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Author Topic: Evangelical Christmas  (Read 32440 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: December 23, 2008, 08:16:21 AM »

This is true. I feel that we under-emphasise the resurrection, and you under-emphasise the death. I believe that here is an area where we can benefit from cross-fertilisation of ideas. Neither aspect of the paschal events should suffer reduced emphasis, but each of us needs to pay more attention to the other aspect.

Cross-fertilisation of ideas, David? The theology, doctrines and consensus patrum of the Orthodox Church are reflected and proclaimed most clearly and accessibly in its iconography and in its liturgical texts. Liturgical content doesn't change according to the temper of the times, my friend.

Here's a link to the liturgical texts of Holy Week. You will see that the Church has by no means ignored the Crucifixion, but keeps everything in its proper proportion and balance. An icon of the Crucifixion is a most different kettle of fish to, say, Matthias Grunewald's Isenheim altarpiece, or the often lurid Roman Catholic statues of Jesus flogged or crucified.


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« Reply #46 on: December 23, 2008, 09:24:33 AM »

Here's a link to the liturgical texts of Holy Week. You will see that the Church has by no means ignored the Crucifixion,

Sadly, when I clicked on the link I got "The webpage cannot be found."  Sad

Reading as an outsider, I felt stirred and warmed by Hopko on our Lord's death, but I felt that even such a luminary as Kallistos Ware ("The Orthodox Way") was very light on that theme, even seeming (perhaps an unintended and misleading impression) to reduce it to little more than a moral example.

In re the events of the paschal period, in no way am I saying your theology is wrong - for it seems to me to be the same as ours. But in some of your authors I would like to see more emphasis on "He was wounded for our transgressions... upon him was the chastisement that made us whole... the Lord has laid on him the iniquitry of us all," whilst in no way ever reducing your emphasis upon his victorious resurrection.
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« Reply #47 on: December 23, 2008, 09:37:28 AM »

David, here's the link again. http://www.anastasis.org.uk/holyweek.htmEmbarrassed

You wrote:

Quote
In re the events of the paschal period, in no way am I saying your theology is wrong - for it seems to me to be the same as ours. But in some of your authors I would like to see more emphasis on "He was wounded for our transgressions... upon him was the chastisement that made us whole... the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all," whilst in no way ever reducing your emphasis upon his victorious resurrection.

As for "more emphasis" being desirable or necessary on the suffering of Christ, take the time to read and absorb the liturgical texts I've linked to. Individual writers and Fathers may have varying opinions, but the Church's liturgical integrity is the ultimate standard.


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« Reply #48 on: December 23, 2008, 09:46:01 AM »

I took a look at Wikipedia (which is not considered a valid academic source by all) and the description of Evangelicalism was listed as a protestant movement with the characteristics of being born again (personal conviction), a high regard for biblical authority, the emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus (I love that, another words being a "Christian").

These attributes fit anyone who considers themselves a follower of Christ.


No they don't. Being "born again" in the sense that one has a personal revelation about Jesus Christ is unique to evangelical churches. In all other forms of Christianity, the term "born again" refers to baptism, not a personal decision to be a Christian. As for the second point, high regard of the Bible is common to all forms of Christianity, but an emphasis on Biblical authority is unique to evangelicals. Third, evangelicals emphasize the death of Jesus in a way that is similar to mainline Protestants and Catholics, but Orthodox do not share this adoration of the passion of Christ, preferring instead to focus on His Resurrection.

So this definition fits evangelical Protestants (and having been one I can confirm this), but it does not fit all of Christianity.

Born again is unique to Paul.  The idea of someone accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, in order to imitate Him in their life was initiated by the ancient church, not by the Evangelical movement of the eighteenth century.  Be careful not to exclude all those who have been baptized and strayed away.  These people were circumcised in the new covenant possibly as infants, but have never established a relationship with Christ in their life.  Being born again includes Baptizm, not just a Zen-like revelation .  Being baptized and joining a congregation are all part of the act of being born again, based on the Ancient Church (1st century).

An emphasis on biblical authority is not the same as high regard of the Bible.  Muslims have high regard of the Bible.  The Gay Bishop of New Hampshire has high regard of the Bible.  The Orthodox Church and the evangelical movement hold the Bible inerrant.  Evangelicals consider self revelation of Scripture as part of being filled with the Spirit, while the Catholic and Orthodox church consider only the ordained as fit for biblical understanding and preaching.  There lies the rub.

