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Author Topic: One True Church?  (Read 49316 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rufus
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« Reply #495 on: August 16, 2010, 08:08:48 PM »

I haven't been following this thread closely, so forgive me if this is a tangent, but it struck me like a load of bricks during my recent visit to Ukraine that it is absolutely acceptable over there to say "ChurcES" in plural. Even Orthodox clergy says, and writes, "ChurchES." My feeble attempt to object caused only laughter and gazes full of condolence, like, "this guy is coockoo."
Well, there are many "churches", but only one "Church".

Not according to the official language of Ukrainian religious people, not anymore. They all, universally, speak of several Churches. Another term is "Confessions." If you say that there is but one Church, you automatically become a non-person in Ukraine.Smiley Political correctness rules. Eastern Rite Catholics and Protestants must be respected.Smiley

The EP always talks about Churches (capitalized), too. I understand how people in America (including myself) feel pressured to avoind "One Church" language, but it is disappointing to hear that the same has become true in parts of the Old World. Before we know it, ecumenism will be the modern equivalent to the Arian and Monophysite heresies--a fashionable belief that threatens the foundations of the Church. But so long as the faithful have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Orthodoxy can never fall.
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« Reply #496 on: August 16, 2010, 09:49:57 PM »

There are several searching comments in the last few posts, and I shall attempt to address them later, time permitting. However, let me try to put simply how I see things. It seems plain to me, from many posts, that a good number of you love Jesus Christ. I do not say, admire him, or have taken him as your example, though doubtless these things are also true: but I say, it seems clear that you love him. I do not believe one can love the Son of God except by the Spirit of God. So I cannot deny (nor do I wish to deny) that the Spirit of God is active within you.

I am perhaps also writing the mirror image of what so many of you have so often posted: you say you know that God's grace is within Orthodoxy, you don't know where it isn't. Similarly (mutatis mutandis) I know the grace of God operates within Evangelical religion; I do not know where it does not operate - though (as I wrote in the previous paragraph) it seems plain to me that his grace is indeed within those of you who write with true love towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to love God and be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Surely the Spirit must be at work among us, even though we have not been chrismated in the Orthodox church.
Lots of Hindus say "Jesus is Lord".
I have never heard  Hindu say "Jesus is Lord." What does this mean, then, if a Hindu says "Jesus is Lord?" What does the scripture mean when we read, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit?"

It's hard to say since we all surely realize that we can teach a Parrot to say this.

A Mormon will definitely say this, but you must first define "Jesus" and then define "Lord". They think Jesus is a created being who worked his way up the ladder of spiritual growth until he was able to rule over  this particular little universe where we live. And they say you too can work your way up and be a "God" as well ruling over your own planetary system. To them saying "Jesus is Lord" comes easily..

 Clearly there is much more to this teaching then something literally cut and dry as you seem to suggest.

I think both you and Mr. Young have confused the cause with the effect. You say that the Lord dwells within you and transforms you ( to paraphrase). So therefore you are not practicing in Principle only... But that is the desired effect, the indwelling of the Lord. The cause you are hoping does this is adherence to a list of Principles, all else ( the Holy Sacraments) are either superstitions or half true or merely symbolic used to further your adherence to your Principles.
I can't argue with you on your point about even teaching a parrot to say "Jesus is Lord." It does have to do more with what one means by "Jesus" and "Lord." I can take issue with you about the need to adhere to a set of principles and the sacraments as "merely symbolic." I don't approach my faith as adherence to a set of principles. The sacraments are real, physical ways in which God's "energy" is manifested in the world. Perhaps I am not an average Protestant.
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KevinOrr
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« Reply #497 on: August 16, 2010, 09:51:53 PM »

There are several searching comments in the last few posts, and I shall attempt to address them later, time permitting. However, let me try to put simply how I see things. It seems plain to me, from many posts, that a good number of you love Jesus Christ. I do not say, admire him, or have taken him as your example, though doubtless these things are also true: but I say, it seems clear that you love him. I do not believe one can love the Son of God except by the Spirit of God. So I cannot deny (nor do I wish to deny) that the Spirit of God is active within you.

