28:19) Not modify our faith in accordance with others. We are preservers of the faith; we are preservers of the TRUTH.

Christianity is not a democracy.

It's a Theocracy where Christ is King, and we are His servants.
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« Reply #55 on: January 26, 2009, 06:56:19 PM »

I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, ... my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)

Let's leave aside the crass insensitivity of telling an 11-year-old her family are on their way to hell, whether it was true or not. It was out of place. Let us also leave aside the fact that whoever said it was clearly rather shallow in his or her understanding of soteriology, or at least of Orthodox theology and faith. I have no wish to justify that having been said.

However what was said to you was said to an 11-year-old and may have been put rather too simply because of your tender age at the time, and the true or false assumption that you would not grasp further theological ideas.

It is of course a half-truth. It was probably genuinely intended to give comfort and security to you.

Your speaker was right in referring to your past sins: however gross they were (and here I refer to any new believer, not just to you aged 11), they were, according to God's promise, forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west, never to be remembered again. Have you seen the Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? My grandson (now 13) asked me what was my favourite scene, and I had little hesitation in saying it was the moment when Aslan and Edmund (the traitor) had a private talk, and afterwards Aslan says that no-one need ever again mention the appalling things Edmund had done. Favourite, because that is how God has treated me: my sins have been forgiven, borne on the Cross, and forgotten for ever.

Your adviser probably also wanted to assure you that, though you would sometimes fail and fall again into sin, God would not stop loving you, nor cast you into outer darkness. You were his child, and the 'gates of grace' to use an Orthodox expression would always be open to you. However far the prodigal goes, he is always welcomed back, like the one lost sheep among 99 which gives such rejoicing among the angels.

I am sure your adviser did not mean to say that you now had a licence to sin as much as you liked. Someone who does that has not really made a sincere commitment to following Christ as Lord and serving him in this world. It is severely doubtful whether someone who does that is really saved at all. But I think your adviser was treating your new faith with respect, accepting it as genuine, and assuring you of God's acceptance of you, despite all your past sin and even despite the times you would fail him in the future.


« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 06:59:01 PM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #56 on: January 26, 2009, 07:03:15 PM »

it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?
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« Reply #57 on: January 26, 2009, 07:21:06 PM »


You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  Smiley
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 07:24:22 PM by Cleopas » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: January 26, 2009, 08:04:49 PM »

it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?

So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?   Huh

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« Reply #59 on: January 26, 2009, 08:16:57 PM »

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Cleopas, What is Truth?

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

So, you want to drink from the water of eternal life based on your acceptance of Christ and repudiating the successors of the Apostles?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  Smiley

So did those who died as witnesses (Martyrs) to the Eastern Orthodox faith whose memories we commemorate yesterday, today and tomorrow....   Smiley
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« Reply #60 on: January 26, 2009, 11:46:40 PM »

Speaking from my own experience in the Baptist Church, I was told my infant baptism wasn't valid, and that I had to be baptized again. I was also told that until I pray their Jesus prayer "Lord Jesus I recognize I am a sinner, and I accept you today into my heart and into my life" I wouldn't be "born again" and therefore I couldn't be assured of my salvation. I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, my sins were washed away by Jesus' blood, and that I was forgiven, my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)

Well, to state the obvious, you were told wrong.

Interesting that their Jesus prayer isn't in the Bible (let alone anabaptism and "assurance), yet they require it none the less.
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« Reply #61 on: January 26, 2009, 11:54:44 PM »

it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?

Matthew 7:6 μὴ δῶτε τὸ ἅγιον τοῖς κυσίν μηδὲ βάλητε τοὺς μαργαρίτας ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν χοίρων, μήποτε καταπατήσουσιν αὐτοὺς ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτῶν καὶ στραφέντες ῥήξωσιν ὑμᾶς.
"Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces,

1 Timothy 5:22 χεῖρας ταχέως μηδενὶ ἐπιτίθει μηδὲ κοινώνει ἁμαρτίαις ἀλλοτρίαις· σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν τήρει.
Lay hands hastily on no one, neither be a participant in other men's sins. Keep yourself pure.


