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« on: September 17, 2009, 01:51:17 AM »

http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/obstacles.htm

Introduction
It is not unusual to hear of people saying that someone ‘has become Orthodox’, when what they really mean is that someone ‘has joined the Orthodox Church’. For it is one thing to join the Church, to become formally a member of the Body of Christ, but quite another to become inwardly Orthodox, that is, to enter deeply and truly into the spirit and way of life of the Church. Most Orthodox clergy do not receive people into the Church too quickly and without adequate catechism, but even so there is an attrition rate. Over the years we have, for example, seen dozens of people joining the Church but never becoming Orthodox, as can be seen from their lapses or schisms into sects, cults or para-ecclesial groupings. Moreover, we have seen this happening tragically, even after decades of formal membership of the Church.

This is not a question only, say, of the many English people, who later lapse from the Orthodox Church, once the initial burst of enthusiasm has burned itself out, but it is also true of Russians, Greeks and others. Thus, for instance, we know of one second generation Russian in London who over thirty years ago had himself circumcised and became a Jew, or of a Russian professor of the first generation who had his children baptised Anglican, for, as he said, ‘we are in England now’. On the other hand, no fewer than six of the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of London are Greek Cypriots. Having been born and brought up in England, they long ago decided that Orthodoxy was only for Greeks, but that, since they were now English, they would become Anglicans. Countless other examples of apostasy could be cited, including the large numbers of second and third generation Russians in France who became Roman Catholics.

What then are the obstacles to becoming Orthodox, in the genuine sense? Where do people go wrong? In order to discover this, we must first of all look at this issue in the light of the four qualities of the Church, as defined by our Creed. In this, the Church is defined as ‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic’. It is in their light that we shall find answers to our question.

Intellectualism against Oneness
The Unity of the Church is distanced by intellectualism. This danger is particularly strong among converts in Western countries. Intellectualism challenges the Oneness or Unity of the Church, for every intellectual trend is divisive, creating both supporters and enemies, who say that they are of Paul, of Apollos and of Cephas, but not of Christ (I Cor 1, 12). We should not forget that all the great heretics were intellectuals, from the Hellenes and Gnostics of the first century, to Arius and Nestorius and to today’s modernist and renovationist Neo-Gnostics. The influence of these latter is particularly strong in countries of the Russian emigration, notably in France and the USA, but also in Belgium and England.

The intellectualist trend comes from outside the Church, from the heterodox world. There it is commonly believed that the faith can only be understood by the reason or intellect. This rationalism is hostile to the ethos of the Church, where we believe and know from experience that knowledge does not come from the fallen human reason, but from the purification of the heart. Indeed, it is only once the heart is purified, through ascetic practices of prayer and fasting and the sacraments joined together, that the reason or intellect can be enlightened. In other words, in the Church, knowledge comes to us through struggling against sin and battling for virtue, by following the commandments, and not through vain booklore. The latter merely puffs up and makes its willing victims into idle self-flattered playthings of the devil, pretentious reasoners who inspire either mockery or pity on the part of others.

Intellectualism divides, for its adepts in their cliques and clans work against the Unity of the Church, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13, 8 ). Unity can be found only by remaining faithful to the Tradition, the deposit entrusted to the saints which we are called on to guard (1 Timothy 6, 20). In novelties we can be sure to find the intellectualist spirit, foreign to the Living God and His Church.

Spiritualism against Holiness
The Holiness of the Church is distanced by spiritualism. Spiritualism confuses the authentically spiritual with the emotional delusion of pride (delusion in Slavonic is prelest, in Greek plani, in Latin illusio). This has also been one of the great weaknesses of the Russian emigration, but today it is also found in sectarian Greek old calendarism. This spirit is brought into the Church from outside, from all kinds of worldly but ‘spiritual’ theories and strange philosophies such as anthroposophism and guenonisme, sectarianism and cultishness. These all form attractions to disincarnate spheres of being, which are inhabited by evil spirits (which are disincarnate), under the illusions that these are angelic, and not satanic, spheres.