I am perhaps also writing the mirror image of what so many of you have so often posted: you say you know that God's grace is within Orthodoxy, you don't know where it isn't. Similarly (mutatis mutandis) I know the grace of God operates within Evangelical religion; I do not know where it does not operate - though (as I wrote in the previous paragraph) it seems plain to me that his grace is indeed within those of you who write with true love towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to love God and be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Surely the Spirit must be at work among us, even though we have not been chrismated in the Orthodox church.
Lots of Hindus say "Jesus is Lord".
I have never heard  Hindu say "Jesus is Lord." What does this mean, then, if a Hindu says "Jesus is Lord?" What does the scripture mean when we read, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit?"

I have. When I was in college the food was soooo bad that once per week I went to the Hare Krishna cooking class ( and sermon) and got some tasty Indian Food. They would often refer to Jesus as "Lord Jesus".

My guess is that the saying doesn't mean that a nonbeliever cant pronounce the syllables. I think it means that no one can produce faith the the extent that he declares Jesus as The Lord without the help of the Holy Spirit.
I agree with you. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to know and do His will.
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KevinOrr
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« Reply #498 on: August 16, 2010, 09:56:10 PM »

There are several searching comments in the last few posts, and I shall attempt to address them later, time permitting. However, let me try to put simply how I see things. It seems plain to me, from many posts, that a good number of you love Jesus Christ. I do not say, admire him, or have taken him as your example, though doubtless these things are also true: but I say, it seems clear that you love him. I do not believe one can love the Son of God except by the Spirit of God. So I cannot deny (nor do I wish to deny) that the Spirit of God is active within you.

I am perhaps also writing the mirror image of what so many of you have so often posted: you say you know that God's grace is within Orthodoxy, you don't know where it isn't. Similarly (mutatis mutandis) I know the grace of God operates within Evangelical religion; I do not know where it does not operate - though (as I wrote in the previous paragraph) it seems plain to me that his grace is indeed within those of you who write with true love towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to love God and be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Surely the Spirit must be at work among us, even though we have not been chrismated in the Orthodox church.

If I bought that, I would have to buy it when the Jehovah's Witness, the Mormon and Muslim (and, as has been pointed out, the Hindu) say it. And I don't.

Mat. 7:21Not 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. 22Many 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? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I John 4:1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world
I can't argue with you. Someone else made a good point in an above post. What matters is how one understands "Jesus" and "Lord." And the passage of scripture you quote from Matthew consistently puts fear in me, to avoid the sin of presumption and hope that God will have mercy on me.
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KevinOrr
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« Reply #499 on: August 16, 2010, 10:03:36 PM »

The dicnony you set up thus makes no sense.

I think my words do make sense: I guess you mean they don't fit into your worldview.

No, they don't fit the Gospel:

The Vatican has reduced the Faith to the hierarchy, and crushed it into the singularity of the papacy. In reaction, the Protestants reduced the Faith to the Bible, and scattered it to anarchy.  We Orthodox see you all as two sides of the same coin, which cannot be rendered unto God.

Now I don't consider your strain of Protestantantism a synagogue of Satan, but many Orthodox do, and I have nothing to "correct" them on that. Economia is a mercy, not a right.

So while I address you as a brother in Christ, that is a relationship that depends on you and I.  Addressing a fellow Orthodox, that is a relationship that the Spirit of Christ enacts, joining us at the hip.

One canot have God as his Father and Christ as his brother unless he has the Church as his Mother. One truly belongs to Christ by beloning to His One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Visible Orthodox Church, His Body. Between His members, no one suffers a rift or breach unless he is ambutated, in which case he ceases to "truly belong to Christ," and hence truly does not belong to Christ.

Quote
But semantically, they are not non-sense, surely?


One cannot truly belong and truly not belong at the same time.

Not all Protestants have reduced the Faith to the Bible. We also hold to the creeds.

Only in the same sense that the Vatican has other bishops besides their supreme pontiff, superfluous.

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As United Methodists, we are also sacramental.

I'm not even sure if your self definitions would fit that, let alone the Church's.
Quote
Ariticle of Religion of the Methodist Church
Article XVIII—Of the Lord's Supper
Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.

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Refering Protestants to anarchy doesn't seem right either, in spite of the fact that there has arisen a ridiculously large number of denominations.
Getting two or three of you to agree on something is rather difficult to achieve, even more difficult to sustain.