You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  Smiley


Luke 10:16 ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ ἀκούει, καὶ ὁ ἀθετῶν ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ ἀθετεῖ· ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν ἀθετεῖ τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με.
Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Matthew 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 12:02:40 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #62 on: January 27, 2009, 01:44:16 AM »

I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, ... my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)

Let's leave aside the crass insensitivity of telling an 11-year-old her family are on their way to hell, whether it was true or not. It was out of place. Let us also leave aside the fact that whoever said it was clearly rather shallow in his or her understanding of soteriology, or at least of Orthodox theology and faith. I have no wish to justify that having been said.

However what was said to you was said to an 11-year-old and may have been put rather too simply because of your tender age at the time, and the true or false assumption that you would not grasp further theological ideas.

It is of course a half-truth. It was probably genuinely intended to give comfort and security to you.

Your speaker was right in referring to your past sins: however gross they were (and here I refer to any new believer, not just to you aged 11), they were, according to God's promise, forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west, never to be remembered again. Have you seen the Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? My grandson (now 13) asked me what was my favourite scene, and I had little hesitation in saying it was the moment when Aslan and Edmund (the traitor) had a private talk, and afterwards Aslan says that no-one need ever again mention the appalling things Edmund had done. Favourite, because that is how God has treated me: my sins have been forgiven, borne on the Cross, and forgotten for ever.

Your adviser probably also wanted to assure you that, though you would sometimes fail and fall again into sin, God would not stop loving you, nor cast you into outer darkness. You were his child, and the 'gates of grace' to use an Orthodox expression would always be open to you. However far the prodigal goes, he is always welcomed back, like the one lost sheep among 99 which gives such rejoicing among the angels.

I am sure your adviser did not mean to say that you now had a licence to sin as much as you liked. Someone who does that has not really made a sincere commitment to following Christ as Lord and serving him in this world. It is severely doubtful whether someone who does that is really saved at all. But I think your adviser was treating your new faith with respect, accepting it as genuine, and assuring you of God's acceptance of you, despite all your past sin and even despite the times you would fail him in the future.

I wish I could lay this all on the feet of one person teaching me bad theology at one time, but honestly this is the theology that was preached at the Baptist Church I attended over the course of the ten+ years or so that I was there by multiple individuals (including my mother.)

About eight years ago they did a seven week on the "evils" of the Catholic Church, and how they worshipped Mary, and how their sacraments were false testaments to God's promises, and how they weren't "true" Christians. And you see, this theology wasn't just limited to my church in New Jersey. My aunts in Pittsburgh and Denver were hearing the same promises from their pastors in their non-denominational churches.

I'm sorry David, but what you are preaching is false. It was false theology that was taught to me then, and it's false theology you are promoting now. While there may be bits of truth in what you say, (God does forgive our sins if we repent) because it is not 100% true, it's categorically false. There is no way for you or anyone else for that matter to say who is or who is not saved, and one prayer ain't gonna get you there. It's a lifetime walk my friend. Oh yes, there are deathbed confessions, the thief on the cross is a testament to that. But the OSAS theology is false. No one can gaurantee anyone their salvation.

In regards to the Narnia series, I'm quite familiar with it. My mother read it to us every night before Bible study. It's a nice story, but that's all it is. A story. I'm familiar with the allegorical undertones to it, listened to the radio series by Focus on the Family, saw the movie. But in the end, it's just a story.

I find it interesting that you and other Protestants will be quick to quote or borrow from writers such as C.S. Lewis, or go to Beth Moore for scriptural interpretation, or consult Charles Swindoll for advice on how God wants us manage our money, but will be quick to criticize us when we quote the Early Church Fathers. I just don't get it. If self interpretation is so accurate, why are Zondervan and LifeWay publishing houses making a killing on books that tell us how to interpret scripture? Why do we consult the minds of modern men, but disregard the writings of the earliest Christians who were disciples of the Apostles? It just doesn't make any sense. That is why I had to leave Protestantism. It doesn't make sense.
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« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2009, 01:52:47 AM »

it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?

