Author Topic: Orthodox Evangelism  (Read 1947 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,020
Orthodox Evangelism
« on: April 23, 2009, 04:49:50 AM »
This is a convert issue for me.  As I am progressing in my catechism the one great issue that I still have with Orthodoxy is its apparent aversion to proselytization.  I understand that the Church has undergone unbelievable persecution in recent times, but the picture I seem to get here in America is that the churches are more concerned with just keeping the parish doors open, let alone sending people out on missions.

The only Orthodox missionaries that I have met have been those going to help rebuild the Orthodox countries, but not wandering outside of the historically Orthodox lands to spread the gospel.

What does Orthodox formally teach about evangelization?  How much of an emphasis has the Church had on missions, especially since the Great Schism?

I believe that a reader at my parish told me that the Orthodox typically set up a church, bring in relics, and simply begin to pray and to perform the cycle of services.  The idea is that people will begin to come on their own.  Is this totally off base, or was there some true to what he told me?

Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,247
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009, 05:24:44 AM »
Quote
The only Orthodox missionaries that I have met have been those going to help rebuild the Orthodox countries, but not wandering outside of the historically Orthodox lands to spread the gospel.

Not at all true, Alveus. Look at the missionary work being done in Indonesia, the Philippines, Madagascar and Uganda, for but a few examples. If I put my mind to it, I would find plenty more. The difference between western protestant evangelism and the Orthodox variety is that it is far less "in your face".
No longer posting here. Anyone is welcome to PM me or email me at the address in my profile.

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,664
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 09:29:01 AM »
The difference between western protestant evangelism and the Orthodox variety is that it is far less "in your face".
Very true.

Offline AMM

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,076
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 09:55:10 AM »
The problem I've seen, at least here in North America, is "evangelism" really means pulling in people from other denominations.

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,664
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 09:59:17 AM »
The problem I've seen, at least here in North America, is "evangelism" really means pulling in people from other denominations.
Yeah, that is the way most protestant churches worked, in my neck of the woods. Church growth meant church depletion somewhere else.

Offline Fr. David

  • The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,833
    • Iglesia Ortodoxa de los Santos Apóstoles
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 10:14:30 AM »
The problem I've seen, at least here in North America, is "evangelism" really means pulling in people from other denominations.
Yeah, that is the way most protestant churches worked, in my neck of the woods. Church growth meant church depletion somewhere else.

An EXCELLENT point that needs to be made more often.  Not that AMM's point is wrong, but we're hardly alone in this.

Sometimes I wonder if today's Christian confessions are, by and large, just concerned with rearranging each other's deck chairs...
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)

Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009, 10:20:14 AM »
A while ago I was approached by two young guys from our local Baptist church, who gave me their invitation to join their congregation, and left me their e-mail address. I wrote to that address, explaining to the best of my capacity that I am already in the Church. I also wrote a little bit about the reality of Christ in the Eucharist. One of the guys wrote me back, arguing pretty much along the Reformist (Zwingean) lines that "Christ says that He is the door, but He is not really the door," etc. I wrote back saying that the Church never had any doubt in the reality of the Body and Blood for ~!,500 years, and gave him some quotes from the text of the Divine Liturgy by St. John Chrysostomos. I never heard from him again.

Well... I believe I did a tiny little bit of "evangelism," no? That Baptist will perhaps not become an Orthodox Christian tomorrow or day after, but maybe I just made him think a little? Who knows... (well, God certainly does!) :)
Love never fails.

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,664
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2009, 10:41:08 AM »
Along these lines, I've found that many protestant churches that evangelise, purposely do it to already church going protestants. Which, to me is strange, based on their view of the church.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,767
  • Praying for the Christians in Iraq
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2009, 11:03:18 AM »
A while ago I was approached by two young guys from our local Baptist church, who gave me their invitation to join their congregation, and left me their e-mail address. I wrote to that address, explaining to the best of my capacity that I am already in the Church. I also wrote a little bit about the reality of Christ in the Eucharist. One of the guys wrote me back, arguing pretty much along the Reformist (Zwingean) lines that "Christ says that He is the door, but He is not really the door," etc. I wrote back saying that the Church never had any doubt in the reality of the Body and Blood for ~!,500 years, and gave him some quotes from the text of the Divine Liturgy by St. John Chrysostomos. I never heard from him again.

Well... I believe I did a tiny little bit of "evangelism," no? That Baptist will perhaps not become an Orthodox Christian tomorrow or day after, but maybe I just made him think a little? Who knows... (well, God certainly does!) :)
Maybe we should all e mail this guy.  ;D
You are right. I apologize for having sacked Constantinople. I really need to stop doing that.

Offline Fr. David

  • The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,833
    • Iglesia Ortodoxa de los Santos Apóstoles
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 11:18:50 AM »
The difference between western protestant evangelism and the Orthodox variety is that it is far less "in your face".
Very true.

It may be true, but I think what's needed is less of a definition that's based on "in your face" Evangelicals and more on concrete examples of EXACTLY what it is that we could and should be doing.

What are our strengths as Orthodox Christians that we could be playing to in terms of outreach?  Homeless shelters like THIS ONE?  Inter-Orthodox fellowship (strength in numbers at the grassroots level, iow), consistent classes, advertisement, (see HERE for a great example of this in OK City)? Hispanic and African-American-oriented missions (HERE and HERE, respectively)?  Ministries to women who've had abortions (HERE)?  Ministry to alcoholics (done in Romania HERE, but could be done elsewhere)?  Pro bono academies whose student bodies are made up entirely of street urchins (HERE)?

Prison ministry?  House building a la H4H or Project Mexico?

Seems there's quite a bit we could be doing apart from saying what we DON'T do.

Also, while I was typing:

Well... I believe I did a tiny little bit of "evangelism," no?

Yes!  Way to go, Heorhij!  :)
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)

Offline rwprof

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 294
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2009, 01:11:29 PM »
It may be true, but I think what's needed is less of a definition that's based on "in your face" Evangelicals and more on concrete examples of EXACTLY what it is that we could and should be doing.

What are our strengths as Orthodox Christians that we could be playing to in terms of outreach?  Homeless shelters like THIS ONE?  Inter-Orthodox fellowship (strength in numbers at the grassroots level, iow), consistent classes, advertisement, (see HERE for a great example of this in OK City)? Hispanic and African-American-oriented missions (HERE and HERE, respectively)?  Ministries to women who've had abortions (HERE)?  Ministry to alcoholics (done in Romania HERE, but could be done elsewhere)?  Pro bono academies whose student bodies are made up entirely of street urchins (HERE)?

Prison ministry?  House building a la H4H or Project Mexico?

Seems there's quite a bit we could be doing apart from saying what we DON'T do.

Also, while I was typing:

Well... I believe I did a tiny little bit of "evangelism," no?

Yes!  Way to go, Heorhij!  :)

Hear, hear!


Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!

Offline Fr. George

  • formerly "Cleveland"
  • Administrator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *******
  • Posts: 20,210
  • May the Lord bless you and keep you always!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2009, 01:46:17 PM »
Ministries to women who've had abortions (HERE)? 

While I know your list wasn't meant to be exhaustive... you missed a spot:
Ministries to women who are thinking about abortions
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Fr. David

  • The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,833
    • Iglesia Ortodoxa de los Santos Apóstoles
Re: Orthodox Evangelism
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 03:02:54 PM »
^^ A good one, that.  Thanks.
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)