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And why do you find yourself adding the word "visible" to One, Holy, and Apostolic?
Because the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church can be seen, something the Fathers of Nicea and Constantinople and their opponents took as a given.  It took the Protestant Reformation to try to transform Christ into the invisible man.
Again, hard to argue with you.  I believe Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I do not believe in transubstantiation, because it attempts to explain what cannot be explained. Your points tap into my struggle. Am I in the Church or not? And if not, am I damned, no matter how much I pray and seek to do God's will? Am I a sheep or a goat?
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« Reply #500 on: January 24, 2012, 01:31:36 PM »


My question was, then how do you know?

A very good question: I must ponder it. But not this evening, as I have to speak at a church in Caergwrle. But I suspect it breaks down into at least three questions:

- How do you know you are a child of God?
- How do you know you are a member of the right visible organisation?
- How do you know about individual doctrines and practices, one by one?

Well, I shall try to be like the bloke who said cogito ergo sum.
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« Reply #501 on: January 24, 2012, 01:34:33 PM »

does that extend to "I think therefore I am...correct" ? Wink
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« Reply #502 on: January 24, 2012, 01:42:35 PM »

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How do you know you are a child of God?
Knowing is not faith

Quote
How do you know you are a member of the right visible organisation?
Knowing is not faith

Might I also quote something said on AFR that I thought it was profound to me:

John 20:31
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But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name
Nowhere in this verse does it say "But these are written that it may pass all tests of Aristotelian logic, but that you may believe on his name.

The priest that said that also happens to post on here from time to time Smiley

PP
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« Reply #503 on: January 24, 2012, 01:47:39 PM »

does that extend to "I think therefore I am...correct" ? Wink

As he who said it might have replied, Utinam!
 Wink
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« Reply #504 on: January 24, 2012, 04:01:40 PM »

- How do you know you are a child of God?
I was baptized and chrismated. God claimed me for His own.

Quote
- How do you know you are a member of the right visible organisation?
Through the testimony of history and the writings of the early Church Fathers.

Quote
- How do you know about individual doctrines and practices, one by one?
See answer above.

You see, it's not just my personal opinions or pet interpretations. (Indeed when I came to Orthodoxy I had to "unlearn" much of what I thought I knew!)

A priest friend related a conversation that he had with a young man in his Inquirers' class. In the middle of the class, the young man burst out, "But Father, if all this is true, then everything I thought I knew is wrong. I'm going to have to fix everything!"
To which Father replied, "Well, son, that is true. But the good thing is, you don't have to do it alone. And all the heavy lifting has already been done for us."
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« Reply #505 on: January 25, 2012, 05:17:16 AM »

- How do you know you are a child of God?
I was baptized and chrismated.

I believe you are mistaken. Bit of a nerve, saying I think you are wrong about yourself, but let me explain. I do not mean I think you are not a child of God. But the scripture says "He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself" (John) and "it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Paul). I suspect that you have the tesimony in yourself, that the Holy Spirit himself is bearing witness to your sonship (or should it be daughterhood?). Then, rightly feeling yourself to be a child of God, you mistakenly identify the source of this sense of assurance as your baptism and chrismation.

Now you know from what I wrote a few posts earlier about sacraments - that they convey the grace they portray - that I do believe that our baptism seals, or confirms, deepens, or settles our death and resurrection with Christ in our more conscious experience. Chrismation, of course, we don't have, but we do believe that a person receievs the Holy Spirit when he believes.

If baptism and chrismation themselves brought about our new birth into children of God, then surely you would, in your society, have no people who might, later in life, look back on those events and say, "It all meant nothing... a hollow ritual, but it wasn't real." We have, regrettably, plenty of people from Baptist background who profess conversion and are baptised, but who, 10 or 20 years later perhaps, have no religion, never darken the doors of a church, and believe it was all a delusion. They live, and probably choose to die, without God. Surely there are such people also from an Orthodox background? Our assurance of sonship must dervive from something other than religious rituals, however good and biblical the performance of those rituals might be.
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« Reply #506 on: January 25, 2012, 05:22:04 AM »

Quote
- How do you know you are a member of the right visible organisation?
Through the testimony of history and the writings of the early Church Fathers.

I think we have debated at some length and in some detail in another thread whether there is an "only true church". If I am right, I am happy to resurrect that thread. But probably we are drifting too far from the topic of this thread to continue it in these lines. Do you think so?
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« Reply #507 on: January 25, 2012, 10:37:43 AM »

- How do you know you are a child of God?
I was baptized and chrismated.