Evangelicals actually have a more precise theology (AKA Erickson) of escatology and the Resurrection than Orthodoxy and Catholocism, which see it as a mystery that cannot be fully explained or understood.  The only difference I have found between the two has to be the action of Christ descending to hell, which is more an Origen related ideal of the fish and the hook theory of the Atonement.  I think thee confuses Mel Gibson's (a Catholic) flick for evangelical theology.  Or possibly the Orthodox versus the Evangelical theology of the Atonement, and not the Resurrection which is an essential element.  Catholicism directs emphasis to the suffering of Christ (the Sorrowful Mysteries) far greater than any other denomination.  Evangelicals display the empty cross, or the cross wrapped in the spotless shroud as their symbol, and do not as some say "leave Christ on the cross".

Again, more interesting all the time what people claim as evangelicalism.
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« Reply #49 on: December 23, 2008, 10:42:03 AM »

Actually, I believe it goes farther back, to the French Revolution, when the various factions seated themselves from right to left based on ideology
I was also thinking about France but chose in the end to cite only the immediate etymology.

Quote
(which predated our two current parties and the capitol building itself).
Actually just one of the parties. But that's a discussion for the Politics forum.

Actually not necessarily:it's just history.  The Revolution happened in 1789, including the formation of the National Assmebly, which just solidified the importance of seating arrangements established in the previous Estates General..  The parties in America didn't start to congeal until Hamilton started his tenure (and policies) as Treasury secretary, which didn't even start until September 11 (odd date). 1789.  By then his French counterpart Necker had already caused the formation of parties in Paris.
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« Reply #50 on: December 23, 2008, 01:28:20 PM »

Being "born again" in the sense that one has a personal revelation about Jesus Christ is unique to evangelical churches. In all other forms of Christianity, the term "born again" refers to baptism,

If this is correct - and I know too little about 'all other forms of Christianity' to confirm or deny it - then maybe one of us is using the term 'born again' wrongly. (Unless, of course, the new birth and baptism, though different, are more closely linked that we realise.)

But even if your usage is right and it refers to baptism, surely you must have some way of referring to that moment, or experience, or process, or quiet inward event unrecognised at the time but known later by its effect, when a man turns to the Lord? When he is aware the he is united to Christ, is 'in Christ'? that God has forgiven his past - glorious release! - and given him a new start and a new direction? that he now consciously believes? When he can say (someone said I am always citing Wesley!):

I know, I feel, my sins forgiven,
Blessed with this antepast of heaven.


If we are mistaken in using the phrase being 'born again', or 'the new birth' for this, then what should we call it? and what do you call it? Now you are always citing Ignatius, so what about this?

I have observed that ye are perfected in an immovable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ... and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded in every truth.

the Holy Spirit "who is the Author of saving knowledge"
(Smyrnaeans, Philadelphians)

The experience of being 'born again', of assurance of salvation, runs from Ignatius to the present day, among all sorts and conditions of men, of many tribes, nations and tongues. I do not think its reality can easily be denied. If entering into it is not rightly called the new birth (as we call it), then what do you call it?

I often think it is ironic that we pay so much attention to getting the form of baptism right, and give far too little thought to its meaning; whilst you give a lot of thought to its meaning, and - dare I say it? - have got the form all wrong by applying it to infants and not to believers only (and - I'm not sure of your practice here - of not using total immersion)? Again, ought we not to approach each other more nearly? Of course, this isn't a thread about baptism - and I am surprised that there doesn't seem to be one, unless I'm missing it.
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« Reply #51 on: December 23, 2008, 01:47:15 PM »

Hi David,

My father was Southern Baptist and my mother was Roman Catholic...

I can understand 'initial' conversion of a society through adult Baptism but entry into the Old Covenant was not restricted to adults so I have always failed to see why such a restriction would be under the New Covenant.
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« Reply #52 on: December 23, 2008, 03:01:55 PM »

I can understand 'initial' conversion of a society through adult Baptism but entry into the Old Covenant was not restricted to adults so I have always failed to see why such a restriction would be under the New Covenant.
You sound like a good Presbyterian!  Smiley
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« Reply #53 on: December 23, 2008, 03:42:15 PM »

I can understand 'initial' conversion of a society through adult Baptism but entry into the Old Covenant was not restricted to adults so I have always failed to see why such a restriction would be under the New Covenant.
You sound like a good Presbyterian!  Smiley

Is it okay if I take that as a compliment, David? God willing, I will be an even better Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #54 on: December 23, 2008, 04:04:13 PM »

Is it okay if I take that as a compliment, David? God willing, I will be an even better Orthodox Christian.

