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« Reply #270 on: December 10, 2009, 01:59:00 AM »

Here's something else that might be of interest. St John speaks directly about St Cyril's formulation:

 Chapter XI.—Concerning the Nature as viewed in Species and in Individual, and concerning the difference between Union and Incarnation: and how this is to be understood, “The one Nature of God the Word Incarnate.”

Nature is regarded either abstractly as a matter of pure thought (for it has no independent existence): or commonly in all subsistences of the same species as their bond of union, and is then spoken of as nature viewed in species: or universally as the same, but with the addition of accidents, in one subsistence, and is spoken of as nature viewed in the individual, this being identical with nature viewed in species. God the Word Incarnate, therefore, did not assume the nature that is regarded as an abstraction in pure thought (for this is not incarnation, but only an imposture and a figment of incarnation), nor the nature viewed in species (for He did not assume all the subsistences): but the nature viewed in the individual, which is identical with that viewed in species. For He took on Himself the elements of our compound nature, and these not as having an independent existence or as being originally an individual, and in this way assumed by Him, but as existing in His own subsistence. For the subsistence of God the Word in itself became the subsistence of the flesh, and accordingly “the Word became flesh” clearly without any change, and likewise the flesh became Word without alteration, and God became man. For the Word is God, and man is God, through having one and the same subsistence. And so it is possible to speak of the same thing as being the nature of the Word and the nature in the individual. For it signifies strictly and exclusively neither the individual, that is, the subsistence, nor the common nature of the subsistences, but the common nature as viewed and presented in one of the subsistences.

Union, then, is one thing, and incarnation is something quite different. For union signifies only the conjunction, but not at all that with which union is effected. But incarnation (which is just the same as if one said “the putting on of man’s nature”) signifies that the conjunction is with flesh, that is to say, with man, just as the heating of iron implies its union with fire. Indeed, the blessed Cyril himself, when he is interpreting the phrase, “one nature of God the Word Incarnate,” says in the second epistle to Sucensus, “For if we simply said ‘the one nature of the Word’ and then were silent, and did not add the word ‘incarnate,’ but, so to speak, quite excluded the dispensation, there would be some plausibility in the question they feign to ask, ‘If one nature is the whole, what becomes of the perfection in humanity, or how has the essence like us come to exist?’ But inasmuch as the perfection in humanity and the disclosure of the essence like us are conveyed in the word ‘incarnate,’ they must cease from relying on a mere straw.” Here, then, he placed the nature of the Word over nature itself. For if He had received nature instead of subsistence, it would not have been absurd to have omitted the “incarnate.” For when we say simply one subsistence of God the Word, we do not err. In like manner, also, Leontius the Byzantine considered this phrase to refer to nature, and not to subsistence. But in the Defence which he wrote in reply to the attacks that Theodoret made on the second anathema, the blessed Cyril says this: “The nature of the Word, that is, the subsistence, which is the Word itself.” So that “the nature of the Word” means neither the subsistence alone, nor “the common nature of the subsistence,” but “the common nature viewed as a whole in the subsistence of the Word.”

It has been said, then, that the nature of the Word became flesh, that is, was united to flesh: but that the nature of the Word suffered in the flesh we have never heard up till now, though we have been taught that Christ suffered in the flesh. So that “the nature of the Word” does not mean “the subsistence.” It remains, therefore, to say that to become flesh is to be united with the flesh, while the Word having become flesh means that the very subsistence of the Word became without change the subsistence of the flesh. It has also been said that God became man, and man God. For the Word which is God became without alteration man. But that the Godhead became man, or became flesh, or put on the nature of man, this we have never heard. This, indeed, we have learned, that the Godhead was united to humanity in one of its subsistences, and it has been stated that God took on a different form or essence, to wit our own. For the name God is applicable to each of the subsistences, but we cannot use the term Godhead in reference to subsistence. For we are never told that the Godhead is the Father alone, or the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone. For “Godhead” implies “nature,” while “Father” implies subsistence, just as “Humanity” implies nature, and “Peter” subsistence. But “God” indicates the common element of the nature, and is applicable derivatively to each of the subsistences, just as “man” is. For He Who has divine nature is God, and he who has human nature is man.

Besides all this, notice that the Father and the Holy Spirit take no part at all in the incarnation of the Word except in connection with the miracles, and in respect of good will and purpose.

That's nice.  Now, that contradicts the OO understanding of nature how?
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« Reply #271 on: December 10, 2009, 04:51:26 PM »

Well then, we can agree to talk about the EO/OO discussions some other time and place. While there are many conservative New Calendarists who agree with the Old Calendarists that the OO are not Orthodox, and that therefore the decision of the Synod of Antioch constitutes granting communion to heretics, you may disagree with that, although you'd have to agree it constitutes granting communion to schismatics.

Two other principle pieces of evidence for ecumenism are the WCC and the lifting of the anathemas by Patriarch Athenagoras in 1965. We can discuss those.

I know that the latter has been disputed by those who claim that the anathemas never existed. This seems to me very strange: why didn't they make that argument back in 1965? It would surely have been a more straightforward way of claiming that the Roman Church had never been anathematized by the Eastern Church, and that therefore the two could be considered estranged 'sister' churches, as the Balamand conference determined.

Another argument is that they did exist, but that they were only leveled against the legates, Cardinal Humbert et al. This seems a little disingenuous, since the papal legates were not representing themselves, but the Pope. And that argument needs to confront the fact that the Patriarch ceased to commemorate the Pope from that time on. Was that just a coincidence, and did the Patriarch simply forget to mention the Pope's name?

The question of WCC membership has been thrashed out before. The problem is that the Toronto statement, which all WCC members consider to be the definitive statement of the principles of the WCC, makes apparently opposite claims about just what membership implies ecclesiologically. In one part, it says that the WCC is not a superchurch, and that members need not consider other members part of the one Church. But then later it says that it is an assumption of the WCC that all members be considered part of the Body of Christ! It is the latter part which forms the basis for our refusal to join the WCC or have communion with those who do.
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« Reply #272 on: December 10, 2009, 06:24:59 PM »

The question of WCC membership has been thrashed out before. The problem is that the Toronto statement, which all WCC members consider to be the definitive statement of the principles of the WCC, makes apparently opposite claims about just what membership implies ecclesiologically. In one part, it says that the WCC is not a superchurch, and that members need not consider other members part of the one Church. But then later it says that it is an assumption of the WCC that all members be considered part of the Body of Christ! It is the latter part which forms the basis for our refusal to join the WCC or have communion with those who do.
But are we agreed on the idea that membership in an organization means de facto submission to all of the organization's founding principles?  I know you've argued this with us before, but I'm not sure we had ever come to an agreement with you on this.  Until we agree on what membership in the WCC really means, I'm not sure an argument equating membership in the WCC with ecumenist heresy will be very convincing.
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« Reply #273 on: December 10, 2009, 06:59:14 PM »

The question of WCC membership has been thrashed out before. The problem is that the Toronto statement, which all WCC members consider to be the definitive statement of the principles of the WCC, makes apparently opposite claims about just what membership implies ecclesiologically. In one part, it says that the WCC is not a superchurch, and that members need not consider other members part of the one Church. But then later it says that it is an assumption of the WCC that all members be considered part of the Body of Christ! It is the latter part which forms the basis for our refusal to join the WCC or have communion with those who do.
But are we agreed on the idea that membership in an organization means de facto submission to all of the organization's founding principles?  I know you've argued this with us before, but I'm not sure we had ever come to an agreement with you on this.  Until we agree on what membership in the WCC really means, I'm not sure an argument equating membership in the WCC with ecumenist heresy will be very convincing.