I believe you are mistaken. Bit of a nerve, saying I think you are wrong about yourself, but let me explain. I do not mean I think you are not a child of God. But the scripture says "He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself" (John) and "it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Paul). I suspect that you have the tesimony in yourself, that the Holy Spirit himself is bearing witness to your sonship (or should it be daughterhood?). Then, rightly feeling yourself to be a child of God, you mistakenly identify the source of this sense of assurance as your baptism and chrismation.

Now you know from what I wrote a few posts earlier about sacraments - that they convey the grace they portray - that I do believe that our baptism seals, or confirms, deepens, or settles our death and resurrection with Christ in our more conscious experience. Chrismation, of course, we don't have, but we do believe that a person receievs the Holy Spirit when he believes.

If baptism and chrismation themselves brought about our new birth into children of God, then surely you would, in your society, have no people who might, later in life, look back on those events and say, "It all meant nothing... a hollow ritual, but it wasn't real." We have, regrettably, plenty of people from Baptist background who profess conversion and are baptised, but who, 10 or 20 years later perhaps, have no religion, never darken the doors of a church, and believe it was all a delusion. They live, and probably choose to die, without God. Surely there are such people also from an Orthodox background? Our assurance of sonship must dervive from something other than religious rituals, however good and biblical the performance of those rituals might be.

This is a mistake, you'll pardon me, I'm sure, that many Protestants make - seeing it as either/or when in reality it is both/and. My "feelings" about my baptism and chrismation could change. Feelings are by their very nature mutable, and not always to be trusted. God does not change. The reality of my baptism (God adopting me) does not change, no matter how I "feel" about it at any given moment in time. Baptism is not primarily a "religious ritual" but rather a means by which we receive His grace and love.
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« Reply #508 on: January 25, 2012, 11:08:21 AM »

The reality of my baptism (God adopting me) does not change, no matter how I "feel" about it at any given moment in time.

Now if, as an Evangelical, I could alter your words to The reality of God adopting me does not change, no matter how I "feel" about it at any given moment in time, we would be in agreement. This is something we often hear preached from our pulpits, or read in devotional books.

Putting the matter another way, you believe God accepted you because you were baptised, whereas I believe I was baptised because God had accepted me. It would interest me to know whether you think that both are valid in the case of us Baptists, even though we have (in your view) got them the wrong way round.
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« Reply #509 on: January 25, 2012, 12:33:41 PM »

The reality of my baptism (God adopting me) does not change, no matter how I "feel" about it at any given moment in time.

Now if, as an Evangelical, I could alter your words to The reality of God adopting me does not change, no matter how I "feel" about it at any given moment in time, we would be in agreement. This is something we often hear preached from our pulpits, or read in devotional books.

Putting the matter another way, you believe God accepted you because you were baptised, whereas I believe I was baptised because God had accepted me. It would interest me to know whether you think that both are valid in the case of us Baptists, even though we have (in your view) got them the wrong way round.

Sorry, you're still missing it - and it seems the reason is you're still looking at it as either/or, when the reality is both/and. I do not have to feel a certain way in order to be baptized, in order for God to adopt me. That He has already done so is one of the mysteries of salvation and His love for me. My baptism is a means of grace - an actual event that enables me to answer your question "how do you know that you are a child of God?" objectively.
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« Reply #510 on: January 25, 2012, 02:55:34 PM »

- How do you know you are a child of God?
I was baptized and chrismated.

Now you know from what I wrote a few posts earlier about sacraments - that they convey the grace they portray - that I do believe that our baptism seals, or confirms, deepens, or settles our death and resurrection with Christ in our more conscious experience. Chrismation, of course, we don't have, but we do believe that a person receievs the Holy Spirit when he believes.

If baptism and chrismation themselves brought about our new birth into children of God, then surely you would, in your society, have no people who might, later in life, look back on those events and say, "It all meant nothing... a hollow ritual, but it wasn't real." We have, regrettably, plenty of people from Baptist background who profess conversion and are baptised, but who, 10 or 20 years later perhaps, have no religion, never darken the doors of a church, and believe it was all a delusion. They live, and probably choose to die, without God. Surely there are such people also from an Orthodox background? Our assurance of sonship must dervive from something other than religious rituals, however good and biblical the performance of those rituals might be.

If I may break in...