We are willing to give freely; but one must be willing to leave behind their old beliefs and accept the new. All are welcome into Christ's Church, but they have to be willing to accept our beliefs.

Paul didn't go and preach to those in Athens and say "how can we mix our beliefs in Christ with your Paganism to make it easier for you to accept our beliefs?" No, he went, preached the truth, and told them that they must follow Christ and give up their old ways.

As the Dean of our parish likes to say, "God didn't call Moses up to Mt. Sinai for forty days to give him ten suggestions. He said, "These are my COMMANDMENTS. If you want a relationship with me you must follow them."

I am more than willing to talk to others about Orthodoxy, and how it is the One, True, Faith. But to walk into a Baptist Church and suggest how incense may enhance their worship experience? Heck no.

See what you don't get is that this is not a cafeteria. You can't pick and choose what elements you like, what you want to believe, and what makes you feel good.

You either accept that we are the One, True, Church or you don't.

It's that simple.
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« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2009, 02:06:15 AM »


You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  Smiley

I understand that he may have not intended to suggest we give up our belief in Christ, but you see we believe this is the Church Christ established. To give up that belief, well we might as well stop believing in Christ. As I said in the above post, this isn't a cafeteria, you can't pick and choose what you like and don't like.

Christ sat with the Samaritan woman, and then he told her of the true faith. God is willing to meet you where you are, but then He expects you to change.

We don't believe God receives us because of our "lineage" or our "Jeruselum." We are not Jewish. (Please don't confuse Orthodox Christianity with Orthodox Judaism.) We believe God receives us because our beliefs are in line with what He preached and what He taught us while He was here on earth.

I am willing to speak with Protestants about Orthodoxy, but I am not willing to compromise my beliefs for them. If you want to learn more about Orthodoxy, that is fine. But to be a member of the One, True, Church you must accept the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.

I'm not sure what you want us to do? Allow you to participate in communion with us? Participate in "worship" services at Protestant churches with you? This is not acceptable. We don't desire to worship with those who do not accept the fullness of the faith. We see the Protestant faiths as lacking, so why would we want to worship with them? You say you have much to gain from us. Fine. Then come, join the Orthodox Church. But you must give up your Protestant beliefs. It's all or nothing. I'm sorry if that sounds mean or crass, but it is true.
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« Reply #65 on: January 27, 2009, 02:21:17 AM »

I'm not sure what you want us to do? Allow you to participate in communion with us? Participate in "worship" services at Protestant churches with you? This is not acceptable. We don't desire to worship with those who do not accept the fullness of the faith. We see the Protestant faiths as lacking, so why would we want to worship with them? You say you have much to gain from us. Fine. Then come, join the Orthodox Church. But you must give up your Protestant beliefs. It's all or nothing. I'm sorry if that sounds mean or crass, but it is true.

Our Protestant friends do not ask us for anything.  Example, Cleopas won't talk to me and that's perfectly fine.   Smiley

The point is not about what our Protestant friends are willing to give up (which is nothing); The point is what they can do for disillusioned Orthodox, whom we have no influence over, who attend non-denominational Churches whether for convenience or any other reasons.  The Orthodox Church, while attempting to find the lost sheep, must continue to minister to those who seek salvation under Her wings and not get caught up in things like Stewardship (ask for a lot while mismanaging budgets in the process) and Folk Dances, et al.
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« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2009, 03:49:11 AM »

Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation,

Maybe such a person is reading the posts on the forum, in hope of some strength and guidance. Here are some words from Shenouda III:

A person might live in sin whilst having spiritual tears. How can this be? Here is an example of this.