Amen! May he help us both - me in sanctification, you in theosis! May we both end up like Christ!
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« Reply #55 on: December 23, 2008, 05:25:13 PM »

entry into the Old Covenant was not restricted to adults so I have always failed to see why such a restriction would be under the New Covenant.
The answer is that we believe entry into God's people, the Jews (under the Old Covenant), is by physical birth, and circumcision is attached to that; but entry into God's people, the Christians (under the New Covenant), is by the new birth, and baptism is attached to that. Both are an outward sign that one has become a member of God's people: the one by birth, the other by the new birth.

In practice, of course, as society here in Britain becomes more and more secular and godless, with maybe 2% of the population regularly attending church, believers' baptism is by default becoming more common. Even the Archbishop has been publicly baptising grown people in the large square outside his minster. I have been present at an Anglican baptism conducted in a river, there being no baptistry in the church building.

You Orthodox and others who hold baptismal regeneration must surely have a way of describing theologically and pastorally what happens in the case of people who are baptised as infants, who grow up, leave all practice of the faith, slide into lives of sin, crime, immortality and godless living, and then turn back to the Lord later in life: being converted, we call it, or being born again (assuming it is a genuine inward change wrought by the Spirit, and not a mere outward reformation of behaviour). How do you preach for this? When it happens, what do you call it?

LBK: The anastasis website worked second time, and I have added it to my 'favourites' to look at at length and at leisure, as it is hugely long. I had forgotten - thank you for reminding me of it - the lex orandi, lex credendi principle of your Liturgy. That is helpful. There is a thread entitled something like, "Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?", and I think part of the answer would be that there is a feeling that you under-emphasise the provision of forgiveness of sin through Christ's sacrifice, the ransom paid at the price of his blood, the debt of sin settled by his death, and that this leads to a deprivation of assurance of salvation. We feel that our Protestant (and Catholic) emphasis on the Passion is lacking, or the theme is weakened, as you - rightly - feel that we under-stress the victory of his resurrection. It needs to be both/and, not either/or.
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« Reply #56 on: December 23, 2008, 07:32:25 PM »

Being "born again" in the sense that one has a personal revelation about Jesus Christ is unique to evangelical churches. In all other forms of Christianity, the term "born again" refers to baptism,

If this is correct - and I know too little about 'all other forms of Christianity' to confirm or deny it - then maybe one of us is using the term 'born again' wrongly. (Unless, of course, the new birth and baptism, though different, are more closely linked that we realise.)

We know the answer to this question.

Quote
But even if your usage is right and it refers to baptism, surely you must have some way of referring to that moment, or experience, or process, or quiet inward event unrecognised at the time but known later by its effect, when a man turns to the Lord?


Sure.  Conversion/repentance.  And it is repeated (unlike baptism) over and over and over again.

Quote
When he is aware the he is united to Christ, is 'in Christ'? that God has forgiven his past - glorious release!

Called absolution.

 
Quote
- and given him a new start and a new direction? that he now consciously believes? When he can say (someone said I am always citing Wesley!):

I know, I feel, my sins forgiven,
Blessed with this antepast of heaven.


If we are mistaken in using the phrase being 'born again', or 'the new birth' for this, then what should we call it? and what do you call it?


Absolution.

Quote
Now you are always citing Ignatius, so what about this?

I have observed that ye are perfected in an immovable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ... and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded in every truth.

the Holy Spirit "who is the Author of saving knowledge"
(Smyrnaeans, Philadelphians)

The experience of being 'born again', of assurance of salvation, runs from Ignatius to the present day,

You don't finish the letter:

I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that you also hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this....Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us. For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death. I have not, however, thought good to write the names of such persons, inasmuch as they are unbelievers. Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to [a true belief in] Christ's passion, which is our resurrection.

No OSAS.


Quote
among all sorts and conditions of men, of many tribes, nations and tongues.