Perhaps the most obvious representative of this school was the Russian Evgraf Kovalevsky. However, he was only the most obvious of many cases of this spiritual disease, which was especially strong among the Paris Russian emigration who had brought it with them from St Petersburg. Many of them joined the Church, but they brought with them the disease and tried to spread it inside the Church. They did not understand that an interest in ‘spirituality’ is not the same as the practice of virtue. An interest in spirituality can be highly dangerous, for the devil is a spiritual being. This is especially visible in cases of interest in heterodox or Non-Christian spirituality, such as ‘Franciscanism’ (which, as nineteenth-century Russian saints repeatedly pointed out, is the very definition of spiritual delusion) or interest in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist ‘spirituality’.

Spiritualism, with its disincarnate, Neo-Gnostic lack of focus can be seen incarnate in the unfocused iconography of many representatives of the Russian Paris emigration. The lack of sharpness and clarity in their icons signals their disincarnate spirit. This represents a false holiness, not holiness at all, but a lack of ability to penetrate inside the Church on account of an impurity of spirit.

Phyletism against Catholicity
The Catholicity of the Church is distanced by phyletism, which comes from the Greek word for race. The word could be expressed in English as racism, and is sometimes expressed by the words nationalism or ‘ethnicism’. It is particularly common among Greek and other Balkan Orthodox, who endured the Turkish yoke and its millet system. This is why phyletism was first defined in Constantinople in the nineteenth century. However, other Orthodox are by no means immune to phyletism and we have seen many examples of it in ROCOR and other parts of the Russian Church. Nevertheless, ironically, we have seen it at its most virulent among ex-Anglican Orthodox, where, for example, only English is used, with a token use of mispronounced foreign languages, and a subtle but hurtful form of anti-Greek, anti-Romanian or anti-Russian racism operates. A recent example of this is a demand by a recent American convert for an ‘American Patriarch’. Did this mean a short back and sides, beardless, American bishop who gives sermons while chewing gum? What we all need in our respective countries is holy patriarchs – their nationalities are utterly irrelevant. If there is no holiness, how can anyone be saved? Nationality is simply not a criterion.

Phyletism, or as we would rather call it, racism, excludes Orthodox who do not belong to the majority nationality of a particular church. Only recently, and not far from here, we came across a case of a group who excluded an English Orthodox from their services and communion because he was ‘not dark enough to be one of us’. Apparently, fair hair or blue eyes were equivalent to excommunication. We also came across another case where Non-Serbs were forbidden to venerate an icon of St Sava, for ‘he can only be venerated by Serbs’. Such cases are too frequent to mention here.

Phyletism speaks and acts against the catholicity, that is, universality in all times and places, of the Church. It divides racially and is against any solution to the diaspora canonical problem of multiple ‘jurisdictions’ or dioceses on the same geographical territory. The solution to this problem is clear – it existed in North America before the Russian Revolution, where multiple nationalities were united in one common Diocese. Those who broke that unity then will have much to answer for at the end of time.

Aestheticism against Apostolicity
The Apostolicity of the Church is distanced by aestheticism. This means that the depth of the Church’s teaching, preached and expressed by the apostles in their confession and martyrdom, is contradicted by a superficial attitude to Church life. Those who come to church to light a candle do well, while they are there, but they stay for only a few minutes. Today this aestheticism is perhaps the greatest problem of all, for this evil of nominalism affects the majority of baptised Orthodox. Those who view the Church as a piece of theatre, those who come to be moved by the (all too often) Italianate singing, or to venerate the (all too often) Italianate icons, those who are moved by the smell of incense, are all missing the point.

Aestheticism views the church as an emotional experience which is fine for twenty minutes a few times a year. It fails to understand the great spiritual and therefore moral truths of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, of the Redemption. The Church exists because of the blood of the Martyrs and the sufferings of the Confessors. Without suffering, there would be no Church, the Church, the Body of Christ, is founded on the Blood of Christ, the Eucharist is founded on His Body and Blood. A shallow and superficial approach to Church life, typical of nominalism, will not lead to a righteous, let alone holy, way of life. And we shall be judged on how we led our lives, not on our inevitably impure emotions.

Aestheticism acts against the Apostolicty of the Church, it contradicts the depth of the spiritual experience of the apostles, who toiled and suffered for the benefit of mankind, recalling that the Chief Apostle is Christ Himself, sent by the Father for the redemption of all mankind. It completely overlooks our vital commitment to the great spiritual and moral truths which all Orthodox are called on to embody in our daily life.