A person lives in sin and is being defeated by a habit which is dominating him. So he weeps, wanting from all his heart to get rid of this sin, but his will is weak and cannot assist him!

This person will be rescued by grace and God will regard his weeping as a beginning for repentance. God looks at his heart and not his deed. If also, he is committing the sin whilst not enjoying it but is defeated by it.

- "Tears in spiritual Life" pp. 73-74 (emphasis Shenouda's)

May that help you!
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« Reply #67 on: January 27, 2009, 03:51:37 AM »

Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation,

Maybe such a person is reading the posts on the forum, in hope of some strength and guidance. Here are some words from Shenouda III:

A person might live in sin whilst having spiritual tears. How can this be? Here is an example of this.

A person lives in sin and is being defeated by a habit which is dominating him. So he weeps, wanting from all his heart to get rid of this sin, but his will is weak and cannot assist him!

This person will be rescued by grace and God will regard his weeping as a beginning for repentance. God looks at his heart and not his deed. If also, he is committing the sin whilst not enjoying it but is defeated by it.

- "Tears in spiritual Life" pp. 73-74 (emphasis Shenouda's)

May that help you!

Let it be stated that Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church and is in no way in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #68 on: January 27, 2009, 05:16:16 AM »

Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is ... in no way in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Which works for my belief, that the Eastern Orthodox Church is not the only body to contain the Lord's children. No-one is saying that you Eastern Orthodox are not true Christians; we are only contending that you are not God's only children, and that we who are outside of your communion are nonetheless, by grace, part of Christ's Body, the Church.
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« Reply #69 on: January 27, 2009, 05:21:33 AM »

You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection?

I do not understand what you mean. If God has entrusted riches to you - as he has - and if you share these riches with others, how is this tantamount to denying Christ, his incarnation and his resurrection?

Even sharing those facts with unbelievers is commendable, for we must make God's gospel known to the world. Why then not to those who already share your firm belief in Christ's incarnation and resurrection?

Does not the scripture invite men to "taste and see that the Lord is good"? How can we taste of your riches, if you believe that sharing them with those outside involves a denial of your Lord?

These are not rhetorical questions: I am genuinely puzzled.
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« Reply #70 on: January 27, 2009, 05:26:26 AM »

[So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?

Some are, some are not. It is not outward membership of an institution that imparts salvation, but union with Christ. Not all who take his name belong to him: to some he will say, "I never knew you." Whether there will be more of such who were, in this life, Orthodox or more who were Evangelical, remains to be revealed at that Day. But those, whom he does not yet "know" in that sense, are indeed lost sheep, and need to be brought to the Saviour.
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« Reply #71 on: January 27, 2009, 05:32:47 AM »

quick to criticize us when we quote the Early Church Fathers.

I for one have never criticised you for the authors whom you quote, and I quote the Fathers myself, as you know. Which points to the fact that I read them as well. But we do not regard them as infallible, any more than C S Lewis was infallible; the other authors you mention are not among my reading.

But as an aside, have you any idea how difficult it is to get hold of the writings of tha Fathers in modern English? It's like looking for gold dust.
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« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2009, 09:12:11 AM »

GREEKCHEF: THE WAGER

You wrote that a group or denomination hives off to form a new division or splinter because it is following some new idea, distorting the Faith even further; I had the temerity to contradict you, and said that (were I a betting man) I believed I could show that such groups spring up for the very opposite reason: namely, that they wish to recover a lost idea or ideal. You countered that you would accept the bet and raise me some.

So be it! Let us have our (pretend) bet!

I list some groups and denominations and the lost ideas and ideals which I think they have striven to recover from a parent body now in decline:

Pentecostals
Montanists   the lost charismata
Brethren
Congregationalists   a primitive church order
Baptists      the primitive form of baptism
Methodists
Pietists      the spirit of their parent bodies (Anglican, Lutheran)
         without change to the doctrine
Reformers   to leapfrog over mediæval corruption to the early church
Lollards
Hussites                to set aside papal pretensions and return to the authority of the Apostles
Donatists                the recovery of a pure, uncompromised church

There is a list: maybe I could add more if I set my mind to it. But over to you.

