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Author Topic: Why don't Protestants celebrate more religious holidays?  (Read 23451 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2009, 03:51:16 AM »

The Church did the same thing with the holidays. They replaced celebration of the winter solstice with Christmas, and celebration of the Spring solstice has been replaced with Pascha.

This is just a technical correction, but an important one.  This event is referred to as the Spring Equinox, not the Spring Solstice.
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« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2009, 04:39:27 AM »

The fault here I think is mine. I was not as clear as I needed to be. Please permit me to clarify.
It is not the validity of the event being commemorated that we would oppose. It is the commemoration itself we would oppose, UNLESS we have an explicit example of the church doing so in the NT and/or a command to do so in the NT. That said, I must clarify further, we would not oppose the voluntary observance of such an event, so long as it was not forced or compelled or otherwise used as a source of judgment of other "non-commemorating" believers.

Good grief man! So you're telling me you don't observe these events for fear of offending those who don't observe these events?   Huh

Also, there are plenty of activities that we all do daily and in our worship (Orthodox, Baptist, or otherwise) that are NOT listend in the New Testament. Are pews listed in the New Testament? How about Hymnals? Heck, the word "Bible" isn't even listed in the NT! I could go on and on...

The Orthodox Church does not observe these events to stand in judgment of other faiths. They observe these events because they proclaim the salvific truth that comes with knowing Jesus Christ as Lord! Each and every single event had a bearing on creation and our salvation.

For example, Christ being baptized in the Jordan wasn't just about setting an example that we should be baptized. It was also the beginning of restoring nature back to its perfected state PRIOR to the Fall.

Christ didn't just come to save man; He came to save THE WORLD.

The events in Christ's life are demonstrative to this. You don't observe the event, you miss the importance that goes along with it.

Yes, but the principle remains, transcends, and is thus applicable. Regard the days if you like, just realize they are not necessary to the faith universal.

So because the slightest risk that something may become ritualistic you avoid it completely? You realize your odds of dying in a car crash are roughly 1 in 100? Does this mean you avoid going anywhere in a motorvehicle? Did you ever consider what the benefit would be of observing these feasts?

As I said on the other thread. Ritualism and dead faith can happen whether you're waving your arms to the latest Praise & Worship song or saying the Jesus Prayer.

That is where free will comes in my friend. And no Pastor or Priest can control that.


Yet, paganistic leaven used such holy, just, and good endeavors to infiltrate the church (here I speak generally, not exclusively of Orthodoxy).

Cleopas, just what do you think I am suggesting? Haven't we told you already that we only sacrafice virgins every other month and children on alternating months?  Grin JOKING -- I kid, I kid

Seriously though, WHAT do you think I am suggesting? What is it you fear by introducing the commemeration of an event that is recorded in the Bible?

I mean, if you got behind the pulpit last Sunday and said, "Today I am going to talk about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and how it applies to you and me," what do you think would have happened? Would snakes come out of women's heads?

Be reasonable here.

I don't know what you think goes on in our churches but I can gaurantee you there is no pagan worship involved.

Do you celebrate Christmas? I am asking honestly because there are some Christians who don't.

Do you think Christmas is a pagan holiday?

Be honest.



Again, recall Eusibius. Indeed such anti-Semitic undertones carried over into the reformation, even via that mighty disciple and teacher of Our Lord, Luther himself.


Okay, I am going to openly claim ignorance here. The Eusibius I'm familiar with defended the writings of Origen, and overall wasn't that popular of a guy. Not familiar with any anti-Semetic stuff, and still not sure what this has to do with celebrating festivals of Christ.

Now in saying that I do not mean to say all generations, teachers, or adherents following those who made such statements or judgments were or are antisemitic. Only that, historically speaking, antisemitism is indicated if not explicitly articulated as at least part of the reason for deciding to standardize a different means of calculating "Easter" from that method of the Jewish people themselves.

I am glad to see that Orthodox and Catholics both have been more embracing of the Hebraic roots of the faith. They are important to the continuity of the revelation of God in both Testaments, as you yourself have rightly pointed out.

Okay I really have no idea what you're saying here. The Orthodox calculate the date for Pascha based on the Spring Equinox, when the full moon is, and when Passover is. How that has anything to do with anti-semitism I have no idea.

If you study the history of the Church, you will see that we've been pretty much doing things the same way for over 2000 years. Been carrying on traditions that were handed down to us from Apostles who were Hebrews for over 2000 years.

Also, I would prefer if you refrained from lumping us with the Catholics. They have their own way of doing things.

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« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2009, 07:42:49 AM »

You do have Christmas ... Do you celebrate NO other days or feasts or celebrations? 

Only Easter and Pentecost (Whitsun). Whitsun is very low-key. Of course we get plenty of preaching and teaching about the Holy Spirit, but again the date is not greatly marked.
I have noticed that about Pentecost. Even in the Pentecostal church, which emphasized Pentecost more than any other church, they still didn't do much for it other than preach about the Holy Spirit. Most of the time they didn't even mention Pentecost was coming up until it occurred. If you've not been to an Orthodox Pentecost, you should--it's one of our biggest parties. That's how I describe most Orthodox holidays to others. Never have I seen such celebration as I have in Orthodoxy. There's a genuine excitement in the Church not fueled by loud music or oratorical skill but actually by the event itself. People want to celebrate the things Christ does for us. It's amazing.
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« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2009, 08:25:18 AM »

Do you care to comment?  Especially about the celebration of strictly biblical events like Transfiguration

I think that the understanding is that you just celebrate the EVENT...sort of whenever...right? 