I guess I'd like to hear the arguments that WCC membership does not imply acceptance of its founding principles. I would have thought that, unless Orthodox membership had some special stipulation attached excusing them from subscribing to certain of the founding principles, all the founding principles should be assumed to apply. The burden of proof is on those who say that the Orthodox members are not bound by these principles.
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« Reply #274 on: December 10, 2009, 07:04:32 PM »

The question of WCC membership has been thrashed out before. The problem is that the Toronto statement, which all WCC members consider to be the definitive statement of the principles of the WCC, makes apparently opposite claims about just what membership implies ecclesiologically. In one part, it says that the WCC is not a superchurch, and that members need not consider other members part of the one Church. But then later it says that it is an assumption of the WCC that all members be considered part of the Body of Christ! It is the latter part which forms the basis for our refusal to join the WCC or have communion with those who do.
But are we agreed on the idea that membership in an organization means de facto submission to all of the organization's founding principles?  I know you've argued this with us before, but I'm not sure we had ever come to an agreement with you on this.  Until we agree on what membership in the WCC really means, I'm not sure an argument equating membership in the WCC with ecumenist heresy will be very convincing.

I guess I'd like to hear the arguments that WCC membership does not imply acceptance of its founding principles. I would have thought that, unless Orthodox membership had some special stipulation attached excusing them from subscribing to certain of the founding principles, all the founding principles should be assumed to apply. The burden of proof is on those who say that the Orthodox members are not bound by these principles.

I think the WCC failed to force its decisions on the Orthodox.  For instance, the late HE Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios wrote on article on why the Orthodox Church does not believe in "Eucharistic hospitality" and his tone was quite unforgiving.
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« Reply #275 on: December 10, 2009, 07:09:42 PM »

I guess I'd like to hear the arguments that WCC membership does not imply acceptance of its founding principles. I would have thought that, unless Orthodox membership had some special stipulation attached excusing them from subscribing to certain of the founding principles, all the founding principles should be assumed to apply. The burden of proof is on those who say that the Orthodox members are not bound by these principles.

I think the WCC failed to force its decisions on the Orthodox.  For instance, the late HE Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios wrote on article on why the Orthodox Church does not believe in "Eucharistic hospitality" and his tone was quite unforgiving.

You would probably remember that a few years back the Secretary General of the WCC launched an unexpected and stinging attack on the Orthodox at the WCC for not taking communion at WCC services nor offering it to other members.   Most likely what Paulous Mar Gregorios wrote was in response to that.
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« Reply #276 on: December 10, 2009, 07:18:38 PM »

Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the WCC

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/who-are-we/self-understanding-vision/orthodox-participation.html

The Orthodox churches were part of the WCC from its beginning. Along the way, they raised certain questions about WCC positions and practices. In response to these questions, the WCC's 8th assembly in December 1998 created a Special Commission to address Orthodox concerns about WCC membership and the council's decision-making style, public statements, worship practices and other issues.

The commission's report was received in 2002 and key recommendations went to the WCC's 9th assembly for approval. Its main recommendations related to:

- the centrality of ecclesiology: the commission reminded WCC member churches that their commitment to the fellowship of churches implies a corresponding commitment to the study of ecclesiology, or what it means to be the church;
- praying together: having affirmed the need to pray together, the commission suggested that worship at WCC gatherings like assemblies, central committee meetings and other large-profile meetings be clearly defined as either "confessional" or "interconfessional" common prayer;
- taking decisions: the council was to move from majority rule to a "consensus" form of decision-making.

The commission also challenged the WCC to design new categories of membership through which churches may participate in the council.

The commission's suggestions and recommendations provide WCC member churches with new opportunities for growing together. The period until the 2006 assembly allowed the council to test how these recommendations would work in practice.

The special commission's proposals on consensus decision-making, for example, were tested at the 2005 central committee meeting, and the method was then used at the WCC's 9th assembly in 2006. Recommendations on common prayer were also applied at the 9th assembly, where the prayer life was organized as either inter-confessional or confessional services.

The 9th assembly affirmed "this important achievement of the Council deepens the relationships among member churches and helps dispel misperceptions between families of churches".

It stressed the importance of the commission's work and of subsequent efforts to "grow into the consensus process of discernment for decision-making, and engage in the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement". It also welcomed revisions to the constitution and rules of the WCC on consensus and a clarified understanding of membership in the WCC.

Click to read more on the process and documentation

 
Related documents

Final Report of the Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the WCC
The report of the Special Commission was submitted to the central committee at its meeting in September 2002. The meeting received the report and recommended a series of actions. Subsequently, in following up the work of the Special Commission, the central committee took concrete actions on decision-making and membership matters in its meeting in February 2005.

The importance of the Orthodox contribution to the WCC
Public lecture by Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser at an international symposium on "Orthodox theology and the future of ecumenical dialogue: perspectives and problems", Thessaloniki, Greece, 1-3 June 2003

Interim report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation
Report to the WCC central committee, Potsdam, Germany, 2001

More documents
 
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« Reply #277 on: December 10, 2009, 07:21:04 PM »

Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the WCC

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/who-are-we/self-understanding-vision/orthodox-participation.html

The Orthodox churches were part of the WCC from its beginning. Along the way, they raised certain questions about WCC positions and practices. In response to these questions, the WCC's 8th assembly in December 1998 created a Special Commission to address Orthodox concerns about WCC membership and the council's decision-making style, public statements, worship practices and other issues.

The commission's report was received in 2002 and key recommendations went to the WCC's 9th assembly for approval. Its main recommendations related to:

- the centrality of ecclesiology: the commission reminded WCC member churches that their commitment to the fellowship of churches implies a corresponding commitment to the study of ecclesiology, or what it means to be the church;
- praying together: having affirmed the need to pray together, the commission suggested that worship at WCC gatherings like assemblies, central committee meetings and other large-profile meetings be clearly defined as either "confessional" or "interconfessional" common prayer;
- taking decisions: the council was to move from majority rule to a "consensus" form of decision-making.

The commission also challenged the WCC to design new categories of membership through which churches may participate in the council.

The commission's suggestions and recommendations provide WCC member churches with new opportunities for growing together. The period until the 2006 assembly allowed the council to test how these recommendations would work in practice.

The special commission's proposals on consensus decision-making, for example, were tested at the 2005 central committee meeting, and the method was then used at the WCC's 9th assembly in 2006. Recommendations on common prayer were also applied at the 9th assembly, where the prayer life was organized as either inter-confessional or confessional services.

The 9th assembly affirmed "this important achievement of the Council deepens the relationships among member churches and helps dispel misperceptions between families of churches".

It stressed the importance of the commission's work and of subsequent efforts to "grow into the consensus process of discernment for decision-making, and engage in the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement". It also welcomed revisions to the constitution and rules of the WCC on consensus and a clarified understanding of membership in the WCC.

Click to read more on the process and documentation

 
Related documents

Final Report of the Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the WCC
The report of the Special Commission was submitted to the central committee at its meeting in September 2002. The meeting received the report and recommended a series of actions. Subsequently, in following up the work of the Special Commission, the central committee took concrete actions on decision-making and membership matters in its meeting in February 2005.

The importance of the Orthodox contribution to the WCC
Public lecture by Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser at an international symposium on "Orthodox theology and the future of ecumenical dialogue: perspectives and problems", Thessaloniki, Greece, 1-3 June 2003

Interim report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation
Report to the WCC central committee, Potsdam, Germany, 2001

More documents
 

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« Reply #278 on: December 10, 2009, 07:32:44 PM »


Well, the documents show the error in the contention that the Orthodox have been willing to compromise their ecclesiological understanding by participating in the WCC. 
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« Reply #279 on: December 10, 2009, 07:38:51 PM »

The burden of proof is on those who say that the Orthodox members are not bound by these principles.
Maybe if we're trying to convince you of this.  However, you also need to convince us of your thesis that the Orthodox members of the WCC are bound by these principles.  Insofar as you are trying to convince us of anything, the burden of proof is on you to offer up evidence for your point of view.
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« Reply #280 on: December 10, 2009, 07:50:19 PM »


Well, the documents show the error in the contention that the Orthodox have been willing to compromise their ecclesiological understanding by participating in the WCC. 
Yup. Its good to see the OC standing up for its principles.
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« Reply #281 on: December 10, 2009, 08:03:31 PM »

Well, let's imagine a hypothetical situation. Some body called the 'Church' proclaims that it believes it is the Body of Christ, and that only members of the 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Let's say this 'Church' joins an organization with other bodies, whose members are not members of the 'Church', and that a condition of membership of this organization is that each member considers each other member to be members of the Body of Christ. The original 'Church' joins this organization, thereby accepting this condition. So as a condition of membership the 'Church' accepts the other bodies as members of the Body of Christ, even though it continues to proclaim that only members of the original 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Wouldn't you say there's something inconsistent about this situation?
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« Reply #282 on: December 10, 2009, 08:12:14 PM »

Well, let's imagine a hypothetical situation. Some body called the 'Church' proclaims that it believes it is the Body of Christ, and that only members of the 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Let's say this 'Church' joins an organization with other bodies, whose members are not members of the 'Church', and that a condition of membership of this organization is that each member considers each other member to be members of the Body of Christ. The original 'Church' joins this organization, thereby accepting this condition. So as a condition of membership the 'Church' accepts the other bodies as members of the Body of Christ, even though it continues to proclaim that only members of the original 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Wouldn't you say there's something inconsistent about this situation?