(Sorry I do not know how to arrange the tabs neatly  Sad)
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« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2009, 11:48:18 AM »

So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?

Do these words of Peter the Aleut (see his 17th May 2008 post) have any bearing on your question?

We Orthodox can certainly do well to learn the Evangelical mantra that conversion of the inner man is necessary for salvation, that mere application of the name Orthodox to ourselves because this is the title we inherited from our forebears is not enough to make us truly Christian.  (Is this, in fact, not the message of such great saints as St. John Chrysostom?) 
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« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2009, 11:57:31 AM »

DY, the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  In fact, the things they tried to fix were never broken in Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy is the fullness of the faith and doesn't need fixing.
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« Reply #75 on: January 27, 2009, 12:17:43 PM »

DY, the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  In fact, the things they tried to fix were never broken in Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy is the fullness of the faith and doesn't need fixing.

Well, obviously, we respectfully disagree. Nevertheless, we are not saying there is not enough right about Orthodox to make true salvation (being "born again" in the Evangelical sense) possible through it's ministry.
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« Reply #76 on: January 27, 2009, 12:23:31 PM »

Our Protestant friends do not ask us for anything.  Example, Cleopas won't talk to me and that's perfectly fine.   Smiley

I'm sorry for any perceived slight, dear fellow. It was not intentional. It's just that I have learned to reply only to those comments, persons, or aspects of a post that solicit particular interest at a given time or reading. You see, being as an Evagelical so few in comparison to you many, varied, and well spoken Orthodox I realized early on I could not, indded would be foolish to try to, respond to everyone and/or every single comment. So, I try to make my comments count when I make them, and hope that as such they will fuel the dialog, and even if not addressing everyone directly will indirectly create a sense of interaction.

My sincere apologies if I made you feel ignored or neglected. Indeed, sometimes I have not had the time or liberty to formulate a reply and mentally have placed some responses on a back burner -- hoping to get to them later perhaps.

Just an FYI. Wink
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« Reply #77 on: January 27, 2009, 12:30:51 PM »


Cleopas, What is Truth?

God's word is truth! John 17:17

Quote
So, you want to drink from the water of eternal life based on your acceptance of Christ and repudiating the successors of the Apostles?


Not at all! What I am trying to tell you is that we have ALREADY received the water of eternal life from the hand of the Lord himself. He has received us, graced us, and revealed himself to us without you. And like the diciples who were astonished  and speechless to find Jesus communing with that Smaratian woman, it seems you similarly balk at the saving grace of our Lord among us Protestants. BUT Christ has received us! And that apart from you. To Him we stand or fall.

That is the intended positive provocation that I am attempting to metaphorically relay.
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« Reply #78 on: January 27, 2009, 12:31:32 PM »

So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?

Do these words of Peter the Aleut (see his 17th May 2008 post) have any bearing on your question?

We Orthodox can certainly do well to learn the Evangelical mantra that conversion of the inner man is necessary for salvation, that mere application of the name Orthodox to ourselves because this is the title we inherited from our forebears is not enough to make us truly Christian.  (Is this, in fact, not the message of such great saints as St. John Chrysostom?) 


Lets put the cart before the horse. Wink
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« Reply #79 on: January 27, 2009, 12:49:23 PM »

the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  ... they ... were never broken in Orthodoxy. 

Of course one wasn't disputing that. The nub of the wager was whether their motive as to follow a new idea or to recover a lost one.

The relevance to this thread lies here, that I think, expressed more seriously, GreekChef's assertion is that each new group or denomination moves one step further away from the faith and order of the true church as it develops the latest new idea. I was countering with the assertion that their motive (the "wager" was not about their success) was to restore and re-activate what had been lost.
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« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2009, 01:20:35 PM »


Cleopas, What is Truth?