No need for me to explain further - you've got it right already. We observe Christmas and Easter, and in a low-key way mention Pentecost.

I cannot of course imagine successfully what would happen if the secular government did not grant national holidays at Christmas and Easter, and the shops didn't cash in on it to make stacks of lovely money. Maybe if there were no secular celebration, we wouldn't be so strongly attached even to those dates as we are. To get an answer, we'd need to look at Scotland where, till recently I believe, New Year was far more important than Christmas, and for England to the time of Oliver Cromwell. Nowadays Scotland is shifting towards the English practice, no doubt driven by the money-makers again.

But it is very interesting that you mention the Transfiguration, because this ought to be one of the items on the "Challenge to you Orthodox from a Baptist" thread. I went up and down the road from Ioannina to Kakavia many times, and always wondered why we went through a village called Metamorphosi. Then I was taken to the lovely village of Sotir (if I have the spelling right - I have no map to hand) and enjoyed the stream, trees, sunshine and shade in Metamorphosis Square, with the Church of the Metamorphosis on it. (Greek hospitality again: a local family, seeing us taking a stroll, invited us to abandon the stroll and take coffee and raki on their verandah, which we did for quite a long enjoyable visit: though we all had to speak Albanian, as we English had insufficient Greek and they probably no English.)

It began to dawn on me:  all this "Metamorphosi(s)" is referring to the Transfiguration. I began to realise you make far more of the Transfiguration than we do.

Then I began reading Orthodox theology and devotion. This very morning after prayer and Bible reading, I was reading Sergei Bulgakov's "Oration on the Feast of the Lord's Transfiguration", and was again moved to attempt some future further and deeper meditation on the theme as opportunity and means come. The Transfiguration is one event on which we very seldom hear any preaching and teaching, and (as they say), "I think you're on to something." Thank you.  Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2009, 10:39:09 AM »

Do you care to comment?  Especially about the celebration of strictly biblical events like Transfiguration

I think that the understanding is that you just celebrate the EVENT...sort of whenever...right? 

No need for me to explain further - you've got it right already. We observe Christmas and Easter, and in a low-key way mention Pentecost.

I cannot of course imagine successfully what would happen if the secular government did not grant national holidays at Christmas and Easter, and the shops didn't cash in on it to make stacks of lovely money. Maybe if there were no secular celebration, we wouldn't be so strongly attached even to those dates as we are. To get an answer, we'd need to look at Scotland where, till recently I believe, New Year was far more important than Christmas, and for England to the time of Oliver Cromwell. Nowadays Scotland is shifting towards the English practice, no doubt driven by the money-makers again.

But it is very interesting that you mention the Transfiguration, because this ought to be one of the items on the "Challenge to you Orthodox from a Baptist" thread. I went up and down the road from Ioannina to Kakavia many times, and always wondered why we went through a village called Metamorphosi. Then I was taken to the lovely village of Sotir (if I have the spelling right - I have no map to hand) and enjoyed the stream, trees, sunshine and shade in Metamorphosis Square, with the Church of the Metamorphosis on it. (Greek hospitality again: a local family, seeing us taking a stroll, invited us to abandon the stroll and take coffee and raki on their verandah, which we did for quite a long enjoyable visit: though we all had to speak Albanian, as we English had insufficient Greek and they probably no English.)

It began to dawn on me:  all this "Metamorphosi(s)" is referring to the Transfiguration. I began to realise you make far more of the Transfiguration than we do.

Then I began reading Orthodox theology and devotion. This very morning after prayer and Bible reading, I was reading Sergei Bulgakov's "Oration on the Feast of the Lord's Transfiguration", and was again moved to attempt some future further and deeper meditation on the theme as opportunity and means come. The Transfiguration is one event on which we very seldom hear any preaching and teaching, and (as they say), "I think you're on to something." Thank you.  Smiley


You're welcome!  i'm glad my bumbling around actually led to something productive!!! lol. 

I just remember an ex-Protestant friend of mine here at seminary saying "you guys have no idea how much my life changed when I came to the Orthodox church and actually had a LECTIONARY!!!"  He said that because they had no lectionary and just preached on whatever they wanted, it was like walking blind in the forest.  You just did what you wanted. 

In the orthodox church the lectionary takes you through the ENTIRE NT in one year, with all of the parables and all of the epistles. 

I'm wondering if you'd take up a challenge I have for you:  I will be willing to provide you with a lectionary, and you try to implement it at your church.  you don't have to tell them what you're doing if it's uncomfortable, etc.  but just take the bible passages prescribed and preach on them.  I wonder what kind of change is any would happen. 

Interested?  Please let me know...
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« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2009, 12:07:56 PM »

I will be willing to provide you with a lectionary, and you try to implement it at your church.  ...
Interested? 