Conclusion
The four characteristics which define the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church are summed up in the single word, Orthodox. This is why we speak of ‘The Orthodox Church’, a short way of saying ‘The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’. This is why, if we should fall into any of the above isms, intellectualism, spiritualism, phyletism or aestheticism, we inevitably fall away from the Orthodox Church. Let us be on our guard, in sobriety keeping vigil over ourselves against these four different delusions: ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour’ (I Peter 5, 8 ).

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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 02:41:03 AM »

http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/obstacles.htm

Introduction
It is not unusual to hear of people saying that someone ‘has become Orthodox’, when what they really mean is that someone ‘has joined the Orthodox Church’. For it is one thing to join the Church, to become formally a member of the Body of Christ, but quite another to become inwardly Orthodox, that is, to enter deeply and truly into the spirit and way of life of the Church. Most Orthodox clergy do not receive people into the Church too quickly and without adequate catechism, but even so there is an attrition rate. Over the years we have, for example, seen dozens of people joining the Church but never becoming Orthodox, as can be seen from their lapses or schisms into sects, cults or para-ecclesial groupings. Moreover, we have seen this happening tragically, even after decades of formal membership of the Church.

This is not a question only, say, of the many English people, who later lapse from the Orthodox Church, once the initial burst of enthusiasm has burned itself out, but it is also true of Russians, Greeks and others. Thus, for instance, we know of one second generation Russian in London who over thirty years ago had himself circumcised and became a Jew, or of a Russian professor of the first generation who had his children baptised Anglican, for, as he said, ‘we are in England now’. On the other hand, no fewer than six of the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of London are Greek Cypriots. Having been born and brought up in England, they long ago decided that Orthodoxy was only for Greeks, but that, since they were now English, they would become Anglicans. Countless other examples of apostasy could be cited, including the large numbers of second and third generation Russians in France who became Roman Catholics.

What then are the obstacles to becoming Orthodox, in the genuine sense? Where do people go wrong? In order to discover this, we must first of all look at this issue in the light of the four qualities of the Church, as defined by our Creed. In this, the Church is defined as ‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic’. It is in their light that we shall find answers to our question.

Intellectualism against Oneness
The Unity of the Church is distanced by intellectualism. This danger is particularly strong among converts in Western countries. Intellectualism challenges the Oneness or Unity of the Church, for every intellectual trend is divisive, creating both supporters and enemies, who say that they are of Paul, of Apollos and of Cephas, but not of Christ (I Cor 1, 12). We should not forget that all the great heretics were intellectuals, from the Hellenes and Gnostics of the first century, to Arius and Nestorius and to today’s modernist and renovationist Neo-Gnostics. The influence of these latter is particularly strong in countries of the Russian emigration, notably in France and the USA, but also in Belgium and England.

The intellectualist trend comes from outside the Church, from the heterodox world. There it is commonly believed that the faith can only be understood by the reason or intellect. This rationalism is hostile to the ethos of the Church, where we believe and know from experience that knowledge does not come from the fallen human reason, but from the purification of the heart. Indeed, it is only once the heart is purified, through ascetic practices of prayer and fasting and the sacraments joined together, that the reason or intellect can be enlightened. In other words, in the Church, knowledge comes to us through struggling against sin and battling for virtue, by following the commandments, and not through vain booklore. The latter merely puffs up and makes its willing victims into idle self-flattered playthings of the devil, pretentious reasoners who inspire either mockery or pity on the part of others.

Intellectualism divides, for its adepts in their cliques and clans work against the Unity of the Church, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13, 8 ). Unity can be found only by remaining faithful to the Tradition, the deposit entrusted to the saints which we are called on to guard (1 Timothy 6, 20). In novelties we can be sure to find the intellectualist spirit, foreign to the Living God and His Church.