God's word is truth! John 17:17

John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Quote
So, you want to drink from the water of eternal life based on your acceptance of Christ and repudiating the successors of the Apostles?


Not at all! What I am trying to tell you is that we have ALREADY received the water of eternal life from the hand of the Lord himself. [/quote]

Amazing!  St. Paul didn't, but had to get it from the Church by the hand of St. Ananias.

Your claims resemble St. Paul less and Joe Smith, Jr. more.

Quote
He has received us, graced us, and revealed himself to us without you.

Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

Quote
And like the diciples who were astonished  and speechless to find Jesus communing with that Smaratian woman, it seems you similarly balk at the saving grace of our Lord among us Protestants. BUT Christ has received us! And that apart from you.

Luke 10:16 ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ ἀκούει, καὶ ὁ ἀθετῶν ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ ἀθετεῖ· ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν ἀθετεῖ τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με.
Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Matthew 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Quote
To Him we stand or fall.

no, you fall on your own.
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« Reply #81 on: January 27, 2009, 01:25:53 PM »

John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.


Quote
Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.

Quote
no, you fall on your own.

Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter. I know in whom I have believed, and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.
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« Reply #82 on: January 27, 2009, 01:26:16 PM »

the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  ... they ... were never broken in Orthodoxy. 

Of course one wasn't disputing that. The nub of the wager was whether their motive as to follow a new idea or to recover a lost one.

The relevance to this thread lies here, that I think, expressed more seriously, GreekChef's assertion is that each new group or denomination moves one step further away from the faith and order of the true church as it develops the latest new idea. I was countering with the assertion that their motive (the "wager" was not about their success) was to restore and re-activate what had been lost.

David,
I have no doubt that many, many of the denominations had the motives that you have stated.  I raised your "wager" based on a personal experience I had while in high school, of a friend telling me why his church split away from its parent (who had split away from their parent with similar motives).  It was because they decided to teach something new, never heard before, supported by "scriptural evidence."  The scary part was that my friend (16 at the time) was the one who developed the doctrine!  It was so convoluted (not to mention being over a decade ago), I could not try to explain it to you if I tried.  It was something from Revelation about the second coming of Christ.  This seemed to be commonplace, as it was not the first time I'd heard it.  

My other point was that even the ones with the motives you stated (recovering lost teachings) ended up, in fact, with new, novel, foreign, innovative teachings, good motives or not.  The very basic Protestant teaching of Sola Scriptura was COMPLETELY new, novel, foreign, and innovative!  They were trying to return, presumably, to the faith before it was so "corrupted" by the Catholic Church.  In fact, however, they ended up much, much farther away from the faith.

I have to admit that I do not have enough knowledge of the majority of those denominations which you listed to be able to address them anyway.  Sadly, as there is so much about Orthodoxy alone that I am still trying to learn (having only so much time for private study), my reading in Protestantism is still quite limited and basic.
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« Reply #83 on: January 27, 2009, 01:27:25 PM »

I do not understand what you mean. If God has entrusted riches to you - as he has - and if you share these riches with others, how is this tantamount to denying Christ, his incarnation and his resurrection?

Even sharing those facts with unbelievers is commendable, for we must make God's gospel known to the world. Why then not to those who already share your firm belief in Christ's incarnation and resurrection?

Does not the scripture invite men to "taste and see that the Lord is good"? How can we taste of your riches, if you believe that sharing them with those outside involves a denial of your Lord?

These are not rhetorical questions: I am genuinely puzzled.

I don't understand what you mean. What treasures do you want us to share? What do you mean by sharing? As I've stated before, the Orthodox Church has no problem educating honest inquirerers to the Orthodox faith. My own parish has a class every Tuesday night for those who want to learn more about the faith, whether they be new to the faith, or cradle but want to learn more about it. In addition to this, we also have a Monday night Bible Study, a Wednesday night lecture series (that includes dinner) and we are also starting an adult education program on Sunday mornings.