The offer is most kind, but I am not in a position to accept it, as I have no church. I left pastoral ministry in 1988 and I work full-time for the Albanian Evangelical Mission. This takes me to a lot of churches in England and Wales, mainly to speak about the work but sometimes also to preach, plus doing most of the admin at the mission's office here in Wrexham. In this area, where I live, I do some preaching locally in a small number of churches, and I preach a number of times in the year at the church which my wife and I attend. That is probably only about eight times in the year, and as maybe half of these fall on Communion service days (we have communion twice a month, not weekly), the theme is sort-of predetermined. I also take about the same number of Bible studies on Wednesdays at our church, but these tend to come in groups of three with long gaps of some months whilst others take them, and I have already given the first two of a series taking us through the book of the prophet Joel, which they are expecting me to continue.

So I must decline your thoughtful offer, as the opportunity for me to accept it is not there.
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« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2009, 01:15:46 PM »

I will be willing to provide you with a lectionary, and you try to implement it at your church.  ...
Interested? 

The offer is most kind, but I am not in a position to accept it, as I have no church. I left pastoral ministry in 1988 and I work full-time for the Albanian Evangelical Mission. This takes me to a lot of churches in England and Wales, mainly to speak about the work but sometimes also to preach, plus doing most of the admin at the mission's office here in Wrexham. In this area, where I live, I do some preaching locally in a small number of churches, and I preach a number of times in the year at the church which my wife and I attend. That is probably only about eight times in the year, and as maybe half of these fall on Communion service days (we have communion twice a month, not weekly), the theme is sort-of predetermined. I also take about the same number of Bible studies on Wednesdays at our church, but these tend to come in groups of three with long gaps of some months whilst others take them, and I have already given the first two of a series taking us through the book of the prophet Joel, which they are expecting me to continue.

So I must decline your thoughtful offer, as the opportunity for me to accept it is not there.


Thanks for at least considering it!  That was very kind of you.  I still think it would be a REALLY interesting case study, to see how the Orthodox lectionary would work in a Protestant church.  Anyway!  back to your regularly scheduled programing...
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« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2009, 02:22:44 PM »

Thanks for at least considering it! 

It would have been a good and worthwhile challenge. It is very rare for a church to invite a preacher and to give him either the theme or the passage to preach on. It is left to him. I only remember one Sunday when I was given the theme, and that was in Prishtina, Kosova/Kosovo. It was a challenge to devise a sermon on a theme I had not chosen myself. The lectionary would have been that much greater, as being not only one Sunday.

We tend to achieve something similar, of course, by selecting a book of the Bible and going systematically through that - a bit like my studies in Joel, though they are discussional Bible studies not preached sermons. But the idea is similar.
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« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2009, 04:36:49 PM »

Would you be open to following an Orthodox lectionary for personal study?
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« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2009, 04:49:17 PM »

Would you be open to following an Orthodox lectionary for personal study?

I would. I love information and fresh perspectives. Just not to the point of "ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth."
Ya know what I mean? BTW...
I am also considering buying a copy of the English Orthodox Study Bible.

However, let me turn the tables.  Tongue
Would you be open to using or following a conservative evangelical study guide in your personal study?

If you'd be willing to use that then I'd be willing to use the lectionary. Wink
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« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2009, 05:02:16 PM »

Would you be open to following an Orthodox lectionary for personal study?

I would. I love information and fresh perspectives. Just not to the point of "ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth."
Ya know what I mean? BTW...
I am also considering buying a copy of the English Orthodox Study Bible.

However, let me turn the tables.  Tongue
Would you be open to using or following a conservative evangelical study guide in your personal study?

If you'd be willing to use that then I'd be willing to use the lectionary. Wink

I already have. I spent half my life in a Baptist church my friend.  Grin

I've read Beth Moore, studied the Bible with James Vernon McGee, grew up listening to Charles Stanley on the radio, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll... I still have my NIV Study Bible and Zondervan Women's Study Bible on my book shelf...next to my copy of the Orthodox Study Bible. When I was a kid, my mother's sister in Pittsburgh (we lived in NJ) worked for Family Christian Bookstores. (For those that don't know Family Christian Bookstores is owned by Zondervan Publishing, a HUGE Evangelical Publishing house.) Every year we would drive out to see my Aunt, and a large part of the journey was spent taking advantage of her employee discount at the Bookstore.

I've already done the "Evangelical" route. I've seen Billy Graham live twice. My sister even responded to his altar call once. My cousin used to work for Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, and The Newsboys, so I'm very familiar with the Christian Music scene. I grew up listening to Christian radio.

So yeah, I'm extremely familiar with what it means to be an "Evangelical." But in the end, I came back to Orthodoxy.

So since I've already "walked a mile in your mocassins," are you willing "walk a mile in mine"?


P.S. My sister also came back to Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2009, 06:27:28 PM »

Would you be open to following an Orthodox lectionary for personal study?
However, let me turn the tables.  Tongue
Would you be open to using or following a conservative evangelical study guide in your personal study?

If you'd be willing to use that then I'd be willing to use the lectionary. Wink
Our parish uses Lutheran Sunday School curriculum. I'd say that's a step above personal study.
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« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2009, 06:37:54 PM »

Would you be open to following an Orthodox lectionary for personal study?