Even assuming that your assessment of the situation is correct (and your assessment is very unnuanced) the Church has no great fear of inconsistency.   Several examples of it in the history of the Church in its contact with heterodox groups are documented in "Schismatic Old-Calendarism is an anti-Patristic stance"  Give it a read.
http://www.oodegr.com/english/ekklisia/sxismata/antipater1.htm#_Toc135058238
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« Reply #283 on: December 10, 2009, 08:18:33 PM »

I guess I'd like to hear the arguments that WCC membership does not imply acceptance of its founding principles. I would have thought that, unless Orthodox membership had some special stipulation attached excusing them from subscribing to certain of the founding principles, all the founding principles should be assumed to apply. The burden of proof is on those who say that the Orthodox members are not bound by these principles.

I think the WCC failed to force its decisions on the Orthodox.  For instance, the late HE Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios wrote on article on why the Orthodox Church does not believe in "Eucharistic hospitality" and his tone was quite unforgiving.

You would probably remember that a few years back the Secretary General of the WCC launched an unexpected and stinging attack on the Orthodox at the WCC for not taking communion at WCC services nor offering it to other members.   Most likely what Paulous Mar Gregorios wrote was in response to that.

Yes, indeed.  Here's the article by His Eminence:

http://paulosmargregorios.info/English%20Articles/Euchasristic_Hospitality.html

I also heard that many Coptic bishops have launched attacks back at the secretary general for his heterodox teachings, since they felt their faith were attacked.  But I can't verify that.
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« Reply #284 on: December 10, 2009, 08:22:00 PM »

Well, let's imagine a hypothetical situation. Some body called the 'Church' proclaims that it believes it is the Body of Christ, and that only members of the 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Let's say this 'Church' joins an organization with other bodies, whose members are not members of the 'Church', and that a condition of membership of this organization is that each member considers each other member to be members of the Body of Christ. The original 'Church' joins this organization, thereby accepting this condition. So as a condition of membership the 'Church' accepts the other bodies as members of the Body of Christ, even though it continues to proclaim that only members of the original 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Wouldn't you say there's something inconsistent about this situation?

I don't think the WCC began as an organization that claims that its members must conform to a branch theory of church.  Wasn't Fr. Florovsky a founding member?  It wasn't until later when Protestant organizations wanted to have a monopoly over other members and force their beliefs on them.  Many in the Orthodox side and the Oriental Orthodox side have rejected such moves.
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« Reply #285 on: December 10, 2009, 10:45:05 PM »

Well, the Toronto statement is from 1950. Here is the section about assumptions. As far as I can tell these are quite irreconcilable with Orthodoxy:

IV. THE ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

We must now try to define the positive assumptions which underlie the World Council of Churches and the ecclesiological implications of membership in it.

1) The member Churches of the Council believe that conversation, cooperation, and common witness of the Churches must be based on the common recognition that Christ is the Divine Head of the Body.

The Basis of the World Council is the acknowledgment of the central fact that "other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, even Jesus Christ." It is the expression of the conviction that the Lord of the Church is God-among us Who continues to gather His children and to build His Church Himself. Therefore, no relationship between the Churches can have any substance or promise unless it starts with the common submission of the Churches to the Headship of Jesus Christ in His Church. From different points of view Churches ask "How can men with opposite convictions belong to one and the same federation of the faithful?" A clear answer to that question was given by the Orthodox delegates in Edinburgh 1937 when they said: "In spite of all our differences, our common Master and Lord is one—Jesus Christ who will lead us to a more and more close collaboration for the edifying of the Body of Christ." [From statement by Archb. Germanos on behalf of the Orthodox delegates.] The fact of Christ's Headship over His people compels all those who acknowledge Him to enter into real and close relationships with each other—even though they differ in many important points.

2) The member Churches of the World Council believe on the basis of the New Testament that the Church of Christ is one.

The ecumenical movement owes its existence to the fact that this article of the faith has again come home to men and women in many Churches with an inescapable force. As they face the discrepancy between the truth that there is and can be only one Church of Christ, and the fact that there exist so many Churches which claim to be Churches of Christ but are not in living unity with each other, they feel a holy dissatisfaction with the present situation. The Churches realize that it is a matter of simple Christian duty for each Church to do its utmost for the manifestation of the Church in its oneness, and to work and pray that Christ's purpose for His Church should be fulfilled.

3) The member Churches recognize that the membership of the Church of Christ is more inclusive than the membership of their own Church body. They seek, therefore, to enter into living contact with those outside their own ranks who confess the Lordship of Christ.

All the Christian Churches, including the Church of Rome, hold that there is no complete identity between the membership of the Church Universal and the membership of their own Church. They recognize that there are Church members extra muros, that these belong aliquo modo to the Church, or even that there is an ecclesia extra ecclesiam. This recognition finds expression in the fact that with very few exceptions the Christian Churches accept the baptism administered by other Churches as valid.

But the question arises what consequences are to be drawn from this teaching. Most often in Church history the Churches have only drawn the negative consequence that they should have no dealings with those outside their membership. The underlying assumption of the ecumenical movement is that each Church has a positive task to fulfill in this realm. That task is to seek fellowship with all those who, while not members of the same visible body, belong together as members of the mystical body. And the ecumenical movement is the place where this search and discovery take place.

4) The member Churches of the World Council consider the relationship of other Churches to the Holy Catholic Church which the Creeds profess as a subject for mutual consideration. Nevertheless, membership does not imply that each Church must regard the other member Churches as Churches in the true and full sense of the word.

There is a place in the World Council both for those Churches which recognize other Churches as Churches in the full and true sense, and for those who do not. But these divided Churches, even if they cannot yet accept each other as true and pure Churches, believe that they should not remain in isolation from each other, and consequently they have associated themselves in the World Council of Churches.

They know that differences of faith and order exist, but they recognize one another as serving the One Lord, and they wish to explore their differences in mutual respect, trusting that they may thus be led by the Holy Spirit to manifest their unity in Christ.

5) The member Churches of the World Council recognize in other Churches elements of the true Church. They consider that this mutual recognition obliges them to enter into a serious conversation with each other in the hope that these elements of truth will lead to the recognition of the full truth and to unity based on the full truth.

It is generally taught in the different Churches that other Churches have certain elements of the true Church, in some traditions called vestigia ecclesiae. Such elements are the preaching of the Word, the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and the administration of the sacraments. These elements are more than pale shadows of the life of the true Church. They are a fact of real promise and provide an opportunity to strive by frank and brotherly intercourse for the realization of a fuller unity. Moreover, Christians of all ecclesiological views throughout the world, by the preaching of the Gospel, brought men and women to salvation by Christ, to newness of life in Him, and into Christian fellowship with one another.

The ecumenical movement is based upon the conviction that these "traces" are to be followed. The Churches should not despise them as mere elements of truth but rejoice in them as hopeful signs pointing toward real unity. For what are these elements? Not dead remnants of the past but powerful means by which God works. Questions may and must be raised about the validity and purity of teaching and sacramental life, but there can be no question that such dynamic elements of Church life justify the hope that the Churches which maintain them will be led into fuller truth. It is through the ecumenical conversation that this recognition of truth is facilitated.

