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Author Topic: Is It OK For Orthodox to Attend Protestant Churches?  (Read 18103 times) Average Rating: 0
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« on: May 21, 2009, 04:07:54 PM »

Why would you want to?
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 04:10:30 PM »

Who exactly are we classifying as "Protestant"?
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 04:11:37 PM »

Those who are not Orthodox.
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 04:19:06 PM »

Why would you want to?
Was this intended for another thread?  I'm just curious about what appears to have been a technical glitch.
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 04:33:23 PM »

PoorFoolNicholas,

Did you intend this as a general question to all the Orthodox at OCnet?  If that is the case, it may be better moved over to the Faith Issues Section.  If, however, you intended to answer Gebre Menfes Kidus in the thread he just started in this section about that issue, I'll have to merge this with that thread.  Please let me know, so I know what to do with this.  Thanks.
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 04:36:20 PM »

Why would you want to?
Was this intended for another thread?  I'm just curious about what appears to have been a technical glitch.
The technical glitch being that the board index shows this thread as started by Gebre Menfes Kidus even though the OP appears to have been posted by PoorFoolNicholas.
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 04:50:16 PM »

Well that's just weird.  How does that happen?  Should I just merge the two threads?
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 05:30:32 PM »

Since this seems like it would be an interesting question for the general population of OCnet to ponder, and since there is already a current thread on the issue in the OO Section, I'm moving it from the OO Section to Faith Issues.

Salpy
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 07:36:35 PM »



Is It OK For Orthodox to Attend Protestant Churches?

No.

Pray for me.

James+
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 08:18:40 PM »


Those who are not Orthodox.

So then the "Roman Catholics" are being understood part of the group "Protestants"?
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2009, 12:41:21 AM »

How did this happen?   Shocked
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2009, 01:23:30 AM »


Those who are not Orthodox.

So then the "Roman Catholics" are being understood part of the group "Protestants"?

They are two sides of the same coin.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2009, 01:27:00 AM »

They are two sides of the same coin.

Are the Nestorians 'Protestants'?  Third-side to the same coin?
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2009, 01:29:27 AM »

They are two sides of the same coin.

Are the Nestorians 'Protestants'?  Third-side to the same coin?

Considering we have Assyrian bishops agreeing that their fundamental doctrine is no different then that of the RC Church.....
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2009, 04:30:11 AM »

NO ,They have another spirit . I was once on a pentecostal evanghelist "church" here because someone insisted as soon as I got there i noticed they have another spirit , and i didn`t pray or do anything with them . As for protestant pentecostals evanghelist , they have another spirit . For others i can`t speak cause i was not in their Churches , but i think that the condition is the same .
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2009, 09:20:03 AM »

I think it's OK, given certain circumstances.  If I were traveling, for instance, and there was no Orthodox parish within a reasonable distance I'd perhaps rather go to a Protestant service than none at all (at least mainstream Protestant, I'm not going anywhere near snake handlers, charismatics, or the like).  I certainly wouldn't even think about participating in their communion, however.  Now if we're talking about regular attendance, then probably not. 
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2009, 10:01:16 AM »

The technical glitch being that the board index shows this thread as started by Gebre Menfes Kidus even though the OP appears to have been posted by PoorFoolNicholas.
You are correct. I have no idea how I became the OP of this thread, because I certainly didn't start it. Weird. Whatever, it seems to have sorted itself out, thanks to the lovely moderators! Wink Kiss
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2009, 07:01:38 AM »

It really depends on the meaning of "attend." If you mean a one-time visit, say when staying with relatives, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you do not pray with them or take their communion. This really isn't all that difficult, as most Protestant services don't include much prayer anyway, and hardly any serve communion regularly (and I was a Protestant for about twenty years, in four different denominations).

If, however, you mean a long-term attendance as becoming part of that church, then generally this is disallowed. However, even to this there are exceptions. There is a woman in our parish who came to Springfield before our parish had been established. She had made an arrangement with the Bishop of Wichita to attend an Anglican church until the time when an Orthodox parish would be established in Springfield, as long as she did not receive their communion.

So the short answer is no, Orthodox should not attend Protestant churches, except in rare occasions such as the ones I mentioned above. With the spread of Orthodoxy, I hope to see those exceptions disappear altogether.
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2009, 08:59:40 AM »

It really depends on the meaning of "attend." If you mean a one-time visit, say when staying with relatives, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you do not pray with them or take their communion. This really isn't all that difficult, as most Protestant services don't include much prayer anyway, and hardly any serve communion regularly (and I was a Protestant for about twenty years, in four different denominations).

If, however, you mean a long-term attendance as becoming part of that church, then generally this is disallowed. However, even to this there are exceptions. There is a woman in our parish who came to Springfield before our parish had been established. She had made an arrangement with the Bishop of Wichita to attend an Anglican church until the time when an Orthodox parish would be established in Springfield, as long as she did not receive their communion.

As has been mentioned before on this forum, "Protestant" is a fairly broad and vague term. Many Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians, Lutherans and United Methodists have Communion every Sunday.