I would. I love information and fresh perspectives.
I am also considering buying a copy of the English Orthodox Study Bible (if I knew where to find one).
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« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2009, 06:52:09 PM »

I would. I love information and fresh perspectives.
I am also considering buying a copy of the English Orthodox Study Bible (if I knew where to find one).

Excellent! I'm happy to oblige:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Orthodox-Study-Bible/dp/0718003594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234046957&sr=1-1

Good price, plus free shipping! And there's a lectionary in the back of the Bible so you can read the entire Bible in a year.  Grin

The above link is for our friends in the UK.

Here's a link for our friends in the US:

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Study-Bible-Ancient-Christianity/dp/0718003594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234047091&sr=1-1
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« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2009, 09:16:56 PM »

I would. I love information and fresh perspectives.
I am also considering buying a copy of the English Orthodox Study Bible (if I knew where to find one).

Okay. Now you're confusing me. 
Cheesy Who's posting what here.  laugh
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« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2009, 09:26:19 PM »

I would. I love information and fresh perspectives.
I am also considering buying a copy of the English Orthodox Study Bible (if I knew where to find one).

Okay. Now you're confusing me. 
Cheesy Who's posting what here.  laugh

So how about it Cleopas?

I already walked the Evangelical walk.

David is willing to follow our lectionary and purchase an Orthodox Study Bible.

Are you up to the challenge?
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« Reply #61 on: February 07, 2009, 11:01:22 PM »

Oi Vay.  Saint Paul said this because they were observing feast days and new moons over and against their faith.  Of course this is a problem.  But to remove them altogether (when the apostles did not) is heresy.  If Paul had meant for us to never observe a feast, then he himself would not have observed the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16), and specifically needed to "keep this coming feast in Jerusalem" (his own words in Acts 18:21).

Agreed! However, the inherent danger of ritualism is hereby inferred. He was afraid of them because they clung to the rituals instead of the object they were intended to indicate. Once in the light they preferred the shadows.  Likewise, even "Christian holy days" can become ritualistic observances that obscure and shadow when one looks ot them rather than the source of light.
Please... Smiley  I think y'all make a WAAAAAYYYYY bigger thing out of ritualism than is necessary.  There's no BALANCE in your view!  You run screaming from the room any time there's a hint of ritual in the air.  As David Young has already said (and you may have to, I can't remember), ritualism is also a risk in Protestantism.  But no one has YET to prove how OUR services "obscure" our "view of Christ!"  No one has yet proven how OUR ritual is more risky!  Just because our ritual is different from yours (you kid yourself if you think you have none-- the refusal of ritual in itself is a ritual!), doesn't make it more risky or wrong.  Prove to me that it is.
As I've said several times (but you have not acknowledged or addressed), throwing out the services and the feast days altogether because of some perceived minute risk of ritualism is nothing more than throwing the baby out with the bath water...

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Hmmmm... I think there is someone who can address this better than me:
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He said not, “Do not then observe them,” but, “let no man judge you.” He showed that they were transgressing, and undoing, but he brought his charge against others. Endure not those that judge you, he saith, nay, not so much as this either, but he argues with those persons, almost stopping their mouths, and saying, Ye ought not to judge. But he would not have reflected on these. He said not “in clean and unclean,” nor yet “in feasts of Tabernacles, and unleavened bread, and Pentecost,” but “in part of a feast”: for they ventured not to keep the whole; and if they did observe it, yet not so as to celebrate the feast. “In part,” he saith, showing that the greater part is done away. For even if they did keep sabbath, they did not do so with precision.
Emphasis mine
St. John Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.iv.iv.vii.html

I see not where he differs with me. Sure Paul did not say do not observe them. Neither did he say you must observe them. My contention is not over whether such is a permitted practice within the faith, bur rather whether such is a required practice of the faith.
St. John Chrysostom was a liturgist... we celebrate EVERY WEEK (and in some places every day) the DIVINE LITURGY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM.  And we celebrate it on feast days (including his).  And he is partly responsible for the keeping of feast days (as one of the Fathers of the Church).  So no offense, but I would say he STRENUOUSLY disagrees with you.

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If this is your interpretation of the above passage from Colossians, I would say that it is innovative.  See St. John Chrysostom above, a rather older and more traditional interpretation than yours.

Actually it is my application of Romans 14:5-6 to the observances brought in question by the OP.
One man esteems the day. Another does not. Let each be persuaded. Let each recognize that God receives both.
Hence, the observance is not a necessary component of the faith, but rather at best a permitted "trapping" if you will.
Trapping?  Tell that to St. Paul, who himself observed the feasts.  I tend to think that nothing St. Paul did was a "trapping."  I could be wrong, though...

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Again, someone else can say this better than me:
Quote
In Orthodox Christianity, there are things that cannot be compromised, and there are areas of flexibility.  God is gracious and allows diversity in doubtful things (v. 1), matters not related to essential doctrines and moral teachings.  The weak in faith are people who assign primary importance to secondary matters.  The two examples of flexible areas given here involve food restrictions (v. 2) and the observance of liturgical calendars (v. 5), things which the weak might try to use to judge others or to divide the Church.  In both cases, we are commanded to give flexibility to others, just as God Himself does (v. 3).
This passage is read on the eve of Great Lent, reminding the faithful that the main focus of the season is not on the details of fasting restrictions, but rather on overcoming passions of the soul (13:14).
The Orthodox Study Bible pg. 1545.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Okay. Like I said it is insisting on the observance of days and weeks and practices that are not explicitly delineated by word or example of the NT church , or insisting on a form or method of observance not delineated thereby, that we would disagree with.  We see no need to have to keep so many days, and God accepts us without them. So, no biggie.
There are many things which are not insisted upon in the NT but, as faithful Christians, we do.