6) The member Churches of the Council are willing to consult together in seeking to learn of the Lord Jesus Christ what witness He would have them to bear to the world in His Name.

Since the very raison d'tre of the Church is to witness to Christ, Churches cannot meet together without seeking from their common Lord a common witness before the world. This will not always be possible. But when it proves possible thus to speak or act together, the Churches can gratefully accept it as God's gracious gift that in spite of their disunity He has enabled them to render one and the same witness and that they may thus manifest something of the unity, the purpose of which is precisely "that the world may believe," and that they may "testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

7) A further practical implication of common membership in the World Council is that the member Churches should recognize their solidarity with each other, render assistance to each other in case of need, and refrain from such actions as are incompatible with brotherly relationships.

Within the Council the Churches seek to deal with each other with a brotherly concern. This does not exclude extremely frank speaking to each other, in which within the Council the Churches ask each other searching questions and face their differences. But this is to be done for the building up the Body of Christ. This excludes a purely negative attitude of one Church to another. The positive affirmation of each Church's faith is to be welcomed, but actions incompatible with brotherly relationships towards other member Churches defeat the very purpose for which the Council has been created. On the contrary, these Churches should help each other in removing all obstacles to the free exercise of the Church's normal functions. And whenever a Church is in need or under persecution, it should be able to count on the help of the other Churches through the Council.

8) The member Churches enter into spiritual relationships through which they seek to learn from each other and to give help to each other in order that the Body of Christ may be built up and that the life of the Churches may be renewed.

It is the common teaching of the Churches that the Church as the temple of God is at the same time a building which has been built and a building which is being built. The Church has, therefore, aspects which belong to its very structure and essence and cannot be changed. But it has other aspects, which are subject to change. Thus the life of the Church, as it expresses itself in its witness to its own members and to the world, needs constant renewal.

The Churches can and should help each other in this realm by a mutual exchange of thought and of experience. This is the significance of the study-work of the World Council and of many other of its activities. There is no intention to impose any particular pattern of thought or life upon the Churches. But whatever insight has been received by one or more Churches is to be made available to all the Churches for the sake of the "building up of the Body of Christ."

None of these positive assumptions, implied in the existence of the World Council, is in conflict with the teachings of the member Churches. We believe therefore that no Church need fear that by entering into the World Council it is in danger of denying its heritage.

As the conversation between the Churches develops and as the Churches enter into closer contact with each other, they will no doubt have to face new decisions and problems. For the Council exists to break the deadlock between the Churches. But in no case can or will any Church be pressed to take a decision against its own conviction or desire. The Churches remain wholly free in the action which, on the basis of their convictions and in the light of their ecumenical contacts, they will or will not take.

A very real unity has been discovered in ecumenical meetings which is, to all who collaborate in the World Council, the most precious element of its life. It exists and we receive it again and again as an unmerited gift from the Lord. We praise God for this foretaste of the unity of His People and continue hopefully with the work to which He has called us together. For the Council exists to serve the Churches as they prepare to meet their Lord Who knows only one flock.
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« Reply #286 on: December 10, 2009, 11:04:11 PM »

Does this 1950 Toronto Statement still hold water for the WCC?  I cannot imagine my own Coptic Church would accept such a statement.  I remember when I was a little boy, where it was taken to the extreme that the Coptic Church is the only true Church of God because of Coptic pride and Orthodox dogma.
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« Reply #287 on: December 10, 2009, 11:27:42 PM »

Well, this is what the official Orthodox churches were saying twenty years ago:

from Section III of the report of the Third Pan-Orthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy, 1986

7. The Orthodox member Churches of the WCC, accept its Constitutional Basis, as well as its aims and goals. They firmly believe that the ecclesiological presuppositions of the Toronto Statement (1950) on "The Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches" are of paramount importance for the Orthodox participation in the Council. It is therefore self-understood that the WCC is not and must never become a "super-Church". "The purpose of the WCC is not to negotiate unions between Churches, which can only be done by the Churches themselves, acting on their own initiatives, but to bring the Churches into living contact with each other and to promote the study and discussion of the issues of Church unity" (Toronto Statement, 2).

As you can see, they focus on the part of the statement that appears Orthodox, but neglect to mention the part I quoted above that is clearly not Orthodox.
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« Reply #288 on: December 10, 2009, 11:42:53 PM »

Well, perhaps it wasn't that they focused on that, but clearly 46 years passed by with serious discussion, and the Orthodox seemed to reply precisely the opposite of the gist of the Toronto meeting, i.e. that the WCC should NOT act as a super-Church, neither to promote unions, but rather to have discussions that pertain to ways and impediments to unity.  Perhaps, this the Orthodox Church in a nice way talking to the WCC, "Don't push it.  We like this part of your Toronto agreement, but the rest is rubbish."

The Toronto meeting wanted WCC to be a super-Church, and the Orthodox Church seemed to reject it in 1986, and in a very clever way I must admit.  You should rejoice, Jonathan.
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« Reply #289 on: December 11, 2009, 12:12:58 AM »

Well, perhaps it wasn't that they focused on that, but clearly 46 years passed by with serious discussion, and the Orthodox seemed to reply precisely the opposite of the gist of the Toronto meeting, i.e. that the WCC should NOT act as a super-Church, neither to promote unions, but rather to have discussions that pertain to ways and impediments to unity.  Perhaps, this the Orthodox Church in a nice way talking to the WCC, "Don't push it.  We like this part of your Toronto agreement, but the rest is rubbish."

The Toronto meeting wanted WCC to be a super-Church, and the Orthodox Church seemed to reject it in 1986, and in a very clever way I must admit.  You should rejoice, Jonathan.

Actually you're reading that into what they said. They said nothing about what they think about the 'assumptions', which you correctly discerned are not compatible with Orthodoxy, of either the Oriental or Eastern variety. They said they accept the presuppositions of the WCC, which can be taken as compatible with Orthodoxy in isolation. But being members of the WCC, they technically subscribe to the whole statement. So while subscribing to the whole statement, they trick the reader into thinking that the statement contains only what is compatible with Orthodox participation, while not mentioning what is incompatible.

But I certainly agree with you about the clever part.
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« Reply #290 on: December 11, 2009, 12:13:23 AM »

Well then, we can agree to talk about the EO/OO discussions some other time and place. While there are many conservative New Calendarists who agree with the Old Calendarists that the OO are not Orthodox, and that therefore the decision of the Synod of Antioch constitutes granting communion to heretics, you may disagree with that, although you'd have to agree it constitutes granting communion to schismatics.

So would giving communion to you. Your point?

Quote
Two other principle pieces of evidence for ecumenism are the WCC and the lifting of the anathemas by Patriarch Athenagoras in 1965. We can discuss those.

I know that the latter has been disputed by those who claim that the anathemas never existed. This seems to me very strange: why didn't they make that argument back in 1965? It would surely have been a more straightforward way of claiming that the Roman Church had never been anathematized by the Eastern Church, and that therefore the two could be considered estranged 'sister' churches, as the Balamand conference determined.

Another argument is that they did exist, but that they were only leveled against the legates, Cardinal Humbert et al. This seems a little disingenuous, since the papal legates were not representing themselves, but the Pope. And that argument needs to confront the fact that the Patriarch ceased to commemorate the Pope from that time on. Was that just a coincidence, and did the Patriarch simply forget to mention the Pope's name?

The pope of Rome had been stricken from the diptychs before, around 1019.  As for excommunicating just the legates, that is because Humbert was acting 1) on this own, 2) the pope was already dead so Humbert represented no one and  3) the Patriarch decided to not make sweeping generalizations, unlike some.



Quote
The question of WCC membership has been thrashed out before. The problem is that the Toronto statement, which all WCC members consider to be the definitive statement of the principles of the WCC, makes apparently opposite claims about just what membership implies ecclesiologically. In one part, it says that the WCC is not a superchurch, and that members need not consider other members part of the one Church. But then later it says that it is an assumption of the WCC that all members be considered part of the Body of Christ! It is the latter part which forms the basis for our refusal to join the WCC or have communion with those who do.