Yes.  It's called the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Quote
I do not think its reality can easily be denied.


It's not.  Not by us at least.

Quote
If entering into it is not rightly called the new birth (as we call it), then what do you call it?

Repentance.

Quote
I often think it is ironic that we pay so much attention to getting the form of baptism right, and give far too little thought to its meaning; whilst you give a lot of thought to its meaning, and - dare I say it? - have got the form all wrong by applying it to infants

Whoever does not become as a child will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Who is more like a child, than a child?  Christ seems to answer that by bringing the child (by tradition/legend St. Ignatius) to demonstrate His point.  The meaning of baptism determines that "form" of baptism.

Quote
and not to believers only

No one calls Christ "Lord" but by the Holy Spirit.  Since adults can't believe without grace, why would we deny that grace to infants?

Quote
(and - I'm not sure of your practice here - of not using total immersion)?

Actually total immersion is (and should be) the norm.  I have a serious of photos of people watching my son before, during and after the baptism.  You can tell the "during" photos from the look of shock on their faces.

Quote
Again, ought we not to approach each other more nearly?

You mean bring our meaning of baptism closer?  Now, what did St. Ignatius just say about that?

 
Quote
Of course, this isn't a thread about baptism - and I am surprised that there doesn't seem to be one, unless I'm missing it.

You can always start one.
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« Reply #57 on: December 23, 2008, 08:07:01 PM »

entry into the Old Covenant was not restricted to adults so I have always failed to see why such a restriction would be under the New Covenant.
The answer is that we believe entry into God's people, the Jews (under the Old Covenant), is by physical birth, and circumcision is attached to that; but entry into God's people, the Christians (under the New Covenant), is by the new birth, and baptism is attached to that. Both are an outward sign that one has become a member of God's people: the one by birth, the other by the new birth.

In practice, of course, as society here in Britain becomes more and more secular and godless, with maybe 2% of the population regularly attending church, believers' baptism is by default becoming more common. Even the Archbishop has been publicly baptising grown people in the large square outside his minster. I have been present at an Anglican baptism conducted in a river, there being no baptistry in the church building.

You Orthodox and others who hold baptismal regeneration must surely have a way of describing theologically and pastorally what happens in the case of people who are baptised as infants, who grow up, leave all practice of the faith, slide into lives of sin, crime, immortality and godless living, and then turn back to the Lord later in life: being converted, we call it, or being born again (assuming it is a genuine inward change wrought by the Spirit, and not a mere outward reformation of behaviour). How do you preach for this?
Call for repentance and conversion.

Quote
When it happens, what do you call it?

Repentance.

Quote
LBK: The anastasis website worked second time, and I have added it to my 'favourites' to look at at length and at leisure, as it is hugely long. I had forgotten - thank you for reminding me of it - the lex orandi, lex credendi principle of your Liturgy. That is helpful. There is a thread entitled something like, "Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?", and I think part of the answer would be that there is a feeling that you under-emphasise the provision of forgiveness of sin through Christ's sacrifice, the ransom paid at the price of his blood, the debt of sin settled by his death, and that this leads to a deprivation of assurance of salvation.
Assurance isn't in the Bible. So we don't teach it.
Quote
We feel that our Protestant (and Catholic) emphasis on the Passion is lacking, or the theme is weakened, as you - rightly - feel that we under-stress the victory of his resurrection. It needs to be both/and, not either/or.
I'll agree to the last part.  As for the first, have you ever been to a Holy Week service, in particular lamentations?  Read the Horologion?

You do know why we fast two days out of every week?
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« Reply #58 on: December 28, 2008, 07:23:27 PM »

evangelicals emphasize the death of Jesus in a way that is similar to mainline Protestants and Catholics, but Orthodox do not share this adoration of the passion of Christ, preferring instead to focus on His Resurrection.

This is true. I feel that we under-emphasise the resurrection, and you under-emphasise the death. I believe that here is an area where we can benefit from cross-fertilisation of ideas. Neither aspect of the paschal events should suffer reduced emphasis, but each of us needs to pay more attention to the other aspect.

This is because the West views his death as some sort of ransom for sin, where as we view it that he died to conquer death. (In the Paschal hymn we sing "Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and to those in the tombs bestowing life!")It all comes back to the interpretation of Original Sin. We don't believe that we share in guilt of Adam; just in the consequences (i.e. illness, death, fallen world, etc.)