Quote
Quote
And we don't refer to it as Easter, by the way.  It's "Pascha," which is the transliteration coming from the Hebrew.  It means "Passover."  "Easter" is a strictly Western innovation and influence.

I meant to share this with handmaiden. However, I was glad to learn this (re-learn actually). I had forgotten that the Orthodox called it Pascha. Someone linked me to the minutes of Nicaea the other day and the article they linked used the terminology easter. I was working from that framework here.
Yeah... again, maybe you want to stick to Orthodox sources to learn about Orthodoxy.  Maybe it's just me, though...  Tongue

Quote
Quote
Obvious?  Really?  Cause I have NO CLUE how you arrived at that!  Again, you'll have to explain and prove this one for me, too.  We jumped from an observance of the calendar (which has its roots in Judaism and is derived from the Jewish dating of Passover), to antisemitism.  How was that, exactly?

see reply above to handmaiden^
Please forgive my ignorance (or my thickheadedness, whichever it is), but I'm still totally lost on this one, even after reading your reply to Handmaiden. 
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« Reply #62 on: February 08, 2009, 12:02:17 AM »


So how about it Cleopas?

I already walked the Evangelical walk.

David is willing to follow our lectionary and purchase an Orthodox Study Bible.

Are you up to the challenge?

I already said I was intending to purchase an Orthodox study bible.
So, if one of you guys want to spring for the lectionary (in English), I'd be happy to have it and would certainly use it.  Grin

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« Reply #63 on: February 08, 2009, 12:11:45 AM »


So how about it Cleopas?

I already walked the Evangelical walk.

David is willing to follow our lectionary and purchase an Orthodox Study Bible.

Are you up to the challenge?

I already said I was intending to purchase an Orthodox study bible.
So, if one of you guys want to spring for the lectionary (in English), I'd be happy to have it and would certainly use it.  Grin



Conveniently enough the Lectionary is in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible.  Grin

Also, if you go to http://goarch.org/ it will show what the Daily Readings are right there on the home page. (No purchase necessary.)
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« Reply #64 on: February 08, 2009, 12:57:49 AM »

Would you be open to following an Orthodox lectionary for personal study?


However, let me turn the tables.  Tongue
Would you be open to using or following a conservative evangelical study guide in your personal study?

If you'd be willing to use that then I'd be willing to use the lectionary. Wink

Forgive my ignorance, but what is conservative evangelicalism?  I honest to God have no idea there was a distinction...

Anyway, I would LOVE to take you up on this.  However I think it would be a disadvantage to you because i'm not going to preach NEARLY as much as you are.  Like..i'll give 3 sermons THIS YEAR...at best.  But i'll put in the work.  I'll come up with  sermon once a week and submit it to you if you want, and you can do the same with me.  I'd be interested in the dialogue.  My e-mail is in my profile, but if you have issues feel free to just PM me. 
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« Reply #65 on: February 08, 2009, 09:36:19 AM »

Who's posting what here. 

I am repeating your words, because I am repeating your sentiment. Looks like we'll both be having our Quiet Times in the same passages for a while.  Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: March 08, 2009, 11:25:17 AM »

Forgive my ignorance, but what is conservative evangelicalism?  I honest to God have no idea there was a distinction...

The adjective "Conservative" put before "Evangelical" denotes a stricter view of the nature of the inspiration of scripture. It tends to be used to describe people who believe in inerrancy - the theory that the original manuscripts of the scriptures were without error and fully reliable in fact as well as doctrine, so that the many minor, insignificant discrepancies between various parallel books of the Bible (such as Kings/Chronicles, or the four Gospels) were absent from the originals, and have only crept in through scribal errors.

I am not defending that view: I am only answering your question.
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« Reply #67 on: March 08, 2009, 11:28:10 AM »

David is willing to ... purchase an Orthodox Study Bible.

Conveniently enough the Lectionary is in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible. 

Advice, please: I note that the Study Bible is quite expensive; I also note that Theodore Stylianopoulos has promised a Volume 2 to his book on scripture, Tradition and hermeutics. He says in Vol. 1 that the Study Bible is written in a popular style. Would I be better advised getting Stylianopoulos Vol 2 (which would probably be just as expensive, but perhaps better?)?
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« Reply #68 on: April 04, 2009, 01:33:23 PM »

David is willing to follow our lectionary and purchase an Orthodox Study Bible.
... the Lectionary is in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible. 

I ordered the Study Bible (New Testament) and it has finally come. The lectionary seems to start with Easter (presumably Orthodox Easter), so I may as well start then. However, it all looks rather overwhelming to one who belongs to a church where the church year is not observed beyond Christmas and Easter. I would appreciate some explanation, some lead-in, some advice. Can y'all volunteer to provide it? Don't be shy to state the obvious, as I shall probably not know it already whatever it is: better to say too much than too little. For example, I assume that it will not always be obvious why certain passages are set for certain days.