Why do you maintain that our profession of belief and subsequent salvation is a one time event? IMHO, there is no question that our salvation is a process that has a beginning and an end. If that was not so, you can throw away chunks of the New Testament and be "saved." Our assurance of sonship derives from His promise that, as long as we walk with him (in other words, perform good works) we will be counted amongst the lambs. In other words, Wesley's assurance of faith and not of salvation. This is not because God is fickle but because we are and may decide to exercise His gift of free will to walk away from our sonship.  

Therefore, the precise sequence of our interaction with the Lord does not matter nearly as much as our daily (perhaps hourly) decision to be His disciple. Good works and fidelity to His commandments are manifestations of discipleship; not doing His will and falling into sin are manifestations of our weaknesses and perhaps the work of the Devil, even after we become His disciples. I do not need to quote chapter and verse for you know the references.

Needles to say, we participate in the sacraments because they are the visible manifestations of our interaction with Him--they are not magical acts that affect us without our willing participation. We also participate in the Holy Mysteries because (a) He told us to do so, (b) His disciples told us to do so, and (c) His disciples' disciples  practiced them.

So, I would maintain that if a person is convicted and believes, he must still do other things that God wants us to do, such as renouncing Satan and submitting himself to the Mystery of Holy Baptism and Chrismation, as well as all subsequent mysteries/sacraments, particularly frequent Communion; give alms, participate in communal worship and private praying; study the Bible and the faith; continually repent of sins, forgive, ask for forgiveness and be reconciled to the Body. No one should believe himself to be saved on the basis of a single interaction with the Lord for this is an extremely dangerous presumption.
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« Reply #511 on: January 25, 2012, 03:03:41 PM »

- How do you know you are a child of God?
I was baptized and chrismated.

I believe you are mistaken. Bit of a nerve, saying I think you are wrong about yourself, but let me explain. I do not mean I think you are not a child of God. But the scripture says "He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself" (John) and "it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Paul). I suspect that you have the tesimony in yourself, that the Holy Spirit himself is bearing witness to your sonship (or should it be daughterhood?). Then, rightly feeling yourself to be a child of God, you mistakenly identify the source of this sense of assurance as your baptism and chrismation.

Now you know from what I wrote a few posts earlier about sacraments - that they convey the grace they portray - that I do believe that our baptism seals, or confirms, deepens, or settles our death and resurrection with Christ in our more conscious experience. Chrismation, of course, we don't have, but we do believe that a person receievs the Holy Spirit when he believes.

If baptism and chrismation themselves brought about our new birth into children of God, then surely you would, in your society, have no people who might, later in life, look back on those events and say, "It all meant nothing... a hollow ritual, but it wasn't real." We have, regrettably, plenty of people from Baptist background who profess conversion and are baptised, but who, 10 or 20 years later perhaps, have no religion, never darken the doors of a church, and believe it was all a delusion. They live, and probably choose to die, without God. Surely there are such people also from an Orthodox background? Our assurance of sonship must dervive from something other than religious rituals, however good and biblical the performance of those rituals might be.

what do think "believe" means in this sense?
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« Reply #512 on: January 25, 2012, 05:31:12 PM »

Quote
you're still missing it

You are right - I am. It must be frustrating for you, and I must seem almost wilfully dense, yet I have striven to penetrate what you Orthodox believe about the sacraments and faith. Keep trying: you may yet succeed in making me understand one day!
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« Reply #513 on: January 25, 2012, 05:37:08 PM »

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you're still missing it

You are right - I am. It must be frustrating for you, and I must seem almost wilfully dense, yet I have striven to penetrate what you Orthodox believe about the sacraments and faith. Keep trying: you may yet succeed in making me understand one day!

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Meditate upon "both/and" rather than "either/or", and behold! You will surely be enlightened!
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« Reply #514 on: January 25, 2012, 05:38:14 PM »

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what do think "believe" means in this sense?

Hmmm... hard to define in human words something that is a spiritual experience or principle or exercise. More, I hope, than the devils "who believe, and tremble". The faith of which I speak must be a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, and involves a reliance only on Christ, as Saviour and Lord, for the blessings of salvation: a trust in Him, leaning only on Him. Faith and the new birth happen together, are simultaneous. The Holy Spirit shows us Christ as the way to God, and we see it, believe it, and rely on him. It is not wise (IMHO) or likely to be conclusively successful to try to unravel them and say which is prior: you do not have one without the other.
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« Reply #515 on: January 25, 2012, 05:39:37 PM »

Meditate upon "both/and" rather than "either/or", and behold! You will surely be enlightened!

