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Author Topic: Orthodox Evangelism  (Read 1801 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« 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?
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« 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".
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« 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.
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AMM
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« 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.
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« 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.
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Fr. David
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« 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...
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« 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!) Smiley
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« 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.
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« 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!) Smiley
Maybe we should all e mail this guy.  Grin
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Fr. David
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« 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!  Smiley
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« 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!  Smiley

Hear, hear!


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Fr. George
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« 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
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Fr. David
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 03:02:54 PM »

^^ A good one, that.  Thanks.
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