Over to you...
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« Reply #69 on: April 04, 2009, 02:07:45 PM »

The actual Church founded on the day of Pentacost and alive today in the Eastern Church was an outgrowth of Judaism and it's piety. Judaism was liturgical and followed a festal calendar. So too the Church. Protestants  are very far afield from this original ethos and have little to no grounding in the form or content of Christianity as practiced by the Apostles and early Fathers. 
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« Reply #70 on: April 04, 2009, 02:40:20 PM »

David is willing to follow our lectionary and purchase an Orthodox Study Bible.
... the Lectionary is in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible. 

I ordered the Study Bible (New Testament) and it has finally come. The lectionary seems to start with Easter (presumably Orthodox Easter), so I may as well start then. However, it all looks rather overwhelming to one who belongs to a church where the church year is not observed beyond Christmas and Easter. I would appreciate some explanation, some lead-in, some advice. Can y'all volunteer to provide it? Don't be shy to state the obvious, as I shall probably not know it already whatever it is: better to say too much than too little. For example, I assume that it will not always be obvious why certain passages are set for certain days.

Over to you...


This is exciting!  What page are you looking at...i'm having a tough time finding the "lectionary" section myself...
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« Reply #71 on: April 04, 2009, 04:36:05 PM »

What page are you looking at...i'm having a tough time finding the "lectionary" section myself...

Mine is the hardback NT+Psalms 1997. The lectionary starts on page 771. It seems fairly straightforward until one gets to Nativity (time for the "Evangelical Christmas" thread again!?) on page 774. Then I get lost.

Some days have a couple of shortish readings; others seem to prescribe hours and hours of readings.

Does anyone know how much of the NT one would read if one abode by the lectionary for the whole year? and which bits one would leave out?

My Study Bible has a suggested reading of the whole NT in a year, but that seems a bit ambitious, if one is to take time to meditate and pray over what one reads - short of taking the cowl. (I usually spend 30-45 minutes before I go to work.) Hitherto it has taken me two years to read the Bible, intercalating NT and OT one book at a time from each. As I have reached Ezra, Micah and Philemon, switching to the Orth St Bible at Easter in a couple of weeks is an easy transition, as I am in any case almost at the end of my own system, and can resume it at Easter 2010.
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« Reply #72 on: February 02, 2010, 06:10:46 PM »

My Orthodox Study Bible tells me you are near the transition from Meat Fare to Cheese Fare. I guess this is because cheese is deemed a deeper descent into austerity and self-discipline. What strikes me as ironic nowadays - I don't know whether this is true in the USA too - is that cheese is now more expensive than meat! So moving on to cheese, in terms of expense, could be deemed a step up to more luxury.

Tempora mutantur.
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« Reply #73 on: February 02, 2010, 06:22:08 PM »

My Orthodox Study Bible tells me you are near the transition from Meat Fare to Cheese Fare. I guess this is because cheese is deemed a deeper descent into austerity and self-discipline. What strikes me as ironic nowadays - I don't know whether this is true in the USA too - is that cheese is now more expensive than meat! So moving on to cheese, in terms of expense, could be deemed a step up to more luxury.

Tempora mutantur.

You're likely being facetious here. I always assumed it was about gradually ridding one's diet of various animal products. Cheesefare meaning not only cheese, but all milk products. At least that's how I always understood it.
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« Reply #74 on: February 02, 2010, 07:12:44 PM »

Anyway, I would LOVE to take you up on this.  However I think it would be a disadvantage to you because i'm not going to preach NEARLY as much as you are.  Like..i'll give 3 sermons THIS YEAR...at best.  But i'll put in the work.  I'll come up with  sermon once a week and submit it to you if you want, and you can do the same with me.  I'd be interested in the dialogue.  My e-mail is in my profile, but if you have issues feel free to just PM me. 


Kind sir,

It has just now come to my attention that I never replied, nor do I recall reading, the above quoted comment. My sincere apologies. Alas, due to some fairly serious intermittent health issues, I stepped down from the pastorate. I am currently a shepherd having no sheep. =P Thanks anyhow. It would have been a fun exchange.  Wink
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« Reply #75 on: February 02, 2010, 07:39:00 PM »

Kind sir,

It has just now come to my attention that I never replied, nor do I recall reading, the above quoted comment. My sincere apologies. Alas, due to some fairly serious intermittent health issues, I stepped down from the pastorate. I am currently a shepherd having no sheep. =P Thanks anyhow. It would have been a fun exchange.  Wink

I'm sorry to hear you're having health issues Cleopas. May the Physician of our souls and bodies grant you a quick and full recovery!
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« Reply #76 on: February 02, 2010, 07:40:52 PM »

My Orthodox Study Bible tells me you are near the transition from Meat Fare to Cheese Fare. I guess this is because cheese is deemed a deeper descent into austerity and self-discipline. What strikes me as ironic nowadays - I don't know whether this is true in the USA too - is that cheese is now more expensive than meat! So moving on to cheese, in terms of expense, could be deemed a step up to more luxury.

Tempora mutantur.