But you are writing at the same time as I am, and it seems to me that we are writing almost the same words, but are meaning different things.
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« Reply #516 on: January 25, 2012, 05:41:04 PM »

It is not wise (IMHO) or likely to be conclusively successful to try to unravel them and say which is prior: you do not have one without the other.

Apply this principle to what we are discussing and I do believe you are getting closer!
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« Reply #517 on: January 25, 2012, 05:46:29 PM »

Why do you maintain that our profession of belief and subsequent salvation is a one time event? IMHO, there is no question that our salvation is a process that has a beginning and an end.

I entirely agree, so would we all. Your question homes in only on our different use of words, not (here at least) on different concepts. The comparison (a biblical, nay dominical one) is of birth, growth and maturity. You use "saved" to refer to the last, we often use it to refer to the first. But you and we agree that all are necessary.

Quote
we participate in the sacraments because they are the visible manifestations of our interaction with Him--they are not magical acts that affect us without our willing participation. We also participate in the Holy Mysteries because (a) He told us to do so, (b) His disciples told us to do so, and (c) His disciples' disciples  practiced them.

So, I would maintain that if a person is convicted and believes, he must still do other things that God wants us to do, such as renouncing Satan and submitting himself to the Mystery of Holy Baptism ... as well as ...  Communion; give alms, participate in communal worship and private praying; study the Bible and the faith; continually repent of sins, forgive, ask for forgiveness and be reconciled to the Body. No one should believe himself to be saved on the basis of a single interaction with the Lord for this is an extremely dangerous presumption.

Amen to all of that. (You sure you're not a covert Baptist?  Wink).
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« Reply #518 on: January 25, 2012, 05:51:30 PM »

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what do think "believe" means in this sense?

Hmmm... hard to define in human words something that is a spiritual experience or principle or exercise. More, I hope, than the devils "who believe, and tremble". The faith of which I speak must be a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, and involves a reliance only on Christ, as Saviour and Lord, for the blessings of salvation: a trust in Him, leaning only on Him. Faith and the new birth happen together, are simultaneous. The Holy Spirit shows us Christ as the way to God, and we see it, believe it, and rely on him. It is not wise (IMHO) or likely to be conclusively successful to try to unravel them and say which is prior: you do not have one without the other.

We maintain that a large part of what it means to "believe" in God is to obey his commandments; first and foremost to be baptized and to commune with him at the Lord's table...and trust in his grace with the faith of a child.
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« Reply #519 on: January 25, 2012, 08:43:18 PM »

Why do you maintain that our profession of belief and subsequent salvation is a one time event? IMHO, there is no question that our salvation is a process that has a beginning and an end.

I entirely agree, so would we all. Your question homes in only on our different use of words, not (here at least) on different concepts. The comparison (a biblical, nay dominical one) is of birth, growth and maturity. You use "saved" to refer to the last, we often use it to refer to the first. But you and we agree that all are necessary.

Quote
we participate in the sacraments because they are the visible manifestations of our interaction with Him--they are not magical acts that affect us without our willing participation. We also participate in the Holy Mysteries because (a) He told us to do so, (b) His disciples told us to do so, and (c) His disciples' disciples  practiced them.

So, I would maintain that if a person is convicted and believes, he must still do other things that God wants us to do, such as renouncing Satan and submitting himself to the Mystery of Holy Baptism ... as well as ...  Communion; give alms, participate in communal worship and private praying; study the Bible and the faith; continually repent of sins, forgive, ask for forgiveness and be reconciled to the Body. No one should believe himself to be saved on the basis of a single interaction with the Lord for this is an extremely dangerous presumption.

Amen to all of that. (You sure you're not a covert Baptist?  Wink).

What are you waiting for? angel
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« Reply #520 on: January 26, 2012, 04:02:07 AM »

What are you waiting for? angel

The Parousia: Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
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« Reply #521 on: January 26, 2012, 04:03:56 AM »

We maintain that a large part of what it means to "believe" in God is to obey his commandments; first and foremost to be baptized and to commune with him at the Lord's table...and trust in his grace with the faith of a child.