I once asked an Orthodox priest what he thought of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ." His response: "He [Mel Gibson] ended the movie where he should have began."
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« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2008, 06:18:51 AM »

the West views his death as some sort of ransom for sin, where as we view it that he died to conquer death.

This is absolutely true, and I have written it in articles and a book, and explained it in public talks including to an audience of some 100 Moslems when the question was asked how Orthodoxy and the western church differ.

But in fact, your theologians and ours seem to me - unless I am misunderstanding them - to state that both are true. His death was a ransom and paid the penality of our sin; and his death and resurrection did conquer death, defeat the devils, and secure for us a glorious bodily resurrection.

Quote
We don't believe that we share in guilt of Adam; just in the consequences

I agree. But I have written on this in another post, at some length (a search for in quo omnes peccaverunt should unearth it fairly quickly), so I shall desist here.

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« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2008, 10:25:59 AM »

the West views his death as some sort of ransom for sin, where as we view it that he died to conquer death.

This is absolutely true, and I have written it in articles and a book, and explained it in public talks including to an audience of some 100 Moslems when the question was asked how Orthodoxy and the western church differ.

But in fact, your theologians and ours seem to me - unless I am misunderstanding them - to state that both are true. His death was a ransom and paid the penality of our sin; and his death and resurrection did conquer death, defeat the devils, and secure for us a glorious bodily resurrection.

Quote
We don't believe that we share in guilt of Adam; just in the consequences

I agree. But I have written on this in another post, at some length (a search for in quo omnes peccaverunt should unearth it fairly quickly), so I shall desist here.



Part of the issue is confusion over sacrifice: in the main it's not a sacrifice like slitting a goat's throat.  It's a sacrifice like raising children:done right, it requires giving up a lot.

As our priest Fr. Pat was talking about a couple of weeks ago, the reason for the various types of sacrifices and offerings in Leviticus is that no one fully captures as a prefigurement the sacrifice of Calvary, which encapsulates them all.

Speaking of confusion, maybe these latest posts might better be put on the thread on the Atonement goin on.
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« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2008, 09:10:13 PM »

This is absolutely true, and I have written it in articles and a book, and explained it in public talks including to an audience of some 100 Moslems when the question was asked how Orthodoxy and the western church differ.

But in fact, your theologians and ours seem to me - unless I am misunderstanding them - to state that both are true. His death was a ransom and paid the penality of our sin; and his death and resurrection did conquer death, defeat the devils, and secure for us a glorious bodily resurrection.

I agree. But I have written on this in another post, at some length (a search for in quo omnes peccaverunt should unearth it fairly quickly), so I shall desist here.

I read what you wrote, and having spent a good portion of my life in the Conservative Baptist church in the U.S. (Mom was Baptist, Dad was Orthodox; I had a bit of a bi-polar religious upbringing), that was not the experience I had.

My experience in the Baptist Church emphasised the "lamb to the slaughter" sacrafice of Christ, and ignored the "trampling death by death."

My point in stating this is not to bash another group of Christians, but merely to point out that the teachings in the West aren't quite as uniform as you paint them to be. While you seem to have a more holistic view of Christ at Calvary, not all western groups share your view including those with the name "Baptist" in the congregation title.
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« Reply #62 on: December 30, 2008, 12:34:53 PM »

This is absolutely true, and I have written it in articles and a book, and explained it in public talks including to an audience of some 100 Moslems when the question was asked how Orthodoxy and the western church differ.

But in fact, your theologians and ours seem to me - unless I am misunderstanding them - to state that both are true. His death was a ransom and paid the penality of our sin; and his death and resurrection did conquer death, defeat the devils, and secure for us a glorious bodily resurrection.

I agree. But I have written on this in another post, at some length (a search for in quo omnes peccaverunt should unearth it fairly quickly), so I shall desist here.

I read what you wrote, and having spent a good portion of my life in the Conservative Baptist church in the U.S. (Mom was Baptist, Dad was Orthodox; I had a bit of a bi-polar religious upbringing), that was not the experience I had.

My experience in the Baptist Church emphasised the "lamb to the slaughter" sacrafice of Christ, and ignored the "trampling death by death."