Ouch and ouch.  As a fairly recent covert to Orthodoxy from 30 years as a Protestant this is surely my weakness.  Everything in my being tells me to examine everything carefully, test everything and hold to that which is good and run from that which is evil like Paul commands in the Bible.  W/in Protestantism one must intellectually examine everything or you will be led astray by one of the myriad of spiritual teachings and fads that race through it.  I was quite well informed w/ many things Protestant but I feel I'm having to play catch-up w/ Orthodoxy.  How do I find balance?  I want to know and be able to defend my new faith.  Plus, I have gone through terrible spasms of doubt about various things w/in Orthodoxy and have been seriously discouraged to find what a mess the Church is in America and abroad.  My natural tendency is to study and found out what is true.  What else can I do? 

I have hung onto the Church so far despite what I believe to be the Devil's attempt to draw me and my family back out of the Church.  I won't quit though.  Articles like this are sobering yet give me some direction. 
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 07:35:21 AM »

Ditto, friend.
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2009, 09:29:50 AM »

I want to know and be able to defend my new faith.  Plus, I have gone through terrible spasms of doubt about various things w/in Orthodoxy and have been seriously discouraged to find what a mess the Church is in America and abroad.  My natural tendency is to study and found out what is true.  What else can I do? 

I hear ya, friend. I live mostly by my head also, and I went through a similar process. One thing to think about is that Orthodoxy is meant to be lived - sort of like Christ says "Take and eat," not necessarily "Take and understand every nuance of the theology of the Eucharist." Naturally I'm not saying that we should abandon any attempt to learn or understand, (and if you could see the stack of books on my bedside table, you'd know that!)but we could study Orthodoxy for many lifetimes and never even scratch the surface.
While I am certainly aware of deficiencies in people that make up the Church, when I am perfect myself, then I'll become discouraged by their mistakes and the mess they've made.
We are all sinners working out our salvation in fear and trembling.
The thing is that Orthodoxy is what the Church has always taught and believed at times, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.
My advice, FWIW? Let yourself experience Orthodoxy: pray the prayers, attend all the services and catechism classes you are able to, read Holy Scripture, especially the Psalms. Talk to your priest.
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2009, 12:00:20 PM »

Excellent post, d'akuju Uki!
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2009, 01:34:43 PM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2009, 05:51:17 PM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

At first glance, that irritated me too. Then, I noticed that he had used the word "intellectualism" and looked for a definition. The closest I came was "There it is commonly believed that the faith can only be understood by the reason or intellect." Notice the qualifier "only"! I agree with his critique if he is arguing against extreme forms of rationalism (or intellectualism). It is impossible, nor is it a desirable, to forgo rational thinking for we are not built that way. It would take an act of the will to do so and I think it would be an unbalanced approach to faith.
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2009, 06:18:32 PM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

At first glance, that irritated me too. Then, I noticed that he had used the word "intellectualism" and looked for a definition. The closest I came was "There it is commonly believed that the faith can only be understood by the reason or intellect." Notice the qualifier "only"! I agree with his critique if he is arguing against extreme forms of rationalism (or intellectualism). It is impossible, nor is it a desirable, to forgo rational thinking for we are not built that way. It would take an act of the will to do so and I think it would be an unbalanced approach to faith.
Good points.
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2009, 09:18:51 PM »

Thanks for posting this.












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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2009, 09:40:25 PM »


Ouch and ouch.  As a fairly recent covert to Orthodoxy from 30 years as a Protestant this is surely my weakness.  Everything in my being tells me to examine everything carefully, test everything and hold to that which is good and run from that which is evil like Paul commands in the Bible.  W/in Protestantism one must intellectually examine everything or you will be led astray by one of the myriad of spiritual teachings and fads that race through it.  I was quite well informed w/ many things Protestant but I feel I'm having to play catchup w/ Orthodoxy.  How do I find balance?  I want to know and be able to defend my new faith.  Plus, I have gone through terrible spasms of doubt about various things w/in Orthodoxy and have been seriously discouraged to find what a mess the Church is in America and abroad.  My natural tendency is to study and found out what is true.  What else can I do? 