You're right: this has been thrashed out.
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« Reply #291 on: December 11, 2009, 12:14:56 AM »

The question of WCC membership has been thrashed out before. The problem is that the Toronto statement, which all WCC members consider to be the definitive statement of the principles of the WCC, makes apparently opposite claims about just what membership implies ecclesiologically. In one part, it says that the WCC is not a superchurch, and that members need not consider other members part of the one Church. But then later it says that it is an assumption of the WCC that all members be considered part of the Body of Christ! It is the latter part which forms the basis for our refusal to join the WCC or have communion with those who do.
But are we agreed on the idea that membership in an organization means de facto submission to all of the organization's founding principles?  I know you've argued this with us before, but I'm not sure we had ever come to an agreement with you on this.  Until we agree on what membership in the WCC really means, I'm not sure an argument equating membership in the WCC with ecumenist heresy will be very convincing.

I guess I'd like to hear the arguments that WCC membership does not imply acceptance of its founding principles. I would have thought that, unless Orthodox membership had some special stipulation attached excusing them from subscribing to certain of the founding principles, all the founding principles should be assumed to apply. The burden of proof is on those who say that the Orthodox members are not bound by these principles.
No, the burden is on you to proove your assumptions.
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« Reply #292 on: December 11, 2009, 12:29:01 AM »

Well, this is what the official Orthodox churches were saying twenty years ago:

from Section III of the report of the Third Pan-Orthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy, 1986

7. The Orthodox member Churches of the WCC, accept its Constitutional Basis, as well as its aims and goals. They firmly believe that the ecclesiological presuppositions of the Toronto Statement (1950) on "The Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches" are of paramount importance for the Orthodox participation in the Council. It is therefore self-understood that the WCC is not and must never become a "super-Church". "The purpose of the WCC is not to negotiate unions between Churches, which can only be done by the Churches themselves, acting on their own initiatives, but to bring the Churches into living contact with each other and to promote the study and discussion of the issues of Church unity" (Toronto Statement, 2).

As you can see, they focus on the part of the statement that appears Orthodox, but neglect to mention the part I quoted above that is clearly not Orthodox.
That's because they are affirming what is comparable to Orthodoxy, and denying validity to what cannot be reconciled to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #293 on: December 11, 2009, 12:38:33 AM »

Does this 1950 Toronto Statement still hold water for the WCC?  I cannot imagine my own Coptic Church would accept such a statement.  I remember when I was a little boy, where it was taken to the extreme that the Coptic Church is the only true Church of God because of Coptic pride and Orthodox dogma.

The 1950 Toronto Statement has never held true for the Copts.

His Holiness Pope Shenouda is quite clear that baptism dies not exist in the Protestant Churches.  The majority of members of WCC are not only NOT members of any Church, they are unbaptized.

His second-in-command Secretary of the Holy Synod Mar Bishoy went even further and declared that baptism does not exist in the Roman Catholic Church.  This caused quite a kerfluffle in Egyptian newspapers.

Given these teachings by the senior hierarchs of the Copts who would ever imagine that the Copts see themselves as in any way obliged to accept the "assumptions" of the Toronto Statement.  Grin

Jonathan, you need to get out more among the Orthodox and you will see that your logically derived contention that the Orthodox must accept such as the WCC Toronto Statement would be met with laughter by Orthodox hierarchs.

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« Reply #294 on: December 11, 2009, 12:45:22 AM »

Well I know plenty of Orthodox. Since none of them are in the WCC, funnily enough we don't even need to address this problem.
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« Reply #295 on: December 11, 2009, 12:48:41 AM »

Well, this is what the official Orthodox churches were saying twenty years ago:

from Section III of the report of the Third Pan-Orthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy, 1986

7. The Orthodox member Churches of the WCC, accept its Constitutional Basis, as well as its aims and goals. They firmly believe that the ecclesiological presuppositions of the Toronto Statement (1950) on "The Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches" are of paramount importance for the Orthodox participation in the Council. It is therefore self-understood that the WCC is not and must never become a "super-Church". "The purpose of the WCC is not to negotiate unions between Churches, which can only be done by the Churches themselves, acting on their own initiatives, but to bring the Churches into living contact with each other and to promote the study and discussion of the issues of Church unity" (Toronto Statement, 2).

As you can see, they focus on the part of the statement that appears Orthodox, but neglect to mention the part I quoted above that is clearly not Orthodox.

I invite readers to look at the full statement issued by the Orthodox and you will get a different impression than simply the one quote which Jonathan has culled from it.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/chambesy_1986.aspx

For a balanced understanding, let us look at the paragraph which precedes the one quoted by Jonathan:

6. The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as experienced in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #296 on: December 11, 2009, 12:51:08 AM »

Well I know plenty of Orthodox. Since none of them are in the WCC, funnily enough we don't even need to address this problem.
and yet you continue to feel the need to do so.  Odd.
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« Reply #297 on: December 11, 2009, 12:52:13 AM »

Well I know plenty of Orthodox. Since none of them are in the WCC, funnily enough we don't even need to address this problem.

Well, if a Church is not involved with assisting the poor and the ailing, those in prison and those in hospital, it does not need to address these problems either.
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« Reply #298 on: December 11, 2009, 12:55:53 AM »

Well, this is what the official Orthodox churches were saying twenty years ago:

from Section III of the report of the Third Pan-Orthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy, 1986

7. The Orthodox member Churches of the WCC, accept its Constitutional Basis, as well as its aims and goals. They firmly believe that the ecclesiological presuppositions of the Toronto Statement (1950) on "The Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches" are of paramount importance for the Orthodox participation in the Council. It is therefore self-understood that the WCC is not and must never become a "super-Church". "The purpose of the WCC is not to negotiate unions between Churches, which can only be done by the Churches themselves, acting on their own initiatives, but to bring the Churches into living contact with each other and to promote the study and discussion of the issues of Church unity" (Toronto Statement, 2).

As you can see, they focus on the part of the statement that appears Orthodox, but neglect to mention the part I quoted above that is clearly not Orthodox.

I invite readers to look at the full statement issued by the Orthodox and you will get a different impression than simply the one quote which Jonathan has culled from it.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/chambesy_1986.aspx

For a balanced understanding, let us look at the paragraph which precedes the one quoted by Jonathan:

6. The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as experienced in the Orthodox Church.
Father, didn't we spend an excrutiating amount of time filling in Mr. Gress' blanks on this topic on another thread?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,22406.msg342964/topicseen.html#msg342964
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« Reply #299 on: December 11, 2009, 01:10:11 AM »

Yes, exactly!  The Coptic Church's Pope had many times taken leading positions in the WCC.  He would be quite irate if he was forced to accept such heretical beliefs.  He and HE Metropolitan Bishoy would not be afraid to proclaim anathema to any theologian who would believe such.

Indeed, we are very strict about baptism.  Only recently have we accepted Eastern Orthodox baptism as valid.

Jonathan, every Orthodox you said that you talked to was not part of the WCC.  Why not ask someone who is to their their view of the story?
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« Reply #300 on: December 11, 2009, 01:20:22 AM »

I don't think any of you realize what hypocrisy is. Did the Pharisees openly preach they were serving Satan? Of course not, they claimed to serve God. But we know as Christians that they served Satan despite their words, because we know them by their deeds. The same goes for the WCC Orthodox. They say they are Orthodox, but their deeds, i.e. their WCC membership, tell us different.
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« Reply #301 on: December 11, 2009, 01:23:39 AM »

I don't think any of you realize what hypocrisy is. Did the Pharisees openly preach they were serving Satan? Of course not, they claimed to serve God. But we know as Christians that they served Satan despite their words, because we know them by their deeds. The same goes for the WCC Orthodox. They say they are Orthodox, but their deeds, i.e. their WCC membership, tell us different.

But mere membership of the WCC doesn't prove anything.  It could very well be that the Toronto agreement is a failure and the Orthodox never accepted it, and thus the WCC back was bent to not force the Orthodox to accept it.