My point in stating this is not to bash another group of Christians, but merely to point out that the teachings in the West aren't quite as uniform as you paint them to be. While you seem to have a more holistic view of Christ at Calvary, not all western groups share your view including those with the name "Baptist" in the congregation title.

Having earned a degree from a Baptist seminary, I get a kick out of anyone stating that Baptists universally agree on the aspect of the atonement.  I eat bread, but that doesn't make me a baker. 

The central Orthodox meaning of the atonement is Christ experiencing death on the cross in order to provide mankind with the ability to be raised towards salvation with his Creator.  That is what was stated in my Catechism during classes towards Chrismation.  It parallels all true Christian teaching, and would not be argued by a Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran or Methodist.  Where Orthodox theology appears to tread lightly is on the idea that Christ had to suffer in order to take on the penal substitution of past and future mankind.  One Baptist preacher will comment that God made sure Christ suffered on the cross, while another will see the cross as more of an altar than a pole of penance. 

It is when we pigeon hole others for the sake of our own self righteousness that we ourselves become what Christ disliked........Pharisees.
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« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2008, 07:42:43 PM »

Having earned a degree from a Baptist seminary, I get a kick out of anyone stating that Baptists universally agree on the aspect of the
atonement.  I eat bread, but that doesn't make me a baker. 
Then who bakes your bread? With what do they bake it?

Quote
It is when we pigeon hole others for the sake of our own self righteousness that we ourselves become what Christ disliked........Pharisees.
I don't believe Christ disliked anyone. He certainly spoke against certain actions, but he never spoke against any person.
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« Reply #64 on: December 31, 2008, 10:26:06 AM »

Having earned a degree from a Baptist seminary, I get a kick out of anyone stating that Baptists universally agree on the aspect of the
atonement.  I eat bread, but that doesn't make me a baker. 
Then who bakes your bread? With what do they bake it?

Quote
It is when we pigeon hole others for the sake of our own self righteousness that we ourselves become what Christ disliked........Pharisees.
I don't believe Christ disliked anyone. He certainly spoke against certain actions, but he never spoke against any person.

I would suggest taking a look at Matthew 6, 15, 22, 23, Mark 7, and Luke 12 for starters.

One might add that Jesus loved the sinner and hated the sin, but it's very clear how He  felt about the self righteous who used their paradigm of faith to condemn others.
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« Reply #65 on: December 31, 2008, 10:39:09 AM »

Having earned a degree from a Baptist seminary, I get a kick out of anyone stating that Baptists universally agree on the aspect of the
atonement.  I eat bread, but that doesn't make me a baker. 
Then who bakes your bread? With what do they bake it?

Quote
It is when we pigeon hole others for the sake of our own self righteousness that we ourselves become what Christ disliked........Pharisees.
I don't believe Christ disliked anyone. He certainly spoke against certain actions, but he never spoke against any person.

I would suggest taking a look at Matthew 6, 15, 22, 23, Mark 7, and Luke 12 for starters.

One might add that Jesus loved the sinner and hated the sin, but it's very clear how He  felt about the self righteous who used their paradigm of faith to condemn others.

Yes, He did:
Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters."
Luke 11: 23 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. "
24 “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 “Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

Matthew 15:12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
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« Reply #66 on: December 20, 2009, 12:52:48 PM »

It occurs to me to wonder whether Bradley Road Baptist Church, Wrexham, is the only Baptist church which, this morning, had a reading in its service from Thomas Hopko (The Winter Pascha).

Be that as it may, I hope we all knew and enjoyed God's blessing in worship.
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« Reply #67 on: December 20, 2009, 03:38:16 PM »

Typically the service included a "live nativity"--which was not, despite what the name would suggest, a woman actually giving birth.

LOL. I really like the way your write. You're funny.

Me too! That line cracked me up.  Grin

Selam
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« Reply #68 on: December 22, 2009, 09:34:03 PM »

With all being said, I look forward to my first Christmas as an Orthodox christian.  I come from an evangelical Presbyterian background and can say that I am looking forward to the journey ahead.  In all my years as an evangelical, the Christmas story was presented well and the candlelight services were beautiful, though I cannot ever recall celebrating the Lords Supper at this time.  The Lords Supper in fact was done usually quarterly as opposed to Orthodoxy where it is in fact the focal point of the liturgy. My grandparents were all strong believers in the Baptist church and imagining them before the throne of God  is a true blessing.  My parents are strong in the Pesbyterian Church of  America.  I come to Orthdoxy because of the fullness that is there and also because when I am in the divine liturgy, I feel invited to love and worship God, which is something I never was particuarly able to do in all my years as an evangelical. May God bless all here. 
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« Reply #69 on: December 25, 2009, 03:23:45 PM »

GrouchoM
congratulations on your first Nativity as an Orthodox Christian!