Yes, some have commented how it's ironic that fish with a vertabrate are not allowed during the fast, but shrimp and lobster are. The key to remember is when the rules of the fast were written, shellfish were cheap and plentiful whereas fish with a backbone were more of a luxury item.

So, how are you liking the Lectionary readings David?
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« Reply #77 on: February 03, 2010, 11:25:15 AM »

Oi Vay.  Saint Paul said this because they were observing feast days and new moons over and against their faith.  Of course this is a problem.  But to remove them altogether (when the apostles did not) is heresy.  If Paul had meant for us to never observe a feast, then he himself would not have observed the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16), and specifically needed to "keep this coming feast in Jerusalem" (his own words in Acts 18:21).

Agreed! However, the inherent danger of ritualism is hereby inferred. He was afraid of them because they clung to the rituals instead of the object they were intended to indicate. Once in the light they preferred the shadows.  Likewise, even "Christian holy days" can become ritualistic observances that obscure and shadow when one looks ot them rather than the source of light.
Please... Smiley  I think y'all make a WAAAAAYYYYY bigger thing out of ritualism than is necessary.  There's no BALANCE in your view!  You run screaming from the room any time there's a hint of ritual in the air.  As David Young has already said (and you may have to, I can't remember), ritualism is also a risk in Protestantism.  But no one has YET to prove how OUR services "obscure" our "view of Christ!"  No one has yet proven how OUR ritual is more risky!  Just because our ritual is different from yours (you kid yourself if you think you have none-- the refusal of ritual in itself is a ritual!), doesn't make it more risky or wrong.  Prove to me that it is.
As I've said several times (but you have not acknowledged or addressed), throwing out the services and the feast days altogether because of some perceived minute risk of ritualism is nothing more than throwing the baby out with the bath water...


Yes, this has always puzzled me so perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain why "ritualism" is such a danger but (what shall we call it?), but "minimalism" is perfectly ok?


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« Reply #78 on: February 03, 2010, 12:04:50 PM »

explain why "ritualism" is such a danger but ... "minimalism" is perfectly ok?

I can only give a personal reply, maybe nothing particularly Evangelical, or even right, about it. The first part of the question is easy to answer, and though I am offering the answer I think you would get from most Protestants, I am not arguing for or against it: the danger of elaborate ritual is that a person can more easily get "stuck" at that stage and not press into the inner meaning of what the ritual is all about: robes, candles, incense, icons, kissing icons, etc, can make a person think he has done enough, without him having any true faith in, and response to, Christ himself. Even my Orthodox Study Bible comments said the same only today or a couple of days ago. Minimalism has two raisons d'être (again, I am stating them, not arguing for or against them): one is that there is less to risk diverting a person's attention from God himself; and the other is the so-called "regulative principle", according to which worship should contain only such things as are specifically written in scripture.

Personally, I feel we Evangelicals have, by and large, gone too far in excising symbolism. For example, the Sunday before "candlemas" when (as you know from another thread) my wife and I worshipped at the Church of England, the whole congregation gathered near the door of the church, at the end of the service, carrying lighted candles, which we extinguished simultaneously, saying words to the effect that we had worshipped the Light of the World in church during Nativity, and now, Nativity having ended, we extinguished the candles partly to show that Christmas was wholly and irrevocably over, but partly, as we had carried them to the exit, to remind ourselves as we went out that we too are the light of the world. Such "ritualism" is helpful in stamping something on one's mind memorably. But, as I say, that is a purely personal response.
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« Reply #79 on: February 03, 2010, 12:11:35 PM »

it's ironic that fish with a vertabrate are not allowed during the fast, but shrimp and lobster are.

Indeed. I greatly enjoy mackerel, and also trout, and both can be ridiculously cheap. A grilled mackerel, a good Greek salad, some small black olives, fresh crusty bread and a couple of glasses of retsina is a feast to relish. One is not giving up costly food by that!

But then, we Vangies don't have Lent anyway.  Wink
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« Reply #80 on: February 03, 2010, 01:23:20 PM »

explain why "ritualism" is such a danger but ... "minimalism" is perfectly ok?

I can only give a personal reply, maybe nothing particularly Evangelical, or even right, about it. The first part of the question is easy to answer, and though I am offering the answer I think you would get from most Protestants, I am not arguing for or against it: the danger of elaborate ritual is that a person can more easily get "stuck" at that stage and not press into the inner meaning of what the ritual is all about: robes, candles, incense, icons, kissing icons, etc, can make a person think he has done enough, without him having any true faith in, and response to, Christ himself. Even my Orthodox Study Bible comments said the same only today or a couple of days ago. Minimalism has two raisons d'être (again, I am stating them, not arguing for or against them): one is that there is less to risk diverting a person's attention from God himself; and the other is the so-called "regulative principle", according to which worship should contain only such things as are specifically written in scripture.
But aren't those things written in Scripture? I'm thinking of all the accouterments God commanded for the decoration of the Temple. He was certainly no minimalist!
Not having those things would seem to make it easy to sit there every Sunday like a bump on a log, thinking that simply by being there they have done enough, without having any true faith in and response to Christ Himself.
I'm sure you're not saying we can judge peoples' faith or response to Christ by outward means like that?
There is a danger either way, it seems to me.