IIRC many Orthodox Christians in the US and Canada have at different times been told to attend Lutheran and Episcopal churches in the absence of an Orthodox parish.
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2009, 03:12:58 AM »

Did not King David say,
I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers
?
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2009, 04:54:48 AM »

Lately I've been attending a protestant church on Saturday night and DL on Sunday. I mostly go for the music, and I don't partake of the communion. (I'm not sure they even do it once a month anways)
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2009, 09:00:36 AM »

The only way I step foot in a church other than Orthodox is when I am visiting my mother...even then, if I can, I'll attend a local Orthodox church.  Also, if I'm invited to a wedding or funeral.  Each time I have, I felt like a fish out of water.
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2009, 10:11:14 AM »

If you pray and make worship with them , than you partake to their communion and to their idolatry, in another spirit.The Communion is not only that of the bread and wine , but also of the worship.Cause the worship sanctifies the gifts.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2009, 01:03:54 PM »

Also, if I'm invited to a wedding or funeral.  Each time I have, I felt like a fish out of water.
Yes. Same here. The last time I went to a Roman Catholic Church for a funeral, (it had been quite some time), it felt strangely protestant to me.  Shocked

I have baptist relatives, but I try not to go there if I can help it.
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2009, 02:06:46 PM »

Having come from the Catholic church, I went to the funeral of my landlord and it was done by a lay deacon...that was weird for me.
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« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2009, 02:34:15 PM »

Having come from the Catholic church, I went to the funeral of my landlord and it was done by a lay deacon...that was weird for me.

Wow! I've never heard of that!  Sad
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« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2009, 03:27:08 PM »

What do you mean "attend"? Sitting in front of a heretic ritual is bad? I don't know.
But receiving Holy Communion or participating in other rituals of non-Orthodox Churches is bad.
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« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2009, 07:12:14 PM »

These people at the church I am referring to are praising and worshipping Jesus. I guess I just don't see how taking part in such an activity can be interpreted as "bad", so long as it isn't substituted in place of proper Orthodox worship  Undecided
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« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2009, 07:22:22 PM »

It really depends on the meaning of "attend." If you mean a one-time visit, say when staying with relatives, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you do not pray with them or take their communion. 

I understand the not taking the communion part but why is it wrong for an orthodox Christian to pray with a non-orthodox Christian?
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« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2009, 09:29:14 PM »

It really depends on the meaning of "attend." If you mean a one-time visit, say when staying with relatives, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you do not pray with them or take their communion. 

I understand the not taking the communion part but why is it wrong for an orthodox Christian to pray with a non-orthodox Christian?
Because we see the Orthodox Church as the ONE--there can be no other--holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and all other Christian bodies outside the Church as built on the foundation of heresy and schism.  With some exceptions of which we have spoken quite recently on another thread, for Orthodox Christians to pray with the non-Orthodox is to affirm that the non-Orthodox are somehow part of the Church and that what their non-Orthodox sects teach are not really heresies.  This is why the tradition that gave us the Apostolic Canons (see HERE) thought it so important to draft so many canons forbidding prayers with the heterodox.
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« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2009, 10:18:52 PM »

I have been wanting to visit a traditional Lutheran church in order to understand their liturgical practices, with no intention of praying with them.  Is there something wrong with this?
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« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2009, 10:23:17 PM »

I have been wanting to visit a traditional Lutheran church in order to understand their liturgical practices, with no intention of praying with them.  Is there something wrong with this?
What benefit do you hope to obtain by understanding traditional Lutheran liturgical practices?
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« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2009, 10:24:36 PM »

What benefit do you hope to obtain by understanding traditional Lutheran liturgical practices?

Well, I would consider the understanding itself to be the benefit.
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« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2009, 10:30:28 PM »

What benefit do you hope to obtain by understanding traditional Lutheran liturgical practices?

Well, I would consider the understanding itself to be the benefit.
Why?
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« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2009, 02:52:24 AM »


In these days
more than ever before
should anyone with right Faith and correct Practice
willingly cross the threshold of heresy
then at that very moment
they make themselves worthy of all contempt.

Forgive, brother John
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« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2009, 05:31:49 AM »

It really depends on the meaning of "attend." If you mean a one-time visit, say when staying with relatives, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you do not pray with them or take their communion. 

I understand the not taking the communion part but why is it wrong for an orthodox Christian to pray with a non-orthodox Christian?
Because we see the Orthodox Church as the ONE--there can be no other--holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and all other Christian bodies outside the Church as built on the foundation of heresy and schism.  With some exceptions of which we have spoken quite recently on another thread, for Orthodox Christians to pray with the non-Orthodox is to affirm that the non-Orthodox are somehow part of the Church and that what their non-Orthodox sects teach are not really heresies.  This is why the tradition that gave us the Apostolic Canons (see HERE) thought it so important to draft so many canons forbidding prayers with the heterodox.

...so if I convert to Orthodoxy and my wife remains a protestant, then I can never Pray with her....? That doesn't seem right. please explain.
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« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2009, 10:26:27 AM »

Mister Jim Dude: this is from another Jim who was formerly a member in a holiness church not unlike your own. My wife chose to remain in the Free Methodist Church. I would love to pray with her, but she refuses to pray with me - scared that I'm going to just say some rote things, or start invoking the saints, or some such nonsense (i.e. nonsense from HER point of view Smiley) There are certainly some other issues in her spiritual life that I do not see as healthy, influences that made it easy for me to leave that denomination. As an aside, let me say I maintain a high degree of respect and affection for all of my friends in my former congregation and denomination, most of whom have remained friends - after all, that was where I was first introduced to Christ and to love Him with my entire being - my move to Orthodoxy is completely consistent with that thought. Now, on some occasions I do attend services with her. I try to simply appreciate the services for their face value: Christian musical entertainment, and a usually well presented motivational talk that is pretty generic. During the rare moments of prayer in those services, I simply silently pray as I have been taught in the Orthodox Church. I do not participate in their Communion, though my behaviour remains respectful of their actions. All of this is in keeping with my priest's knowledge, understanding, and counsel.

In the last few days our lectionary readings for the Epistle have been taken from I Corinthians where St. Paul gives his instructions concerning mixed marriages. It has given me an opportunity to evaluate my role as husband and spiritual leader, but those details fall out of the scope of a public forum.