Even for parishes who do not have such an extensive list of educational opportunities, I know that outsiders are always welcome to attend any of the Divine Services, and can contact a priest at any time with any questions.

As we always say in Orthodoxy, "Come and See."

I'm not sure what you mean by "share your treasures." Do you want us to go and lecture in other faiths as to how to incorporate Orthodoxy into their worship? That's ridiculous. Even during my time in the Baptist Church, we never invited speakers from other faiths to come tell us how we should modify our worship. (And Lord knows, they were modifying it all the time.)

If you are under the impression that Orthodox Christians do not share the gospel, you are wrong.

In addition to Orthodox Missions (http://ocmc.org), Orthodox Christians are spreading the word about the faith right in their own neighborhoods. A recent study conducted by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute of the OCA and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the U.S. revealed "the common stereotype is that the Orthodox Churches in the USA are “ethnic” Churches of certain immigrant communities. The study shows that this not the case anymore. Nine out of ten parishioners in both GOA and OCA are American-born. Further, today, more than one-quarter (29%) of the GOA and a majority of OCA (51%) members are converts to Orthodoxy – persons born and raised either Protestants or Roman Catholics." (Go to http://www.orthodoxinstitute.org/orthodoxchurchtoday.html for the full details of the study.) It should also be stated that this survey didn't include all of the jurisdictions in the U.S., one of which, the Antiochian Archdiocese, is comprised mainly of converts.

What I keep on saying to you, and what you don't seem to understand, is that you cannot break Orthodoxy up into little pieces and accept what you like and reject what you don't. You either accept it as a whole or reject it as a whole.

There is absolutely positively nothing in the Protestant faith/worship/theology that I wish to incorporate into Orthodoxy. Why?

Because it is lacking. It does not have the fullness of the faith. The Reformers of the 16th Century tried to restore what we already had. There was nothing, in our eyes, that they "fixed" or made better because we already had it, and still have it to this day.

While the Orthodox Church will never judge who is or who is not going to heaven, we will never accept that those outside of the Church are part of the Church.

I'm not sure what else to tell you David. You keep trying to apply your "cafeteria theology" to Orthodoxy, and it just doesn't work that way. It cannot work. As I said before, Christianity is a theocracy, not a democracy.
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« Reply #84 on: January 27, 2009, 01:34:19 PM »

HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.
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« Reply #85 on: January 27, 2009, 01:38:37 PM »

John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.
Actually, historically speaking, their word was much more than just the canonical gospels.  It was the entire teaching of those such as the much-discussed Ignatius which is now preserved in the church.  To say that it is JUST the gospel is simply to be deluding oneself. 

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Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.
Ialmisry is referring to the fact that it is the Church (that would be the Orthodox Church) that preserved and defended the Gospels and Christianity which was canonized in 419, and handed down to be subsequently changed and diluted by Protestants and filtered down to you.   Wink

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no, you fall on your own.
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Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter. I know in whom I have believed, and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.
I don't believe ialmisry was attempting to pass judgment on you.  I think he was referring to the authority of the Church, the body of Christ on earth, which you are outside of, and thus on your own.  Does that make a little more sense?

Isa, correct me if I am wrong on any of these things.  I'm just trying to help so that the discussion remains productive and doesn't disintegrate.
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« Reply #86 on: January 27, 2009, 01:43:07 PM »

John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word



Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.

Which they spoke to their successors.  Not you.


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Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

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No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.

No, you are quoting what the Church says is THEIR word, which is His word, again according to the Church.

Not your word.

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no, you fall on your own.

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Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter.

No it doesn't.  But Christ's does "Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."


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I know in whom I have believed,


St. Apollos so thought.  Eloquent, mighty in the scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, fervent in spirit, teaching accurately the  things of the Lord.  Yet he humbled himself to receive instruction in the way of God more accurately, instruction he received from the Church (Acts 19 would indicate perhaps that he was confused about baptism too).

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and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.