The Coptic Church for instance, is a member, but it has not been afraid to condemn what it knows as heresy, such as things like these.  Do you know how many Coptic bishops, priests, and laity would completely banish our Pope if this was true?  We are a very traditionalist Church, and we take statements like these very seriously.
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« Reply #302 on: December 11, 2009, 01:24:56 AM »

Well, let's imagine a hypothetical situation. Some body called the 'Church' proclaims that it believes it is the Body of Christ, and that only members of the 'Church' are members of the Body of Christ. Let's say this 'Church' joins an organization with other bodies, whose members are not members of the 'Church', and that a condition of membership of this organization is that each member considers each other member to be members of the Body of Christ.
FULL STOP HERE!  Can you prove that the WCC has ever made recognition of the Body of Christ in other member churches a condition for membership?

You see, Jonathan, you have this way of arguing from foundational presuppositions that are themselves quite questionable, yet you will allow no one to question you.  You keep on talking past us because your fundamental assumptions strike us as faulty.
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« Reply #303 on: December 11, 2009, 01:25:22 AM »

Father, didn't we spend an excrutiating amount of time filling in Mr. Gress' blanks on this topic on another thread?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,22406.msg342964/topicseen.html#msg342964

That is a very good statement to balance out Jonathan's view of WCC involvement.
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« Reply #304 on: December 11, 2009, 01:38:39 AM »

Chalcedon debate moved here on the Private Forum:  answer questions
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« Reply #305 on: December 11, 2009, 11:20:00 AM »

PtA, what you quoted was technically hypothetical, so technically you can't accuse me of error. But we'll leave that aside. This is what the WCC says about the relationship between member churches:

"Therefore, no relationship between the Churches can have any substance or promise unless it starts with the common submission of the Churches to the Headship of Jesus Christ in His Church."

The truth about what the WCC believes can be found in their Basis and the Toronto statement. I showed you earlier what the Toronto statement contains, and anyone with a basic knowledge of Orthodox ecclesiology can see that it is not Orthodox. Even our resident Copt could see it was heretical. So the Body of Christ issue is a red herring and we should leave it.

Patrick Barnes notes in his article on ecumenist 'double-speak' how Orthodox ecumenists attempt to deceive us by pointing out the passages from these WCC documents that can appear reconcilable with Orthodoxy when viewed in isolation, but that when you see the whole documents it's clear that they are not Orthodox. These documents are the expressions of the WCC's understanding of itself; they describe the REALITY of what the WCC is, i.e. a heretical organization. The FANTASY that these Orthodox ecumenists want to project is that the WCC is not heretical, so that the Orthodox may be WCC members without compromising their faith, but as you can see, there is a difference between this fantasy and the reality about the WCC. Are you now honestly going to tell me that the way the Orthodox ecumenists present the WCC is the reality, after I showed you what the WCC documents actually say?
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« Reply #306 on: December 11, 2009, 12:11:39 PM »

This might amuse you. Many, many years ago, one of the plus signs for Cathoilcs (and negative for Orthodox) for me was... non-membership in the WCC! Relations with the WCC simply didn't exist in the pre-Vatican II era. Catholics have never been a member of the organization. Membership in the organization implied a belief that one church is as good as any other, and Catholics were "bad ecumenists" for not joining.

It's kind of funny now that the Mosow Patriarchy has flipped on the WCC - I have a quote from the future Patriarch Kyrill where he describes the WCC as the "The World Council of Churches is the cradle of the One church of the future... it is our common home... and we bear a special responsibility for its destiny." (This is off that anti-MP ROCOR). These days they talk less and less with liberal Protestants. This interview with Bishop Hilarion seems to represent the current attitude.

http://incommunion.org/?p=428

Quote
Q: In your opinion, what forms of ecumenism are acceptable, and which are utterly unacceptable in church life?

Intercommunion is unacceptable, the performance of “ecumenical services” together with churches with which we do not have Eucharistic communion is unacceptable, the “branch theory” is unacceptable, unacceptable are any compromises in theological, ecclesiological or moral matters. Unacceptable is theological syncretism, when the foundations of the Christian doctrine are diluted, when the fundamental postulates of the Orthodox faith are questioned.

Allowable, and necessary, are those forms of inter-Christian dialogue which give the Orthodox Church the possibility of freely witnessing the truth in the face of the non-orthodox world. One shouldn’t forget what the “Basic Principles” states: “Witness cannot be a monologue, since it assumes the existence of listeners and therefore of communication. Dialogue implies two sides, a mutual openness to communication, a willingness to understand, not only an “open mouth,” but also a “heart enlarged” (II Cor. 6:11).

There's a common cause with Catholics ("our strategic partners") on the social front because they do not compromise on abortion, same sex marriage etc... unlike the WCC.
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« Reply #307 on: December 11, 2009, 12:26:43 PM »

The problem for Moscow is that they are still in the WCC. Like the other Orthodox ecumenists, they wish to present their fantasy of what the WCC is in place of the reality of what the WCC is. If you want to know the fantasy, read what the MP says about the WCC. If you want the reality, read what the WCC says about itself.
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« Reply #308 on: December 11, 2009, 12:40:47 PM »

PtA, what you quoted was technically hypothetical, so technically you can't accuse me of error. But we'll leave that aside. This is what the WCC says about the relationship between member churches:

"Therefore, no relationship between the Churches can have any substance or promise unless it starts with the common submission of the Churches to the Headship of Jesus Christ in His Church."

The truth about what the WCC believes can be found in their Basis and the Toronto statement. I showed you earlier what the Toronto statement contains, and anyone with a basic knowledge of Orthodox ecclesiology can see that it is not Orthodox. Even our resident Copt could see it was heretical. So the Body of Christ issue is a red herring and we should leave it.

Patrick Barnes notes in his article on ecumenist 'double-speak' how Orthodox ecumenists attempt to deceive us by pointing out the passages from these WCC documents that can appear reconcilable with Orthodoxy when viewed in isolation, but that when you see the whole documents it's clear that they are not Orthodox. These documents are the expressions of the WCC's understanding of itself; they describe the REALITY of what the WCC is, i.e. a heretical organization. The FANTASY that these Orthodox ecumenists want to project is that the WCC is not heretical, so that the Orthodox may be WCC members without compromising their faith, but as you can see, there is a difference between this fantasy and the reality about the WCC. Are you now honestly going to tell me that the way the Orthodox ecumenists present the WCC is the reality, after I showed you what the WCC documents actually say?
It doesn't seem to me that that's what you were originally arguing, though.  Your original argument is that membership in the WCC necessarily means submission to the WCC's founding principles.  Now you're arguing that the WCC's founding principles are heretical, which I neither deny nor confirm.  If you can't prove that we have submitted to the founding principles of the WCC by our mere presence there, what does it matter what those founding principles are?

IOW, why are you changing the direction of the argument?  Can you just not stand still?
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« Reply #309 on: December 11, 2009, 12:48:03 PM »

Well I have just demonstrated that the WCC is a heretical organization per se. Therefore it follows that membership of the WCC is membership of a heretical organization. So the official Orthodox churches in the WCC are members of a heretical organization. How can you possibly maintain that this is not a betrayal of Orthodoxy?

Asking me to explain why membership of the WCC involves accepting its heretical principles is like asking me whether membership of the Orthodox Church involves accepting the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #310 on: December 11, 2009, 02:33:05 PM »

Well I have just demonstrated that the WCC is a heretical organization per se. Therefore it follows that membership of the WCC is membership of a heretical organization. So the official Orthodox churches in the WCC are members of a heretical organization. How can you possibly maintain that this is not a betrayal of Orthodoxy?

Asking me to explain why membership of the WCC involves accepting its heretical principles is like asking me whether membership of the Orthodox Church involves accepting the Orthodox faith.
The Soviet Union was a heretical organization per se, and yet the Russian Church was a institution within it.  The Church of Greece was headed by a communicant of the Vatican, as was the Church of Romania, and the Bulgarian Exarchate.  And then there is the EP: an arm of an infidel state.  You are going to have to do better than simplistic equations.
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« Reply #311 on: December 11, 2009, 02:36:20 PM »

PtA, what you quoted was technically hypothetical, so technically you can't accuse me of error. But we'll leave that aside. This is what the WCC says about the relationship between member churches:

"Therefore, no relationship between the Churches can have any substance or promise unless it starts with the common submission of the Churches to the Headship of Jesus Christ in His Church."