Likewise, I maintain that a large part of what it means to "believe" in God is to obey his commandments; first and foremost to trust in his grace with the faith of a child, and to be baptized and to commune with him at the Lord's table.
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« Reply #522 on: January 26, 2012, 08:56:44 AM »

david young, u sure you're not covertly orthodox?!
 Wink
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« Reply #523 on: January 26, 2012, 11:49:08 AM »

What are you waiting for? angel

The Parousia: Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Amen! Even so, if you have the opportunity, come and see.
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« Reply #524 on: January 26, 2012, 12:02:27 PM »

if you have the opportunity, come and see.

That is John 1:39. Thank you. In fact I have attended Orthodox services in three towns, and visited the monasteries at Gracanica and Preveli.
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« Reply #525 on: January 26, 2012, 01:46:47 PM »

wow, i see u took very early retirement!
hope u don't get bored!
may God bless u
 Smiley
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« Reply #526 on: January 27, 2012, 04:17:51 AM »

wow, i see u took very early retirement!

You are most kind. Retirement was on Christmas Day - my 65th birthday.

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hope u don't get bored!
may God bless u

Thank you!
 Smiley
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« Reply #527 on: March 02, 2012, 05:24:56 AM »

Well the whole 'invisible Church' thing makes no sense and is theologically unsound in my opinion. How could be we spiritually united with Christ if there is no physical element? Humans are physical and the way we build up our spirit is through our physical actions. One of the philosophical truths I realized before my conversion was that there is a strong correlation between the spirit and physical body. I felt that this insight was lacking in Protestantism but is one of the founding premises of Orthodoxy. If we are spiritually united with Christ, which, I believe we are, then that must mean that we are also physically united with Him because we develop our spirit through our physical actions. Therefore, even our physical bodies are being used for Christ, meaning that there must be some physical element to the Church.
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« Reply #528 on: March 05, 2012, 04:29:23 PM »

well i'm glad this thread was revived. it's good to have a thread like this floating around i think, because it asks one of the most important questions relevant to Christianity today, I think.

I would like to ask a question to our resident Protestants, hopefully this wasnt asked previously.

Do you believe that there was ever a time in the history of the church that the church was one and undivided, united in faith? If so, at what time did it cease to be as such?
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« Reply #529 on: March 05, 2012, 05:42:45 PM »

i used to believe that when i was protestant.
so eventually i started thinking about the early churches and wondering what they did wrong that the more enlightened churches 'had to leave' them. i was sure there must be grace in the older churches but i was alone in my ideas and didn't want to rock the family boat and cause waves.
so i put my inquisitive nature on hold, until my colleague at work (who was not Christian) suggested i visit his friends' coptic orthodox church. i jumped at the suggestion, realising i could have some of my questions answered, and i never looked back since, though it took a couple of years of study and regular visits to be sure i was heading in the right direction.
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« Reply #530 on: March 05, 2012, 05:59:50 PM »

The invisible Church is just a recent innovation for Protestant groups who could not support themselves historically so have to rely on strange doctrines to make themselves seem credible.
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« Reply #531 on: March 05, 2012, 06:31:47 PM »

The invisible Church is just a recent innovation for Protestant groups who could not support themselves historically so have to rely on strange doctrines to make themselves seem credible.

I wonder what Peter and Paul would have thought of the idea of the church being an "invisible church"...
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« Reply #532 on: March 05, 2012, 09:08:55 PM »

The invisible Church is just a recent innovation for Protestant groups who could not support themselves historically so have to rely on strange doctrines to make themselves seem credible.

I wonder what Peter and Paul would have thought of the idea of the church being an "invisible church"...

There's that icon of them holding up a church between them. Not invisible!   Smiley
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« Reply #533 on: March 06, 2012, 05:50:16 AM »

The invisible Church is just a recent innovation for Protestant groups who could not support themselves historically so have to rely on strange doctrines to make themselves seem credible.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but I seem to detect a mocking note in some recent posts. I guess it would not be difficult for us, on our side, to misunderstand Orthodox teaching and practice - deliberately or unintentionally - and to make fun of it. But that would not promote either mutual respect or understanding, nor would it be likely to win many converts.

In re Ortho-cat's question, as to whether the early church was "one and undivided, united in faith", I am not well enough versed in early church history to give an answer, but my personal suspicion, from what I have read of NT and early patristic (sub-apostolic) writings, is that there was some variation in doctrine and practice, and that the saints were repeatedly exhorted to maintain their unity in Christ in mutual acceptance. (I do not of course mean they were told to tolerate genuine destructive heresies.)
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« Reply #534 on: March 06, 2012, 11:35:10 AM »

St. Paul in his writings urged the chuches to stand fast in the faith that they had been taught. Most all of the epistles were writen so the Body of Christ would not deviate from the Faith of the Apostles. There is only one Truth, not seperate truthes all teaching the same truth.