As a husband you have a responsibility to your wife (and I to mine!) whether she is Orthodox or not. How she responds to your leadership rests between her and God. You most certainly can and should pray with your wife and children. If they won't pray with you, then you just pray FOR them twice as much!
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« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2009, 10:41:07 AM »

thanks Jim for your thoughtful answer...I am willing and ready to accept the Orthodox church as the fullness of God's expression but I wonder why it would be even considered a bad thing to pray with another christian.  After all, you admit that it was in the protestant church that you began your journey to Christ so it would seem wrong to assume that the "others" are not worthy of praying with.  Surely, God is at work in these Protestant churches, drawing men to Himself. Would it be wrong to acknowledge that? I believe you can remain totally orthodox and still pray with non-orthodox Christians. To do otherwise is, I believe, spiritual arrogance.
Jim
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« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2009, 11:55:10 AM »

Well, Jim, did you notice the difference between my wife's prayers and mine? Even if others don't express it as she did, do you know what might be going through their minds? Also, consider the big difference in the ways words are used: "salvation" is an easy example. I have had non-Orthodox friends upset when I told them (perhaps unwisely, but it did give me a chance to explain more of my faith) that I was praying that God would have mercy and save them. "What's the matter?? -- are you saying I'm not saved!?!" I agree that we may both be seeking the same result. But we are using two different languages that are unfortunately similar enough that we may not recognize that they are indeed different. Misunderstandings can easily arise. We can create offence and be offended unintentionally. This is not helpful.
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« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2009, 01:33:42 PM »

that is true. I find, even now as I stay a member of my protestant church, I still start expressing myself in an orthodox manner and I actually have to censor what I say inorder not to be misunderstood!
I think it is ok that you said you were praying for your friend's salvation because, as you said, it gave you a chance to explain the orthodox position. You could, at the same time, explain how you are praying for your own!
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2009, 03:27:31 PM »

It really depends on the meaning of "attend." If you mean a one-time visit, say when staying with relatives, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you do not pray with them or take their communion. 

I understand the not taking the communion part but why is it wrong for an orthodox Christian to pray with a non-orthodox Christian?
Because we see the Orthodox Church as the ONE--there can be no other--holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and all other Christian bodies outside the Church as built on the foundation of heresy and schism.  With some exceptions of which we have spoken quite recently on another thread, for Orthodox Christians to pray with the non-Orthodox is to affirm that the non-Orthodox are somehow part of the Church and that what their non-Orthodox sects teach are not really heresies.  This is why the tradition that gave us the Apostolic Canons (see HERE) thought it so important to draft so many canons forbidding prayers with the heterodox.

...so if I convert to Orthodoxy and my wife remains a protestant, then I can never Pray with her....? That doesn't seem right. please explain.

I anticipated that question would arise, which is why I included this very important clause in the post you just quoted of me.

With some exceptions of which we have spoken quite recently on another thread, ...

That other thread is HERE.  Rather than rehash the same material on two parallel threads, I'll just ask that follow the link and read what's there.
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2009, 03:37:24 PM »

thanks Jim for your thoughtful answer...I am willing and ready to accept the Orthodox church as the fullness of God's expression but I wonder why it would be even considered a bad thing to pray with another christian.  After all, you admit that it was in the protestant church that you began your journey to Christ so it would seem wrong to assume that the "others" are not worthy of praying with.  Surely, God is at work in these Protestant churches, drawing men to Himself. Would it be wrong to acknowledge that? I believe you can remain totally orthodox and still pray with non-orthodox Christians. To do otherwise is, I believe, spiritual arrogance.
Jim

Hi Jim!

I understand your position, as my mother and her sisters are Protestant, and it can create an awkward situation to say "Sorry, I can't pray with you." The reason for this is that while both the Protestant and Orthodox Christian are eager to serve Christ, it is only in Orthodoxy that our theology is 100% and part of the True Faith.

There is a Latin expression, lex orandi, lex credendi, that essentially means "we pray what we believe." A Protestant is going to say prayers that are consistant with Protestant theology. This may or may not be consistant with Orthodox theology. Therefore, by praying with those who are not Orthodox we are putting ourselves at risk for praying something that we don't believe.

In my case, my mother's sister goes to a Charismatic church that believes in praying for the "gift of tongues." Their interpretation of the gift of tongues is very different than the Orthodox understanding of the gift, and frankly I believe they are unwittingly inviting the devil to cause mischief at their services. To pray along with my aunt would go completely against Orthodox teaching.

So what do I do?

Well at family dinners where grace is said, I usually volunteer to give the blessing. I'll say a binine prayer such as "Bless us O Lord for these gifts for which we are about to receive through Christ our bounty, Amen." While I will cross myself before and after the prayer, I don't expect anyone else to do so. By volunteering to lead the prayer, I can choose a prayer that is not in violation of my beliefs or their beliefs. (After all, it's not like every Orthodox prayer is laced with a mention of the Theotokos and the Saints. Wink )

In the event that I have to attend a church service with them (i.e., wedding or funeral) I respectfully watch but do not participate. When they bow their heads to pray, I bow mine and silently pray an Orthodox prayer.

I hope this clarifies things for you.