My background also was from conservative evangelical and Reformed Presbyterianism - like you, I found it to be a good training ground for much of what I discovered in Orthodoxy.

Rather than, like it seems many Protestant converts I hear from on this board have experienced, their former experience being something to repudiate and transcend, I found Orthodoxy fulfilling my former faith and filling where it was empty, answering where it left me with questions  and giving me, like you, more opportunity to worship and love God and actually experience the mystery of faith rather than just theologize about it.
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« Reply #70 on: December 25, 2009, 05:28:47 PM »

Quote
Rather than, like it seems many Protestant converts I hear from on this board have experienced, their former experience being something to repudiate and transcend, I found Orthodoxy fulfilling my former faith and filling where it was empty, answering where it left me with questions  and giving me, like you, more opportunity to worship and love God and actually experience the mystery of faith rather than just theologize about it.

You're still thinkinging about theology like a Westerner (and I'm prone to do the same, BTW).  As a Saint whos name I can't recall said, "Pure prayer is the truest expression of theology, and the true theologian is the one who prays."  We don't really begin to theologize till our prayer-life becomes so intense that we jump up to the level of illumination or higher.
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« Reply #71 on: December 27, 2009, 12:01:44 AM »

Quote
Rather than, like it seems many Protestant converts I hear from on this board have experienced, their former experience being something to repudiate and transcend, I found Orthodoxy fulfilling my former faith and filling where it was empty, answering where it left me with questions  and giving me, like you, more opportunity to worship and love God and actually experience the mystery of faith rather than just theologize about it.

You're still thinkinging about theology like a Westerner (and I'm prone to do the same, BTW).  As a Saint whos name I can't recall said, "Pure prayer is the truest expression of theology, and the true theologian is the one who prays."  We don't really begin to theologize till our prayer-life becomes so intense that we jump up to the level of illumination or higher.

Sorry, I AM a Westerner and a convert and on a journey. I have been at it for 7 years now and have found no magic bullet to become suddenly "eastern" as an Orthodox believer.

BTW, I think you missed my point, which was, in my former religious experience, the major doctrinal propositions were not at all antithetical to Orthodoxy, but rather very much in agreement with Orthodoxy. The praxis, being more cerebral than mystical; and the spiritual practices, tending more toward the academic than the experiential; and the discipline of prayer, being left to the devices of one's own mind in virtually exclusive extemporaneous prayer; and other disciplines, being more along the line of study than devotion, left me lacking and Orthodoxy fulfilled those longings. I don't see that as being particularly Western to interpret my experience that way, but maybe I am missing something.

And, what I would term "high" Presbyterian/Reformed worship, with its emphasis on the majesty of God, was quite uplifting, and truly worshipful. Where it lacked was in not culminating in communion every service (and of course in not understanding communion to be the real body and blood of Christ; however, Calvin's understanding that in communion we truly feed on Christ, however not corporially, was a very good preparation for understanding the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the eucharist when I became Orthodox).

Thus, unlike for some Protestants, whose faith community's dogmatic assumptions could be quite heretical, the strain of Protestantism I came out of was actually a good faith formation for eventually fulfilling it in Orthodoxy.

Not that there were not some heretical dogmas to renounce at chrismation, such as predestination and the 3 solas (fide - faith alone, gratia - grace alone, and scriptura - scripture alone)!
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« Reply #72 on: December 27, 2009, 12:43:54 PM »

GrouchoM
congratulations on your first Nativity as an Orthodox Christian!

My background also was from conservative evangelical and Reformed Presbyterianism - like you, I found it to be a good training ground for much of what I discovered in Orthodoxy.

Rather than, like it seems many Protestant converts I hear from on this board have experienced, their former experience being something to repudiate and transcend, I found Orthodoxy fulfilling my former faith and filling where it was empty, answering where it left me with questions  and giving me, like you, more opportunity to worship and love God and actually experience the mystery of faith rather than just theologize about it.