At the 1983 Holy Synod of Bishops of ROCOR:
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Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema
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« Reply #535 on: March 06, 2012, 12:18:34 PM »

...say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation;

This is a strange anathema, for our "heresy" is the very opposite, surely - namely, that we teach that baptism and the Lord's Supper do not effect salvation (regarding as a heresy the teaching that anyone's sacraments effect salvation), but rather that they are obedient expressions of a faith and salvation which already reside in the person's soul. I have never heard anyone say that "the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation" (for heretics read Baptists, Pentecostals etc etc - people like me).
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« Reply #536 on: March 06, 2012, 12:28:40 PM »

There is only one Truth, not seperate truthes all teaching the same truth.

But unless I am mistaken, there was variety on secondary issues among the churches: in matters of the sabbath, circumcision, food sacrificed to idols, church order (were officers appointed from above, or elected by the congregation?). And what of other matters which we have discussed before, on which the biblical and early historical records are silent? You good folk would have me believe there was infant baptism. Did some Christians pray for the dead? Or even to the dead?

How far ahead does one go in time? As far as Augustine? What about the Celtic church, which even had the wrong shape to its monks' tonsures? And what do we make of the Synod of Whitby and the dating of Easter? At what point do these differences become heresies which are to be anathematised?

Other teachings were and are non-negotiable, and concerning them you rightly say that "there is only one Truth, not separate truthes all teaching the same truth."

The word "invisible" is a daft choice of word. It doesn't mean the people are invisible, but rather, surely, that we humans cannot see who is and who is not in the Body of Christ. That Body consists of all who have been born of the Spirit, and that is known only to God.
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« Reply #537 on: March 06, 2012, 12:38:53 PM »

...say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation;

This is a strange anathema, for our "heresy" is the very opposite, surely - namely, that we teach that baptism and the Lord's Supper do not effect salvation (regarding as a heresy the teaching that anyone's sacraments effect salvation), but rather that they are obedient expressions of a faith and salvation which already reside in the person's soul. I have never heard anyone say that "the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation" (for heretics read Baptists, Pentecostals etc etc - people like me).

I think this would be referring to those who believe that the eucharist is effectual for salvation, and partake of the eucharist in other bodies. For example, RC's taking eucharist at EO church, or vice versa.

I believe it is implied that no bodies should take eucharist at anothers.
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« Reply #538 on: March 06, 2012, 12:52:16 PM »

I think this would be referring to those who believe that the eucharist is effectual for salvation, and partake of the eucharist in other bodies. For example, RC's taking eucharist at EO church, or vice versa.

I believe it is implied that no bodies should take eucharist at anothers.

Ah, that makes it clear. I never thought of RCs. Thank you.
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« Reply #539 on: March 06, 2012, 12:52:42 PM »

There is only one Truth, not seperate truthes all teaching the same truth.

But unless I am mistaken, there was variety on secondary issues among the churches: in matters of the sabbath, circumcision, food sacrificed to idols, church order (were officers appointed from above, or elected by the congregation?). And what of other matters which we have discussed before, on which the biblical and early historical records are silent? You good folk would have me believe there was infant baptism. Did some Christians pray for the dead? Or even to the dead?

How far ahead does one go in time? As far as Augustine? What about the Celtic church, which even had the wrong shape to its monks' tonsures? And what do we make of the Synod of Whitby and the dating of Easter? At what point do these differences become heresies which are to be anathematised?

Other teachings were and are non-negotiable, and concerning them you rightly say that "there is only one Truth, not separate truthes all teaching the same truth."

The word "invisible" is a daft choice of word. It doesn't mean the people are invisible, but rather, surely, that we humans cannot see who is and who is not in the Body of Christ. That Body consists of all who have been born of the Spirit, and that is known only to God.

to me it is quite clear that the apostles all taught one truth, and when they disagreed, they came together to make decisions for the good of the church. they defended this truth with the utmost strength, and exhorted against any deviation regarding what they have taught.

later issues arose in the church and were likewise settled through councils of bishops through the Holy Spirit, the institution that God set in place for us to resolve such disputes.
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