What is unorthodox about that?

Quote
The truth about what the WCC believes can be found in their Basis and the Toronto statement. I showed you earlier what the Toronto statement contains, and anyone with a basic knowledge of Orthodox ecclesiology can see that it is not Orthodox. Even our resident Copt could see it was heretical. So the Body of Christ issue is a red herring and we should leave it.

Patrick Barnes notes in his article on ecumenist 'double-speak' how Orthodox ecumenists attempt to deceive us by pointing out the passages from these WCC documents that can appear reconcilable with Orthodoxy when viewed in isolation, but that when you see the whole documents it's clear that they are not Orthodox. These documents are the expressions of the WCC's understanding of itself; they describe the REALITY of what the WCC is, i.e. a heretical organization. The FANTASY that these Orthodox ecumenists want to project is that the WCC is not heretical, so that the Orthodox may be WCC members without compromising their faith, but as you can see, there is a difference between this fantasy and the reality about the WCC. Are you now honestly going to tell me that the way the Orthodox ecumenists present the WCC is the reality, after I showed you what the WCC documents actually say?
Like this?
Quote
The Orthodox churches and the World Council of Churches
I. Presuppositions of involvement for the Orthodox in the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches
1. For the Orthodox, Eastern and Oriental, the primary purpose of the World Council of Churches is its work for the restoration of unity among Christians. In the Orthodox understanding, this means full ecclesial unity, that is, unity in doctrinal teaching, sacramental life and polity. The Orthodox recognize other important dimensions of ecumenical work and activity. Cooperative ecumenical efforts that contribute toward growing unity, the establishment or restoration of justice and peace, toward coherence in theological expression, toward mission and common witness, toward deepening the churches' self-understanding and toward growth of community in confessing, learning and service are important in themselves and as means for divided Christians to move toward ultimate doctrinal and sacramental union. But for the Orthodox, the ultimate goal and justification of the ecumenical movement in general, and for their participation in the WCC in particular, is the full ecclesial unity of Christians. It is thus an urgent task for the meaning of church unity to be clearly articulated and frequently repeated in the deliberations and work of the WCC, while concurrently striving to clarify appropriate and legitimate aspects of diversity in expressing the apostolic faith in worship and discipline within that ecclesial unity.

2. Toward this purpose, the Orthodox call all Christians and member churches, all WCC programme units and administrative organs to "a re-commitment to the constitutional ‘Basis' of the existence and work of the Council. The Basis Statement of the WCC is: "The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." This fundamental statement highlights the Trinitarian, Incarnational and salvific understanding of Christian faith, worship and life in the response of Christians to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox affirm it and insist on its centrality for the Christian churches gathered in fellowship for the purpose of working toward uniting all Christians. The Basis should be repeatedly displayed and frequently reaffirmed in the undertakings of the WCC so that all involved in its work and activities are constantly reminded of its contents.

3. In particular, the Basis and the Christian teaching historically related to it, should provide the theological underpinning of ecumenical reflection within the WCC and the documents and statements issued in its name. These fundamental Christian truths have come to the Church from God through the scriptures as divine revelation. We refer to the central affirmations of the apostolic faith and the credal statements of the Early Church, such as the Trinitarian understanding of God, the divine-human personhood of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of redemption and salvation in the work of Jesus Christ, creation and calling of humankind as the image and likeness of God, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in Church, etc. These fundamental beliefs of revelation need to be repeatedly referred to as such and respected by the WCC and its participants, and kept at the centre of WCC thinking and activities. Violations of the Basis and the concomitant faith affirmations arising from divine revelation as understood and taught in the historical undivided Church should be corrected or not admitted in the official work of the WCC.

4. The Orthodox Churches participate in the WCC's life and activities only on the understanding that the WCC "Is a council of churches" (koinonia/fellowship/conseil) and not a council of individuals, groups, movements or religious bodies which are involved in the Council's goal, tasks and vision.

5. They consider seriously that their membership and participation in the WCC is based upon an encounter, cooperation and a dialogue of churches. The WCC cannot become a forum for the exchange of individual ideas. We together with other churches seek "... a conciliar fellowship of local churches which are themselves truly united..." and aim "... at maintaining sustained and sustaining relationships with [our] sister churches, expressed in conciliar gatherings wherever required for fulfilment of their common calling" (Nairobi Assembly 1975).

6. Participating thus in a dialogue structure, the Orthodox Churches should be the only responsible agents for their representation. Each member church has the right to decide how to be represented, in accordance with the criteria that apply to a council of churches. These decisions are made on an equal basis with the other member churches in respect to quotas, voting procedures, church polity issues, etc.

7. The Orthodox Churches strongly re-affirm that doctrinal issues in the WCC structures should be considered as an essential element of each church's membership. Such doctrinal or ecclesiological issues cannot be decided through a voting or parliamentary procedure (cf. WCC Constitution and Rules, XV/6,b). For the Orthodox, issues such as ordination of women, eucharistic hospitality, inclusive language with reference to God, are doctrinal.

8. In the past the Orthodox felt obliged to make their own "separate statements" on matters debated in the WCC. In the last decades, growing together in ecumenical fellowship, they abandoned this practice and took part in the production of common statements. The present situation causes some uneasiness among the Orthodox. This has led them to issue some reminders about the basic criteria of their participation. Some suggest a resumption of "separate statements" because the Orthodox point of view is insufficiently reflected. Most feel that separate statements would be unfortunate for the nature of ecumenical work. New ways have to be found to implement the Orthodox view in drafting committees, issue-related consultations and WCC governing bodies.

9. Another source of uneasiness is the fact that membership in the Council of non-Orthodox churches is constantly increasing, thus rendering the Orthodox witness more difficult. The process of receiving new member churches and their representation in the Central Committee and Assemblies of the WCC deserves serious consideration.

10. The WCC describes itself, its ecclesial nature and significance by means of its Basis and with the safeguard of the Toronto Statement of the Central Committee on "The Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches" (1950). There it is clearly affirmed: "The member churches of the WCC consider the relationship of other churches to the Holy Catholic Church which the Creeds profess as a subject for mutual consideration. Nevertheless, membership does not imply that each church must regard the other member churches as churches in the true and full sense of the word."

11. Our understanding of this statement is that the member churches of the WCC, and the Orthodox Churches in particular, respect the sovereignty of each other's ecclesiological teachings. The Council has no ecclesiological position of its own.

12. The Orthodox perceive that the WCC is drifting away from the Toronto Statement through some of its programmes and methodologies. For us the Toronto Statement remains as an essential criterion for our participation and membership in the WCC. Any eventual re-assessment of the Toronto Statement in the light of the experience of the forty years in the ecumenical movement should not undermine or contradict this fundamental criterion.

13. The Orthodox have a common understanding in relation to their participation in the WCC. They follow the recommendations of the Third Preconciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference (1986): "The Orthodox Church ... faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the idea of the ‘equality of confessions' and cannot consider Church unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreements. God alone calls every Christian to the unity of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as experienced in the Orthodox Church." (para. 6)

14. The Orthodox Church believes its own teaching and hierarchical structure to be based on an unbroken Tradition, which has been transmitted from generation to generation since the Apostolic times through the centuries. It participates in bilateral and multilateral dialogues through the WCC and the ecumenical movement. It does this because it is committed to the search for Christian unity. Therefore its presence and active participation is not merely a matter of "courtesy".

15. "The Orthodox Church. which unceasingly prays ‘for the union of all', has taken part in the ecumenical movement since its inception and has contributed to its formation and further development. In fact, the Orthodox Church, due to the ecumenical spirit by which she is distinguished, has, throughout history, fought for the restoration of Christian unity. Therefore, the Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement does not run counter to the nature and history of the Orthodox Church. It constitutes the consistent expression of the apostolic faith within new historical conditions, in order to respond to new existential demands." (Third Preconciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, 1986, para. 3)

16. The Orthodox Churches understand the WCC as churches gathered in faithfulness to the calling of the Holy Spirit that we are all invoking. The WCC in a unique way has become part of the life and experience of our churches.