In XC,

Maureen
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« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2009, 03:46:28 PM »

thanks Jim for your thoughtful answer...I am willing and ready to accept the Orthodox church as the fullness of God's expression but I wonder why it would be even considered a bad thing to pray with another christian.  After all, you admit that it was in the protestant church that you began your journey to Christ so it would seem wrong to assume that the "others" are not worthy of praying with.  Surely, God is at work in these Protestant churches, drawing men to Himself. Would it be wrong to acknowledge that? I believe you can remain totally orthodox and still pray with non-orthodox Christians. To do otherwise is, I believe, spiritual arrogance.
Jim
But Jesus Christ established only one Church and one means of salvation.  He and the Holy Spirit may indeed not be bound to the Church He established and may work as they please to bring about the salvation of all, but there is still only one Church against whom the powers of death (e.g., heresy) have not prevailed.  It is our duty to obey Christ and be members of this Church, though most of us haven't been made aware of this and cannot be held guilty of disobedience for not joining.

That said, I will just repeat that our canonical prohibitions against praying with the non-Orthodox, with the exceptions spoken of elsewhere, are based on a desire among the Orthodox to protect themselves against heresy and to bring others to the truth of Orthodoxy by enlightening them to the heresies they follow out of ignorance.  Praying with the non-Orthodox has been found counterproductive in the light of this goal because such prayer merely affirms that there's essentially nothing deficient in the faith of the heterodox Christian with whom we're praying.
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« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2009, 04:33:56 AM »

thanks Jim for your thoughtful answer...I am willing and ready to accept the Orthodox church as the fullness of God's expression but I wonder why it would be even considered a bad thing to pray with another christian.  After all, you admit that it was in the protestant church that you began your journey to Christ so it would seem wrong to assume that the "others" are not worthy of praying with.  Surely, God is at work in these Protestant churches, drawing men to Himself. Would it be wrong to acknowledge that? I believe you can remain totally orthodox and still pray with non-orthodox Christians. To do otherwise is, I believe, spiritual arrogance.
Jim

Hi Jim!

I understand your position, as my mother and her sisters are Protestant, and it can create an awkward situation to say "Sorry, I can't pray with you." The reason for this is that while both the Protestant and Orthodox Christian are eager to serve Christ, it is only in Orthodoxy that our theology is 100% and part of the True Faith.

There is a Latin expression, lex orandi, lex credendi, that essentially means "we pray what we believe." A Protestant is going to say prayers that are consistant with Protestant theology. This may or may not be consistant with Orthodox theology. Therefore, by praying with those who are not Orthodox we are putting ourselves at risk for praying something that we don't believe.

In my case, my mother's sister goes to a Charismatic church that believes in praying for the "gift of tongues." Their interpretation of the gift of tongues is very different than the Orthodox understanding of the gift, and frankly I believe they are unwittingly inviting the devil to cause mischief at their services. To pray along with my aunt would go completely against Orthodox teaching.

So what do I do?

Well at family dinners where grace is said, I usually volunteer to give the blessing. I'll say a binine prayer such as "Bless us O Lord for these gifts for which we are about to receive through Christ our bounty, Amen." While I will cross myself before and after the prayer, I don't expect anyone else to do so. By volunteering to lead the prayer, I can choose a prayer that is not in violation of my beliefs or their beliefs. (After all, it's not like every Orthodox prayer is laced with a mention of the Theotokos and the Saints. Wink )

In the event that I have to attend a church service with them (i.e., wedding or funeral) I respectfully watch but do not participate. When they bow their heads to pray, I bow mine and silently pray an Orthodox prayer.

I hope this clarifies things for you.

In XC,

Maureen

thank you, Maureen for your detailed answer...I think a distinction should be made between praying with those who clearly are NOT Christians (Mormons, wiccans, ect) and those who profess faith in a Trinitarian God. If you are with a non-Orthodox Xian and they pray something that, you believe is wrong, simply do not say "AMEN" at the end of the prayer. You cannot be responsible for what others say or pray.  I guess you fear that, by being at a protestant church or praying with a protestant, that it will be "guilt by association". Well, what do you care what others think? I am sure, if pressed,  you would not fail to give an orthodox answer to any question of faith they ask you? When the apostle Paul (May he pray for us!) gave advice to the Corinthian church about eating with the pagans, he said to raise no question of conscience. Granted, a worship service is different but could not someone say to the Corinthian Xian, "You are a pagan because you eat meat sacrificed to idols?"  If you are worried about what others think of you and your faith, I don't think you have to be. Just by going to a protestant worship service, people know they have visitors all the time.

thanks again,
Jim
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« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2009, 12:15:42 PM »

I have been wanting to visit a traditional Lutheran church in order to understand their liturgical practices, with no intention of praying with them.  Is there something wrong with this?
What benefit do you hope to obtain by understanding traditional Lutheran liturgical practices?
I'd like to do that too maybe, just out of curiosity.
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« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2009, 04:05:46 PM »

Did not King David say,
I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers
?

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In your mind any Christians who are not EO are "vain persons" and "dissemblers"Huh
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« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2009, 05:03:30 PM »

In situations where one has a significant other (or even friend) that attends a protestant church, your chances are slim to none of getting her/him to come to your Orthodox Church if you are not willing to attend theirs. (At least that's my experience)
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« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2009, 05:34:16 PM »

It's best to receive a blessing from one's priest to attend a Protestant service. As for praying with them, I find no problem providing heretical statements are introduced into the prayer. It seems to me that some of these prohibitions need to be understood in their historical context.