I have hung onto the Church so far despite what I believe to be the Devil's attempt to draw me and my family back out of the Church.  I won't quit though.  Articles like this are sobering yet give me some direction. 
One thing you can take comfort in is the consistency of the Orthodox Church over time which is something  you can' t say for the protestant church or any other for that matter.  Secondly, God is still God; the scripture says be anxious for nothing but with all prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God and He will give you the peace which passes all understanding which will guard your heart and mind in Christ.    And in James the scriptures tell us; Submit to God resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Although I am sure you know these things sometimes a reminder is helpful. Smiley   May God Bless you and your family.
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 10:58:19 AM »

Somehow I am reminded about this from the Screwtape Letters:
"I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian...There is no need to despair; hundreds of these adult converts have been reclaimed after a brief sojourn in the Enemy's camp and are now with us.
      ...One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do riot mean the Church as we see her spread but through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes I our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather in oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like "the body of Christ" and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy's side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.
      ...Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His "free" lovers and servants—"sons" is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to "do it on their own". And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.

      I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course if they do—if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner—then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question "If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?" You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won't come into his head. He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit-balance in the Enemy's ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these "smug", commonplace neighbours at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can.

     

Your affectionate uncle
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2009, 03:21:13 PM »

Yea, I don't know.  Much of the article is very good, but I have never liked this whole distinction, which is NOT found in the Tradition, between becoming Orthodox and joining the Church.   In fact, the 6th Ecumenical Council is clear that we "make them" Orthodox Christian before they are received.  I recall Fr. Eugene Pappas in the early 90's stating that the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils stated that the peculiarities of praxis are nice, but that the Fathers of the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical councils said, this, the creed, is the Orthodox Faith (indeed, the creed is the symbol of the Orthodox Faith, and of course is further clarified by the various horoi of the other councils).   One need not question life issues who affirms truly that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of Life and lives it.   One need not question whether the Orthodox Church is the true Church who affirms that the Church is One, week after week, sealed in the Eucharist which makes the Church one Body because it partakes of that One Body in the unity fo the Faith.   One need not question that the Church is what is here to make saints by joining its members mysteriously to Christ who confesses week after week that the Church is Holy because it is the Body of the Holy One, nor that it is a whole Church for all people which excludes phyletism who confess it as the Catholic Church, nor that it is the fullness of the Apostolic deposit of the Faith delivered once for all who week after week confess it as the Apostolic Church.   But otherwise, the article is good.   It has obviously struck a cord with some.
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2009, 01:17:14 AM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

A distinction should be made between learned men and intellectuals.  You are right in the sense that these men were true "intellectuals"--they were learned, well-read in philosophy, literature, history, law, etc.  But they did not believe that the Faith could only be understand by reason. 
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2009, 11:37:48 AM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

A distinction should be made between learned men and intellectuals.  You are right in the sense that these men were true "intellectuals"--they were learned, well-read in philosophy, literature, history, law, etc.  But they did not believe that the Faith could only be understand by reason. 

I see. who believes that faith can only be understood by reason?
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2009, 12:31:21 AM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

A distinction should be made between learned men and intellectuals.  You are right in the sense that these men were true "intellectuals"--they were learned, well-read in philosophy, literature, history, law, etc.  But they did not believe that the Faith could only be understand by reason. 

I see. who believes that faith can only be understood by reason?

The German rationalists and their descendants. 
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2009, 10:32:41 AM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

A distinction should be made between learned men and intellectuals.  You are right in the sense that these men were true "intellectuals"--they were learned, well-read in philosophy, literature, history, law, etc.  But they did not believe that the Faith could only be understand by reason. 

I see. who believes that faith can only be understood by reason?

The German rationalists and their descendants. 

And who are the "German rationalists" and who are their descendants exactly? (or am I the only one who is in the dark and doesn't understand who you're talking about? LOL!)

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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2009, 10:54:27 AM »

And who are the "German rationalists" and who are their descendants exactly? (or am I the only one who is in the dark and doesn't understand who you're talking about? LOL!)

Kant on the philosophical side and Schleiermacher on the exegetical. That's the basis of most systematic Reformed theology since the 18th century, and also the source of "higher criticism" of the Scriptures.

Descendants? Barth is probably the most famous. T.F. Torrance took Reformed thought in a new direction though, I think, because he spent so much time reading the Fathers. A lot of his stuff is better than even Florovsky's. Just my opinion.
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2009, 11:01:36 AM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

A distinction should be made between learned men and intellectuals.  You are right in the sense that these men were true "intellectuals"--they were learned, well-read in philosophy, literature, history, law, etc.  But they did not believe that the Faith could only be understand by reason. 