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« Reply #81 on: February 03, 2010, 01:27:48 PM »

But aren't those things written in Scripture? I'm thinking of all the accouterments God commanded for the decoration of the Temple. He was certainly no minimalist!

If you want a defence of "the regulative principle", you'll need to ask someone else..

Quote
easy to sit there every Sunday like a bump on a log, thinking that simply by being there they have done enough, without having any true faith in and response to Christ Himself.

Absolutely right. Whatever the form, any form of Christianity can have the form of godliness but "lack the power thereof".
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« Reply #82 on: February 03, 2010, 01:33:40 PM »

So, how are you liking the Lectionary readings David?

Different ways. They are giving me almost a year almost entirely in the New Testament, which I enjoy. The comments are mainly no different from what you'd read in an Evangelical commentary of similar depth and style. Some of the comments, of course, advance a specifically Orthodox viewpoint, but the percentage is fairly small.

Soon they move on to Genesis, Isaiah and Proverbs, and as my Study Bible is only NT and Psalms, I'll probably abandon it at that point, as there will be no further commentary, and revert to my system of alternating an OT book (Genesis-Job), a NT book, an OT book (Song-Malachi) then the next NT book.

It has been refreshing to follow a different system, and encouraging to read of vast swathes of common belief between us.
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« Reply #83 on: February 03, 2010, 02:51:27 PM »

A church historian could probably tell us (you and me) when the idea or use of the church calendar was discontinued. He would perhaps find it harder to say why.

The why would be the whole "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" thing. And of course, that wouldn't be a baptized baby!  Wink
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« Reply #84 on: February 04, 2010, 09:10:14 AM »

What we've agreed, of course, - partly in somewhat light-hearted terms - is that it is quite possible as an Evangelical, Orthodox, or anything else, to keep to the letter of the law (that is, of the rules and forms), whilst keeping quite outside the spirit of those rules. May we all rather revere Christ in our hearts!
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« Reply #85 on: February 04, 2010, 10:07:24 AM »

What we've agreed, of course, - partly in somewhat light-hearted terms - is that it is quite possible as an Evangelical, Orthodox, or anything else, to keep to the letter of the law (that is, of the rules and forms), whilst keeping quite outside the spirit of those rules. May we all rather revere Christ in our hearts!

Then you would agree that so-called "ritualism" and "minimalism" are equally neutral, so to speak?
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« Reply #86 on: February 04, 2010, 10:50:40 AM »

I must say I found it strange, even when I was a Protestant, that my church would celebrate at least in some way Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Canada Day, Thanksgiving Day (like in US established by a secular government back in the days when there was general respect for Christianity), Remembrance Day (Veterans' Day, Armistice Day elsewhere), New Year's Day (civil, of course). Yet there was never any mention of Theophany/Epiphany, Ascension, Transfiguration, Presentation of the Lord, Annunciation, etc. even though these commemorate events recorded in the Bible!
The civil holidays filled the vacuum created by the elimination of the church calendar. There seems to be something inherent in human society that makes us want to celebrate.
I'm certainly not trying to suggest that civil holidays should not be celebrated, but why do they get the priority among many Protestants to the (near) exclusion of Christian holidays?
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« Reply #87 on: February 04, 2010, 10:59:35 AM »

I must say I found it strange, even when I was a Protestant, that my church would celebrate at least in some way Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Canada Day, Thanksgiving Day (like in US established by a secular government back in the days when there was general respect for Christianity), Remembrance Day (Veterans' Day, Armistice Day elsewhere), New Year's Day (civil, of course). Yet there was never any mention of Theophany/Epiphany, Ascension, Transfiguration, Presentation of the Lord, Annunciation, etc. even though these commemorate events recorded in the Bible!
The civil holidays filled the vacuum created by the elimination of the church calendar. There seems to be something inherent in human society that makes us want to celebrate.
I'm certainly not trying to suggest that civil holidays should not be celebrated, but why do they get the priority among many Protestants to the (near) exclusion of Christian holidays?

Yes, this is so true. When I visit my father and attend his Baptist Church they celebrate many 'national' holidays (Holy Days). What we have to recognize is that Nationalism and the Secular National Calendar has effectively 'replaced' the Church Calendar. What I am interested in is 'when' did this 'really' start to happen? When did the Nations replace the Church Calendar and start making "holidays" instead of "Holy Days"?
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« Reply #88 on: February 04, 2010, 11:01:31 AM »

I think that's a good point, genesisone.

My former Evangelical church would hold patriotic hymnsings on the Sunday closest to Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. It always bothered me.

I went to a non-denominational megachurch for awhile, and they did pay lip service to the Church Year from time to time. We never studied (for instance) Our Lord in the Temple 33 days after Christmas, but at least there was an awareness of its existence.

I have found this to be the trend in some non-denominational branches of Protestantism - the "in" thing is to introduce liturgical elements such as the Church Year, the Daily Office, etc. Of course, when these things are divorced from tradition they are largely dead and hollow, cut off from the lifeblood of the Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #89 on: February 04, 2010, 11:59:00 AM »

I'm certainly not trying to suggest that civil holidays should not be celebrated, but why do they get the priority among many Protestants to the (near) exclusion of Christian holidays?

Excellent point. Why is that?
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