When I joined the ROCOR after being raised a Lutheran and spending a short time in the Antiochian Archdiocese, the priest explained things to me this way.  He said to consider myself as one who is in the middle of a jungle and is searching for the road that leads to the Truth.  In the jungle, a machete is a very useful tool.  I could consider the teachings of my youth, and the dogmatic studies that led to my conversion to Orthodoxy as the machete that I was wielding as I was cutting my way through the jungle.  However, once I found the road that I was looking for (the Orthodox Church), I no longer have need for the machete.  Perhaps a staff would be a more useful tool.  So it is with our journey to Salvation.  Sometimes we are hindered on our journey down the path because we are unwilling to dispense with tools that were once useful (if not critical), but now only weigh us down.  I don't look down upon my Lutheran parents, who instilled in me a love of God and set me on the path to seek Him.  Not in the least.  Nor do I look down upon the Lutheran Schools and Churches that I have attended for the first 30 years of my life.  I in no way or form look down upon the Antiochian congregation that accepted me into Orthodoxy.  However, I no longer read Luther or Pieper or Lensky.  And I have found the Russian writers to speak more to my soul than Hopko or Tarazi. 

Also, I believe one's attitude toward our past should also take into account how we got to where we are going.  If we got to where we are due to drug or alcohol addiction, or hitting rock bottom due to some other way, it may be better for us to make a clean break from out past than if we got to where we are going by a more gentle approach.  In His Mercy, and knowing that I am weak, God chose the gentle path for me.  I do not worry about mingling with Lutherans and Latins, or even discussing religion with them.  I have studied their side extensively, and even was responsible for teaching it for several years.  There is little danger of me reverting to my past (or as the scriptures say, being a dog returning to its own vomit).  There is just nothing in me that misses anything that I left.  I would probably recommend that some of the newer converts that I have known that came to Christ via the more bumpy route NOT spend any time in the situations they left.  Politely attending a Lutheran service with my father (a Lutheran minister) when I am visiting is less likely to send me on my former path than taking a few drinks is going to upset things for a recovering alcoholic.
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« Reply #73 on: December 28, 2009, 06:54:39 AM »

I have found the Russian writers to speak more to my soul than Hopko

I should like to hear more of this. I found Hopko excellent on dogma, but was not aware of deriving benefit from him devotionally; whereas I found Bulgakov nourishing for mind and soul. I should be pleased to be pointed to other writers.

If this seems too far from the theme of "Evangelical Christmas", bear in kind that I got Bulgakov as a gift last Yule, and Hopko was "The Winter Pascha" - so it almost fits the thread.  Cheesy
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« Reply #74 on: December 28, 2009, 12:26:48 PM »



I should like to hear more of this. I found Hopko excellent on dogma, but was not aware of deriving benefit from him devotionally; whereas I found Bulgakov nourishing for mind and soul. I should be pleased to be pointed to other writers.


Hmm it seems you have been doing your homework...very good! Wink
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« Reply #75 on: December 28, 2009, 04:58:48 PM »

...but the "Protestants" that get all the press and exposure are those on the fringes.
Not true, either statistically or demographically AFAIK, at least in my neck of the woods. The Baptifundigelicals (as a friend of mine refers to them) are in the majority.

 
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« Reply #76 on: January 01, 2010, 07:14:32 PM »

...but the "Protestants" that get all the press and exposure are those on the fringes.
Not true, either statistically or demographically AFAIK, at least in my neck of the woods. The Baptifundigelicals (as a friend of mine refers to them) are in the majority.

 

Because a group is in the majority in a certain geographic area does not mean they are not also on the fringe theologically of the total Protestant evangelical movement.
To create a compund word with fudamentalist and evangelical as root words is repugnant to many, if not most evangelicals, especially Reformed evangelicals. That there are those who could elicit such a compound pejorative is not indicative of a whole movement.
Please re-read my and Punch's comments above to understand that many of us came from backgrounds nothing like that kind of fringe religious culture.

BTW I lived in Greenville, SC for seven years. Greenville is home to Bob Jones University. Even there, I did not find the majority protestant culture to be anything like the term your friend has coined. There was an active Episcopal community, a very vibrant Reformed community, the dominant moderate Southern Baptist commuity and even an active Catholic community. If anything, BJU was an isolated ghetto.
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