I can say that I know of an OCA priest in the city of Portland who on occasion has attended a Protestant service (more than once I understand). Whether he "prays" along with them during their time of prayer or not, he alone knows. In fact, when I asked him if there were a problem with my wife and I attending attending some Protestant services due to the fact that we could not always be present at his church, he had no issues with it.
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« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2009, 09:17:35 PM »

thanks Jim for your thoughtful answer...I am willing and ready to accept the Orthodox church as the fullness of God's expression but I wonder why it would be even considered a bad thing to pray with another christian.  After all, you admit that it was in the protestant church that you began your journey to Christ so it would seem wrong to assume that the "others" are not worthy of praying with.  Surely, God is at work in these Protestant churches, drawing men to Himself. Would it be wrong to acknowledge that? I believe you can remain totally orthodox and still pray with non-orthodox Christians. To do otherwise is, I believe, spiritual arrogance.
Jim

Maybe the important difference lies in where and how we pray with heterodox Christians. The reason that this is an issue is because we want to protect ourselves from heterodox influences. If we enter their Churches and pray according to their customs, then we make ourselves susceptible to erroneous doctrines. But if we pray with them outside of a Church context and initiate the prayers so that they are sure to be Orthodox in nature, then I would think this to be a positive thing. I coach youth football, and our team always says the Lord's Prayer after practice and after our games. I think we can always unite with Protestants and Catholics around the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed.

Selam
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« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2009, 09:25:07 PM »

thank you, Maureen for your detailed answer...I think a distinction should be made between praying with those who clearly are NOT Christians (Mormons, wiccans, ect) and those who profess faith in a Trinitarian God. If you are with a non-Orthodox Xian and they pray something that, you believe is wrong, simply do not say "AMEN" at the end of the prayer. You cannot be responsible for what others say or pray.  I guess you fear that, by being at a protestant church or praying with a protestant, that it will be "guilt by association". Well, what do you care what others think? I am sure, if pressed,  you would not fail to give an orthodox answer to any question of faith they ask you? When the apostle Paul (May he pray for us!) gave advice to the Corinthian church about eating with the pagans, he said to raise no question of conscience. Granted, a worship service is different but could not someone say to the Corinthian Xian, "You are a pagan because you eat meat sacrificed to idols?"  If you are worried about what others think of you and your faith, I don't think you have to be. Just by going to a protestant worship service, people know they have visitors all the time.

thanks again,
Jim

Hi Jim,

I'm not worried about "guilt by association"; I'm worried about the spread of heresy. The fact that we cannot control what someone says or prays is why we are expressly forbidden from praying with heretics. (Yes, even Protestants who believe in the Trinity are heretics in the eyes of the Orthodox Church.) I think as you study Orthodoxy and begin to see how different our theology is from Protestant theology, you will begin to understand why the Orthodox Church is against praying with non-Orthodox.

God bless,

Maureen
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« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2009, 04:26:14 AM »

thanks Jim for your thoughtful answer...I am willing and ready to accept the Orthodox church as the fullness of God's expression but I wonder why it would be even considered a bad thing to pray with another christian.  After all, you admit that it was in the protestant church that you began your journey to Christ so it would seem wrong to assume that the "others" are not worthy of praying with.  Surely, God is at work in these Protestant churches, drawing men to Himself. Would it be wrong to acknowledge that? I believe you can remain totally orthodox and still pray with non-orthodox Christians. To do otherwise is, I believe, spiritual arrogance.
Jim

Maybe the important difference lies in where and how we pray with heterodox Christians. The reason that this is an issue is because we want to protect ourselves from heterodox influences. If we enter their Churches and pray according to their customs, then we make ourselves susceptible to erroneous doctrines. But if we pray with them outside of a Church context and initiate the prayers so that they are sure to be Orthodox in nature, then I would think this to be a positive thing. I coach youth football, and our team always says the Lord's Prayer after practice and after our games. I think we can always unite with Protestants and Catholics around the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed.

Selam

Excellent! Now I understand...It isn't that orthodox are "too good" to pray with protestants...it is just so we can protect ourselves from their erroneous doctrine. I understand this but shouldn't this be done on "a case by case" basis? That is, there are going to be orthodox who may be married to protestants and, for the sake of the marriage, protestant church may have to be attended on a consistant basis, as long as the divine liturgy isn't neglected, that is. I imagine such decisions should be made in concert with a priest.
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« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2009, 04:45:24 AM »

I prefer the protestant churches say over catholic anyday...I sometimes just want to hear preaching from scripture,even if its just on one verse for 30 min or less.....i just like it....

My Brother Joined a Baptist Motor cycle club as a orthodox he never learned anything ,maybe as a member of this baptist motor cycle club he will learn something about faith....
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« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2009, 05:32:24 AM »

I prefer the protestant churches say over catholic anyday...

Surprise, surprise.
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« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2009, 06:39:21 AM »

I prefer the protestant churches say over catholic anyday...

Surprise, surprise.

The Serbian Church certainly teaches its faithful not to attend Catholic Churches.  Stashko is being faithful and obedient to his bishops.

One remembers also that the Lebanese bishop Saint Raphael Hawaweeny (sp?) directed his people in the States not to Catholic churches but when necessary to go to the Anglicans.  Eventually he withdraw this permission also and instructed them not to go to any heterodox churches at all.  His historical epistle on this topic will be on the Web somewhere.
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« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2009, 05:51:56 PM »

I only go to non-Orthodox religious gatherings in the case of a wedding or a funeral.  If at all possible,  I skip the actual service and just show up for the reception afterwards. 
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« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2009, 06:21:25 PM »

As for praying with them, I find no problem providing heretical statements are introduced into the prayer.
Still, they will be praying to different Gods. The OC will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ just because He loved us, while the Protestant will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ in order to calm down His anger.
How does not theology affect our views about God?
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« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2009, 06:29:20 PM »

As for praying with them, I find no problem providing heretical statements are introduced into the prayer.
Still, they will be praying to different Gods. The OC will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ just because He loved us, while the Protestant will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ in order to calm down His anger.
How does not theology affect our views about God?