1Cor 10:12: So-then let him who thinks he stands beware lest he fall.
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« Reply #87 on: January 27, 2009, 01:44:27 PM »

HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.

That is for Christ, and Christ alone to judge. As we have said before, we know where Christ's faith is. We don't know where it isn't.

While I can look at some Protestant sects that hold true to orthodox (small "o") Christian beliefs, there are others that make me scratch my head. As I said before, only God and God alone knows who is and who isn't going to heaven. (Regardless of whether they are Orthodox, Baptist, Pentacostal, Catholic, etc.)
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« Reply #88 on: January 27, 2009, 01:45:04 PM »

Cleopas!  Friend!  I missed your voice!  I was afraid you had left us again, I'm so glad to see you are still here!  You always have such excellent points to add to the discussion!
I don't really have anything to add yet, as ytterbiumanalyst and witega said things quite nicely, I think.  I just wanted to say glad you're still here!

Thank you Sister. *blush*  Smiley
BTW, I officially hate the limited edit functionality here. I have created a bad habit over the years of correcting typos on a second or third read through, usually on later visit. And of course I can't do that here.  Shocked Cry laugh In other words, please forgive the sloppy spelling and what not. I do not type well, or proper, though I am pretty fast for using only three fingers between two hands.  Wink Cheesy

Left? No, I have not taken a sabbatical (not yet anyhow Cheesy).
I've just had a lot going on with family and my congregation as of late. You know how that can be, I'm sure.

BTW, whose the beauty in your avatar?  Grin Cheesy

I just realized I never said thank you for your compliment.  The picture is of me and my husband while on our trip to Greece in November.  Thank you for your kind words!
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« Reply #89 on: January 27, 2009, 02:04:31 PM »

HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.

Respectfully, I have to disagree.  There is TOO much difference and disunity of faith to say that we are all the same (else we would all be accepting gay bishops, female priests, Christ as god-with-a-little-g, and all manner of other bizarre beliefs that I think we can all agree are not in line with Christ's teaching).  There are more important things than holding hands and singing kumbayah together.  As Handmaiden said, we are truly proclaiming the Gospel all over the world.  We more than welcome inquiries into the faith.  Indeed, the Church waits as the father of the prodigal, with open arms, praying for the son to return.  In fact, as our elder priest said in his sermon this past Sunday, "NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY prays MORE for the unity of the faith than we Orthodox."  We pray CONSTANTLY, at every service, at all times, at every hour, for the unity of Christ's Church (You might be very surprised by what you hear, were you to attend services at an Orthodox Church).  What is it that you would like us to do in addition?  I, too, am a little confused about this. 

And really, it's not about what Handmaiden, or I, or ialmisry, or any other Orthodox believes about Protestants that matters.  Unlike Protestant believers (and I don't say that in a pejorative sense, just to draw the difference), we do not form our own opinions on these matters and hold them as dogmatic (or authoritative).  We submit to the greater wisdom and authority of the Church on these things.  So it's not about whether Handmaiden or any other individual acknowledges it.  The Church has spoken quite clearly, and it is to Her that we humbly submit our opinions, as it is She who is Christ's bride, whom He Himself left to be the guiding authority for us on earth.  Do you believe that you know better than the entirety of the Church, whose voice has been heard on the matter through the voices and hands of the saints over 2000 years (I don't mean that disrespectfully, I'm just trying to provide perspective)? 

No. Christ left the Church as His authority on earth to guide us in our journey.  Who is your guiding authority on earth?  Saying "the Holy Spirit," as you can imagine, will hold no weight whatsoever with us, as it is the same claim made by those who founded such sects as Mormons and JW's.  As is quite clear by the extremely varied beliefs throughout Protestantism (as well as those fringe sects mentioned and others), "hearing" the Holy Spirit by oneself is ALWAYS compromised by sin and pride without the guiding hand of the Church.  Make sense?  Or am I being clear as mud?  Smiley
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