I see. who believes that faith can only be understood by reason?


That's what I'd like to know to! I don't know ANYONE who believes the faith can ONLY be understood by reason. Even Thomas Aquinas would have never said that, (and is who I assume the article is directing comments at). I also know of no Protestants that would say such a thing either, and in fact, they'd argue those of us in the Apostolic Churches are more inclined to use the intellect than they are.

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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2009, 11:02:55 AM »

Its interesting that the points out that heretics have been "intellectuals" while failing to recognize that great saints and theologians were also intellectuals. These might include Sts. Justin Martyr, Jerome, Agustine, Athanasius, John Crysotmos, John Damascene, Iraneaus etc.

A distinction should be made between learned men and intellectuals.  You are right in the sense that these men were true "intellectuals"--they were learned, well-read in philosophy, literature, history, law, etc.  But they did not believe that the Faith could only be understand by reason. 

I see. who believes that faith can only be understood by reason?

The German rationalists and their descendants. 

And who are the "German rationalists" and who are their descendants exactly? (or am I the only one who is in the dark and doesn't understand who you're talking about? LOL!)


I had in mind the exegetes involved with Higher Criticism and those who into our own time follow along similar lines--e.g. Schliermacher, Strauss, Bultmann, Jesus Seminar folk. 

The comments of the article do seem directed towards Western Christians in general.   
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« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2009, 11:06:16 AM »

And who are the "German rationalists" and who are their descendants exactly? (or am I the only one who is in the dark and doesn't understand who you're talking about? LOL!)

Kant on the philosophical side and Schleiermacher on the exegetical. That's the basis of most systematic Reformed theology since the 18th century, and also the source of "higher criticism" of the Scriptures.


Thank you! But I admit I still have no idea who these people are...LOL! I appreciate the names and will be looking them up though. Looks like I've got some reading to do. Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2009, 11:08:11 AM »


I had in mind the exegetes involved with Higher Criticism and those who into our own time follow along similar lines--e.g. Schliermacher, Strauss, Bultmann, Jesus Seminar folk.  

Ok, thanks! I gotchya now! Smiley

Though saying the Jesus Seminar use the intellect to understand "faith" might be a bit of a stretch seeing as how a large a majority are a bunch of atheists, but I see what line of thought you're refering to now.

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« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2009, 11:10:12 AM »

Quote
Though saying the Jesus Seminar use the intellect to understand "faith" might be a bit of a stretch seeing as how a large a majority are a bunch of atheists, but I see what line of thought you're refering to now.

How dare you impugn the faith of the Borg!
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« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2009, 11:25:03 AM »

I don't know ANYONE who believes the faith can ONLY be understood by reason.

I'm treading on ground that I'm not all that familiar with, but, pretty much all 18th, 19th and early 20th century theologians in the West were very concerned with epistemology. Even Roman Catholics (e.g. Newman) spent a lot of time on it. They saw it as one of the foundational, most important questions of theological science (their words). Even called it the "doctrine of knowledge".

As far as I understand it, one of Barth's big revolutions was reframing systematic theology around a "doctrine of God", "doctrine of revelation" and/or "doctrine of Christ."
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« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2009, 11:53:35 AM »

Quote
Though saying the Jesus Seminar use the intellect to understand "faith" might be a bit of a stretch seeing as how a large a majority are a bunch of atheists, but I see what line of thought you're refering to now.

How dare you impugn the faith of the Borg!

Ah, the religion of the Collective. 
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« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2009, 12:58:20 PM »

Just a reminder of the purpose of the Convert Issues Forum as we are beginning to get very complicated and opinionated lately.

Beloved in the Lord,

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

If the moderators find that the discusions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster,You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or arguement. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

In Christ,
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« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2009, 11:40:12 PM »

Grace and Peace,

Well, I am very glad to say that my obstacles to becoming Orthodox have slowly one by one being shed. Glory be to God.
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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2009, 10:27:12 AM »

Grace and Peace,

Well, I am very glad to say that my obstacles to becoming Orthodox have slowly one by one being shed. Glory be to God.

That is wonderful.  Glory to God indeed. 
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