You are absolutely correct that our theology affects our view of God. But I think you are being a bit unfair in your characterization of Protestants here. While the Protestant will indeed say that Christ's atonement was needed to punish sin and satisfy the wrath of God, I think they would also strongly say that this was all done because of God's great love for us.

Selam 
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« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2009, 07:06:45 PM »

Excellent! Now I understand...It isn't that orthodox are "too good" to pray with protestants...it is just so we can protect ourselves from their erroneous doctrine. I understand this but shouldn't this be done on "a case by case" basis? That is, there are going to be orthodox who may be married to protestants and, for the sake of the marriage, protestant church may have to be attended on a consistant basis, as long as the divine liturgy isn't neglected, that is. I imagine such decisions should be made in concert with a priest.

Bingo! You got it! Someone give this man a cigar! lol  Cheesy

The particular example you cited would best be discussed between the couple and the Orthodox spouse's priest.
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« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2009, 03:04:19 AM »

I was raised Nazarene, spent years in various fundamentalist/evangelical Protestant churches, and am married to a Lutheran.  Every once in a great while I attend services with the hubby or with my parents.  I don't take communion, of course.  One couple in my church is mixed: Orthodox and Protestant, though I don't remember what denomination; I think it's a non-denominational Bible church.  They attend both churches together.

I used to attend an Evangelical Free church, and helped out in the youth group.  The youth group leader has since gone on to head a kind of fellowship group for young adults.  I miss being with my old friends, but I know they're going to sing praise choruses and teach a Calvinist form of Evangelicalism, so I don't go to their meetings.  Now I find that these meetings, which were basically inter-denominational, are turning into a kind of church.  So I continue to stay away.

While I enjoy having the chance to go to church with my family once in a while, instead of always being by myself, the songs and theology often bug me so much that I don't sing along, don't do the congregational responses.  If it's an old favorite, however, then I'll join in.
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« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2009, 04:46:54 AM »

I prefer the protestant churches say over catholic anyday...

Surprise, surprise.

The Serbian Church certainly teaches its faithful not to attend Catholic Churches.  Stashko is being faithful and obedient to his bishops.

One remembers also that the Lebanese bishop Saint Raphael Hawaweeny (sp?) directed his people in the States not to Catholic churches but when necessary to go to the Anglicans.  Eventually he withdraw this permission also and instructed them not to go to any heterodox churches at all.  His historical epistle on this topic will be on the Web somewhere.





Thank You Father ..........Excellent reply to Nebelpfade Obedience Obideance....
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« Reply #60 on: July 26, 2009, 05:28:51 AM »

Excellent! Now I understand...It isn't that orthodox are "too good" to pray with protestants...it is just so we can protect ourselves from their erroneous doctrine. I understand this but shouldn't this be done on "a case by case" basis? That is, there are going to be orthodox who may be married to protestants and, for the sake of the marriage, protestant church may have to be attended on a consistant basis, as long as the divine liturgy isn't neglected, that is. I imagine such decisions should be made in concert with a priest.

Bingo! You got it! Someone give this man a cigar! lol  Cheesy

The particular example you cited would best be discussed between the couple and the Orthodox spouse's priest.
Thank you, I'd love a cigar...how about a cuban! laugh
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« Reply #61 on: July 26, 2009, 06:40:03 AM »

As for praying with them, I find no problem providing heretical statements are introduced into the prayer.
Still, they will be praying to different Gods. The OC will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ just because He loved us, while the Protestant will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ in order to calm down His anger.
How does not theology affect our views about God?
I understand that a person's theology should and must be correct...However, when it comes to prayer, it is one individual talking or trying to communicate to a loving God. We, may get it wrong sometimes in what we say BUT God, I believe, looks at a person's heart....Not to pray with someone because they may say something incorrect is, I believe, going overboard.  It is for God to judge that person and those who are Orthodox, who know what is correct, may gently instruct later but, nevertheless, during the prayer a person can be truly speaking to God. Surely, you do not need correct theology before God will hear you. 
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« Reply #62 on: July 26, 2009, 12:05:42 PM »

We, may get it wrong sometimes in what we say BUT God, I believe, looks at a person's heart....Not to pray with someone because they may say something incorrect is, I believe, going overboard.  It is for God to judge that person and those who are Orthodox, who know what is correct, may gently instruct later but, nevertheless, during the prayer a person can be truly speaking to God. Surely, you do not need correct theology before God will hear you. 

Well... this is also true. But you know... I've been in enough evangelical services and listened to their prayers to know that they often expound their own ideas and essentially lecture God (and those gathered) on what they believe and how He is to act. In short, some of their prayers become little more than another sermon. This is where I draw the line in the sand. I don't accept everything they have to say in their sermons and I don't accept everything they say in their sermon-like prayers in spite of their sincerity. But when something comes from the heart and is an honest attempt to bring glory to the Lord through prayer (and the witness of the All-holy Spirit within me does not set off any alarm bells) then I have no issues with it. But that's just me.
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« Reply #63 on: July 26, 2009, 12:52:38 PM »