II. Some problems for the Orthodox in the WCC
17. It is in this spirit that the Orthodox consider the issue of the involvement of the WCC with other religions. Commitment to dialogue among Churches with the goal of the unity of all Christians can and should be extended to dialogue with other religious traditions. The Orthodox have a long and living experience with members of other religions. Respect for the humanity of others and their sincerely held convictions calls for increased efforts at understanding and peaceful relations, and, wherever possible and appropriate, cooperation in areas of mutual concern. But this cannot mean that Christian churches acting through WCC agencies should be compromised in their central Christian commitments. The Orthodox hold that any syncretistic accommodation in WCC activities is inappropriate and contradicts the central affirmations and goals of the ecumenical endeavour. In particular, the recent practice of having representatives of other faith traditions at Assemblies and other expressions of ecumenical endeavour is welcomed, so long as the representatives of other religions are not invited to serve on drafting committees for the preparation of WCC documents. The dialogue with other religions ought not to compromise the identity of the WCC as a council of Christian churches, as it serves to broaden the understanding of the member churches regarding the variety of religious and non-religious stances in the world today and in promoting dialogue between Christians and members of other religions.

18. The Orthodox welcome the efforts of the WCC to address the question of the relationship of the churches to the world and are grateful for the many opportunities given us to explore that relationship in programmes such as "Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation". However, the theme of the Seventh Assembly, "Come, Holy Spirit - Renew the Whole Creation", as it was developed in some expressions, provokes us to express convictions about the topic. The Orthodox understand the Kingdom of God as God's ruling power over the whole world. The saving work of Jesus Christ has broken the power of evil and the demonic in the world, and the work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest God's Kingdom and lordship as an active reality transforming and transfiguring the world to the full service of God and His purposes. Thus, the whole creation is sustained and renewed by the Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit dwells uniquely and in fullness in the life of the Church enabling the fullness of communion between God and humanity together with the rest of creation. The Orthodox hold that extreme emphasis on either of these poles is a distortion of the Christian faith and would call upon the WCC to cultivate an awareness in its deliberations of the Holy Spirit's action both within the Church and in the whole of creation. Further, acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit's leading of the churches to new and fresh understandings and experiences ought not to be presented as invalidating or contradicting the guidance of the Holy Spirit given to the Church in the past as embodied in the Church's Tradition. God's Kingdom is a reality already present, but which must also be progressively fulfilled and revealed. We urge the WCC through its agencies not to allow itself to succumb to extremist tendencies in either direction when it considers the relationship of the churches to the world.

19. The Orthodox Tradition is full of examples of involvement in activities of a social character and in an active defense of the dignity of the human person. This is recalled in the "Decisions of the Third Preconciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference" where it is stated that "The Orthodox Church appreciates this multidimensional activity of the WCC and fully cooperates in [these] fields, within the limits of her possibilities" (para. 9). However, on several occasions, the Orthodox have had to react against a tendency within the WCC towards a one-sided "horizontalism" which tends to disconnect social, political, environmental problems from our commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such one-sided horizontalism suggests an acceptance of an autonomy of secular life. The Orthodox believe that no aspect of life is autonomous or disconnected from the Christians' confession of the Incarnation and its consequence: the gift of the divine life in the image of the Holy Trinity. It is because we believe in the Incarnation and the Trinity that we are committed to problems of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

20. The Orthodox must once again reiterate their position on the meaning of the eucharistic communion as it regards the nature of the Church and the ecumenical endeavour. The Eucharist is the supreme expression of the unity of the Church and not a means towards Christian unity. Shared belief, shared ecclesial order, shared ecclesial identity are manifested and expressed in their fullness through the Eucharist. Given this understanding of the Eucharist there is only Eucharistic Communion, and there cannot be something called "Inter-communion" since that term together with the practice it designates is a contradiction. To share in the common cup while still maintaining fundamental differences in faith, order and ministry does not make sense to the Orthodox, because it violates a major element of the meaning and significance of the Eucharist. We genuinely suffer about the fact that sharing the chalice is not yet possible in our ecumenical striving and regret misunderstandings on this matter which may have occurred during our ecumenical pilgrimage in the WCC. Thus, in our presently still divided condition, the Orthodox may not in conscience extend or respond to invitations involving "eucharistic hospitality". We look forward to the day when our shared faith, order and fellowship will require and permit sharing the common cup as the highest manifestation of our unity.

III. Towards an improved Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement
21. The Orthodox Church as a koinonia of local churches transmits the teaching of the Church to the people of God (pleroma) on the local and regional levels. Its contribution to the ecumenical vision can only be articulated and fulfilled when it is involved on the "ground" level sharing and exchanging relationships with other Christian churches and movements in a common action, witness, concerns, etc.

22. The Orthodox think that their participation in the ecumenical movement would be greatly improved if more attention were devoted to a preparation of clergy and lay men and women in ecumenical issues. Living as we do in pluralistic societies, all aspects of our Christian life have an ecumenical dimension which requires training and education at all levels. Ecumenical participation would also be helped if the Orthodox learned to know more about one another to make inter-Orthodox collaboration more fruitful.

23. In the last decades, there has been a new interest in the Orthodox faith on the part of many. It is the duty of the Orthodox to respond to this by taking very seriously their responsibility to witness to Orthodoxy in its purity. This implies a permanent distinction between the fundamental and the secondary, a continuous effort to live in accordance with the doctrines confessed in the concrete aspects of daily life. In other words, an improved Orthodox participation in the ecumenical search for the unity of Christians so that our witness to the world may be credible implies a continuous conversion of the Orthodox to a permanently purified Orthodoxy.

24. The process of a continuous deepening of their own Orthodoxy should lead the Orthodox not simply to respond to the questioning of an ever renewed historical context but to take initiatives themselves in many areas of modem life. This would certainly contribute to improve Orthodox involvement in the WCC and prevent some of the misunderstandings that the Orthodox so often deplore.

25. It is our belief that the Orthodox have much to contribute in the ecumenical movement. It is therefore highly desirable that they develop more and more a witnessing, missionary mentality.

26. This is all the more necessary in a context where proselytism in various forms is rife. Many Orthodox churches, due to persecution, have been weakened and their weakness is a prey to these various form of proselytism. The latter should be denounced with utmost vigour. In particular, the Orthodox should call their partners in ecumenical dialogue to denounce themselves the unfair action of some of their own "missionaries", thus avoiding a flagrant contradiction between official language among "sister churches" called to a "common witness" and actual practice which amounts to "unchurching" the Orthodox Christians.

27. However, apart from the indispensable protests, the most potent answer to these deplorable situations is a recovery of a purified, well-informed, responsible Orthodoxy on the part of the Orthodox concerned. In carrying out this work, they need the help of all, in particular the assurance of their partners in the WCC.

"May we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be sustained to renew the commitment of all Christians towards the visible unity."
I will repeat: I just find it very odd that someone who believes that the WCC bodies are not churches in any sense of the word and devoid of grace, and yet believes that are powerful enough with enough authority, so he believes, to dictate terms to the Orthodox Churches in the WCC, when they make it quite clear, in BLACK AND WHITE, that like Hebrew National, they answer to a higher authority.
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« Reply #312 on: December 11, 2009, 02:38:19 PM »

 
Quote
The Church of Greece was headed by a communicant of the Vatican, as was the Church of Romania, and the Bulgarian Exarchate
.
And who were these exactly, may I ask?
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« Reply #313 on: December 11, 2009, 02:45:07 PM »

Quote
The Church of Greece was headed by a communicant of the Vatican, as was the Church of Romania, and the Bulgarian Exarchate
.
And who were these exactly, may I ask?
King Otto, King Carol I and Ferdinand I, Prince Alexander I and Czar Ferdinand I.
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« Reply #314 on: December 11, 2009, 02:46:25 PM »

The problem for Moscow is that they are still in the WCC. Like the other Orthodox ecumenists, they wish to present their fantasy of what the WCC is in place of the reality of what the WCC is. If you want to know the fantasy, read what the MP says about the WCC. If you want the reality, read what the WCC says about itself.
And you, of course, are an authentic interpreter of what either says.
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