Hello All,

I think "the sharing of the same table" was perhaps the hardest thing I've ever had to understand, as unfortunately it is usually seen as a rejection. RE: Holy Communion; more than anything, when Orthodox share the same table, they are accepting all that they teach as true, of course. To tell the truth, this is something which made absolutely no sense to me a little while ago, as it initially looks prideful to take this course. But, in reality - counter-intuitively - it is quite the opposite. This is my understanding: to share communion with another Church would be to accept all that they teach as true; either that or we affirm that the difference in our beliefs are unimportant, which is to say the beliefs themselves are unimportant. This is to show arrogance towards the beliefs of the other Church and disdain towards our own. I know people who have converted from Anglicism and Catholicism to Orthodoxy. Most of them had some stage where they continued to attend their old Church, but for reasons of conscience, did not take communion. No priest told them to do this. They simply recognized that what their old Churches proclaimed was not what they believed. They knew in themselves that to take communion in their old Churches would be to lie to their fellow Anglicans/Catholics and themselves. I help out at my local Methodist Church (that is, I help the children in Sunday School) but I don't receive communion in my Methodist Church. I also attend an Orthodox Church and I have discovered, being in an Orthodox Church with the sights, sounds, smells and actions is simply another level to reading the beautiful prayers, etc. My Orthodox friends, obviously, have family members and friends who are protestants; they love their friends dearly, of course, and they pray with them during grace before meals, in their home chapel, etc.

My protestant friends say. ."Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of Me" When I share communion I am remembering Jesus death. The theology of the fellowship is largely irrelevant". Also, they don't understand why Orthodox and Catholics can't "overcome their differences" I completely understand where they are coming from, as I used to feel the same. My usual answer is:

First of all, there is a difference in beliefs on the nature of the Sacraments. On the individual Sacraments, there are also differences. First, re the Catholics, the Orthodox and the Eucharist: In the Orthodox church, the culmination of the service is the epiklisis which is when the Holy Spirit is called down to act in the Eucharist:

"Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon the Gifts here spread forth, and make this bread to be the precious Body of Thy Christ... ."

This prayer is not used in Catholic churches, and Catholics believe that when the priest says "This is my Body..." "This is my blood..." that the change occurs. This shows how in the West the Body and Blood of Christ is believed to become present by the act of the priest, rather than through the prayers of the entire church. Also, in the Orthodox church the body is placed in the chalice, and so both body and blood together are given to the Orthodox using a long spoon. And what of the bread used? The normative practice in Catholic churches is to use wafers, hence all the disparaging comments about "crackers" from Protestants and atheists alike. In the Orthodox church we always use leavened bread, because by using unleavened bread a key symbol of Christ being the new leaven is completely absent. These acts are sacramental acts - not magic - so the issues I have are not based on "such and such needs to happen otherwise the change doesn't occur". They are based on the fact that such acts show forth a truth and teaching of the Church. Change the act - alter the symbolic elements used - and you change what you are proclaiming.

And what is this practice of Eucharistic adoration? The gifts at Holy Communion are for the faithful to share, i.e. you eat them. The act of "saving" these items and "exposing" them for adoration is completely alien to the Orthodox understanding on what the gifts are and what the Eucharist is for (i.e. it's not for the purposes of "making" Christ's flesh so that it can be stored away and worshipped at various times). There are of course many other ways in which the Liturgy of the Orthodox differs from the Mass of the Catholics: that the priest should normally face East, the fasting canons for preparation, the psalms and Bible readings used, and of course the Creed that is said during the Liturgy has a very real difference.

There are differences too in the other Sacraments. The Catholics, and most Reformed faiths too, do not believe that humans can have real communion with God through His uncreated divine energies toward creatures, from the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Instead, the teaching is that God "creates" Grace through which we mere mortals may experience the unknowable God. The Catholic teaching is that Heaven is the unmediated vision of the Holy Trinity. The Orthodox believe that such a vision can be attained by some saints even while still on earth, and that in Heaven we will experience the Divine in every way - not just as "a vision". These are fundamental differences in Who God is and how we know Him. I will not even begin to go into the differences regarding the Theotokos, purgatory, substitutional atonement, and of course, the view of the Pope's authority.

And these differences in belief all effect our view of Who God is. These differences also directly influence the practices of each church, so that the belief leads to the act, and the act reinforces the belief.

I remember some time ago I talked about there being only one human nature. I said at the time, that the power of human empathy cannot be underestimated. We are all united through a common humanity. Some of us will feel more united through the love of the same things. A smaller group of us will feel united specifically through a shared love of truth. Within that group, we will see more unity in those with whom we can actually agree what that truth is. These unions should not be despised. But the unity of the Church is sacramental and holistic, not depending upon our shared ideas and opinions, but of shared beliefs. There are differences within the Orthodox churches, and amongst the Orthodox churches, between Orthodox families and within Orthodox families. Differences between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox only cause strife when people insist they must be the same.

Catherine
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« Reply #64 on: July 27, 2009, 12:31:52 PM »

Hello All,

I think "the sharing of the same table" was perhaps the hardest thing I've ever had to understand.....

Wonderful post Catherine. God bless you.
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« Reply #65 on: July 28, 2009, 02:56:41 AM »



 God bless you.

May God Bless you too, Dear Mickey.
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« Reply #66 on: September 21, 2009, 02:24:00 PM »

I prefer the protestant churches say over catholic anyday...

catholic over protestants , anytime anyhow without blinkin`
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« Reply #67 on: September 21, 2009, 06:45:38 PM »

We, may get it wrong sometimes in what we say BUT God, I believe, looks at a person's heart....Not to pray with someone because they may say something incorrect is, I believe, going overboard.  It is for God to judge that person and those who are Orthodox, who know what is correct, may gently instruct later but, nevertheless, during the prayer a person can be truly speaking to God. Surely, you do not need correct theology before God will hear you. 

Well... this is also true. But you know... I've been in enough evangelical services and listened to their prayers to know that they often expound their own ideas and essentially lecture God (and those gathered) on what they believe and how He is to act. In short, some of their prayers become little more than another sermon. This is where I draw the line in the sand. I don't accept everything they have to say in their sermons and I don't accept everything they say in their sermon-like prayers in spite of their sincerity. But when something comes from the heart and is an honest attempt to bring glory to the Lord through prayer (and the witness of the All-holy Spirit within me does not set off any alarm bells) then I have no issues with it. But that's just me.

Well, how about not saying AMEN when they finish thier incorrect prayer instead of just avoiding altogether....
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« Reply #68 on: September 21, 2009, 07:04:50 PM »

As for praying with them, I find no problem providing heretical statements are introduced into the prayer.
Still, they will be praying to different Gods. The OC will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ just because He loved us, while the Protestant will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ in order to calm down His anger.
How does not theology affect our views about God?
I think you are over anthromorphising the Protestant view of God. I attended a Protestant Church for six months and I heard all about how much God loved us. In fact a favorite protestant scripture verses is John 3:16.
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« Reply #69 on: September 21, 2009, 07:07:53 PM »

As for praying with them, I find no problem providing heretical statements are introduced into the prayer.
Still, they will be praying to different Gods. The OC will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ just because He loved us, while the Protestant will pray to a God who sent Jesus Christ in order to calm down His anger.
How does not theology affect our views about God?
I think you are over anthromorphising the Protestant view of God. I attended a Protestant Church for six months and I heard all about how much God loved us. In fact a favorite protestant scripture verses is John 3:16.

Also used as part of the Orthodox Gospel Reading on the Sunday before the Elevation of the Holy Cross (John 3:13-17)
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« Reply #70 on: September 21, 2009, 07:11:32 PM »

First, re the Catholics, the Orthodox and the Eucharist: In the Orthodox church, the culmination of the service is the epiklisis which is when the Holy Spirit is called down to act in the Eucharist:

"Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon the Gifts here spread forth, and make this bread to be the precious Body of Thy Christ... ."

This prayer is not used in Catholic churches, and Catholics believe that when the priest says "This is my Body..." "This is my blood..." that the change occurs. This shows how in the West the Body and Blood of Christ is believed to become present by the act of the priest, rather than through the prayers of the entire church.
Have you ever been to a Catholic Church? At every mass before the words of institution the priest prays:
"Lord, send your Spirit upon these gifts that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, your Son, Jesus Christ."
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« Reply #71 on: September 21, 2009, 07:20:10 PM »



There are differences too in the other Sacraments. The Catholics, and most Reformed faiths too, do not believe that humans can have real communion with God through His uncreated divine energies toward creatures, from the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Instead, the teaching is that God "creates" Grace through which we mere mortals may experience the unknowable God.
This a Caricature and oversimplification of the Catholic teaching on Grace. We too believe that we become "Partakers of the Divine Nature" and that when we are in the state of grace, we have God's very life in us.
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« Reply #72 on: September 23, 2009, 08:22:25 AM »

Mister Jim Dude: this is from another Jim who was formerly a member in a holiness church not unlike your own. My wife chose to remain in the Free Methodist Church. I would love to pray with her, but she refuses to pray with me - scared that I'm going to just say some rote things, or start invoking the saints, or some such nonsense (i.e. nonsense from HER point of view Smiley) There are certainly some other issues in her spiritual life that I do not see as healthy, influences that made it easy for me to leave that denomination. As an aside, let me say I maintain a high degree of respect and affection for all of my friends in my former congregation and denomination, most of whom have remained friends - after all, that was where I was first introduced to Christ and to love Him with my entire being - my move to Orthodoxy is completely consistent with that thought. Now, on some occasions I do attend services with her. I try to simply appreciate the services for their face value: Christian musical entertainment, and a usually well presented motivational talk that is pretty generic. During the rare moments of prayer in those services, I simply silently pray as I have been taught in the Orthodox Church. I do not participate in their Communion, though my behaviour remains respectful of their actions. All of this is in keeping with my priest's knowledge, understanding, and counsel.

In the last few days our lectionary readings for the Epistle have been taken from I Corinthians where St. Paul gives his instructions concerning mixed marriages. It has given me an opportunity to evaluate my role as husband and spiritual leader, but those details fall out of the scope of a public forum.

As a husband you have a responsibility to your wife (and I to mine!) whether she is Orthodox or not. How she responds to your leadership rests between her and God. You most certainly can and should pray with your wife and children. If they won't pray with you, then you just pray FOR them twice as much!

I personally am in the situation were I am Orthodox in my faith ( I will have tell my story sometime) but my wife is non-denominational with strong ties to conservative baptist.   We both were very dedicated and committed to everyone that church, which is really a church of misfits as everyone there would call ourselves, but now...  It is not easy and I am trying to take it slow but even though there worship is 4-5 songs than a sermon, very quick prayer and finally reading of the ephesians benediction I have come to see the worship as extremely shallow and sad.

So what is the answer for a convert who spouse is not?
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« Reply #73 on: September 23, 2009, 09:00:58 AM »

So what is the answer for a convert who spouse is not?

Faith, hope, love, and prayer.

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« Reply #74 on: September 23, 2009, 10:43:44 AM »


I personally am in the situation were I am Orthodox in my faith ( I will have tell my story sometime) but my wife is non-denominational with strong ties to conservative baptist. 
So what is the answer for a convert who spouse is not?

Can I message you at your provided email? Probably best to not have your wife intercept.
Jim
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« Reply #75 on: September 23, 2009, 04:37:48 PM »


I personally am in the situation were I am Orthodox in my faith ( I will have tell my story sometime) but my wife is non-denominational with strong ties to conservative baptist. 
So what is the answer for a convert who spouse is not?

Can I message you at your provided email? Probably best to not have your wife intercept.
Jim

Sure, No problem, we have individual accounts.
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