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Author Topic: Why Evangelicals Turn to the Church Fathers  (Read 12505 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 07, 2009, 01:22:44 PM »

Quote
Wilken made several key points about the Fathers’ nonliteral and image-laden reading of the Bible.

1. The New Testament authors clearly applied Old Testament texts in ways that departed seriously from the plain, surface meaning of the text. When Paul cites Psalm 19 in Romans 10 (“their voice is gone out into all the world”), he applies the Psalmist’s statement about the heavens to the preaching of the apostles. This runs against the plain meaning, said Wilken.

2. The books of Scripture do not bear their own significance. They must be united to something greater, which is Christ. Thus Paul interprets the creation of man and woman as a great mystery, which is Christ and the church; and he interprets the water-giving rock in the Sinai desert as Christ.

3. Typically, such creative renderings of the Bible are focused on the Old Testament. That is because the Old Testament text signifies Christ, but the New Testament text does not signify another Christ. It requires no allegory or analogy to reveal the Incarnate Word.

4. The Fathers also understood the interpretation of Scripture to require the reader’s participation in the spiritual reality of the text. Thus it is not enough to say that Christ was crucified. We must also say, “I am crucified with Christ,” and thus also I am raised with Christ.
* * *

All of this is new territory for many evangelical Protestants.

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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 01:50:38 PM »

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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 03:16:31 PM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 03:35:47 PM »

Well, the rare Calvinist Evangelical will extol the musings of Blessed Augustine of Hippo, but he's the only one I've ever heard an evangelical talk about.

"Oh, you're into ancient Christianity?  I love Augustine!"

But then whenever I inquired which writings they liked the best, I got vague answers that made me question if they'd actually read his material, or if they just knew the name.

Of course I can't point the finger too much, because I only started reading patristics two years ago when I encountered Orthodoxy.  May God have mercy on us all in these dark times!
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 03:31:47 PM »

Three years ago, I was one of the few Protestants who read the Church Fathers.  Problem is...or maybe it's a good thing :-) - the more I read them, the more it made me question what I was being taught as a Protestant.  Thankfully the young adults pastor at my church also read them, and encouraged me to check out the Orthodox Church...apparently he wanted to convert but decided to try to change the church from the inside out.  But my point is...I think Evangelucals who are well-versed in the church fathers tend to move out of the Evangelical Church into a more liturgical or intellectual church, leaving behind the type of Evangelicals you typically see or hear about.  Many are sincere....and I think more would move towards Orthodoxy if they were introduced to it with an open mind.  I pray each day that my family will become Orthodox. 
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2009, 04:31:19 PM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

 LMBO!  Cheesy Cheesy That was flippin' excellent, Scamandrius!  So glad I wasn't taking a drink of anything!  Honestly though, I think you're probably right; I ask Protestants (mostly Baptists, but Evangelicals too) what they think of the Church Fathers and early Christian texts.  The best response I've ever gotten was, "You mean like the Puritans?".  Smiley  Priceless. 
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 04:43:03 PM »

The general feeling at my Southern Baptist University seemed to be that the Church Fathers were quaint, confused old men who meant well but got caught up in wandering in deserts and caves before they could revolutionize the world ( Roll Eyes).  Then somewhere along the way, the big bad Roman Catholic Church hijacked Christianity and Luther swooped in to save the day (or Zwingli or whatever flavor they preferred that day).  There was also a feeling that even the earliest of Church Fathers had already lost their way from the true kernel of Christianity in the New Testament, even though these were the same people who canonized the texts.  I didn't take the university's History of Christianity, but from the other bible classes I took, they seemed to gloss over everything except the parts that directly effected and affected Baptist history and theology.
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2009, 08:53:00 PM »

Then somewhere along the way, the big bad Roman Catholic Church hijacked Christianity and Luther swooped in to save the day (or Zwingli or whatever flavor they preferred that day).

Ah, yes, the Great Apostasy.
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2009, 04:03:14 PM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

I doubt it was for lack of prayer beads or candles. The real issue here was the immense hubris which I hope isn't present in Orthodoxy. All the praying to God like he's a genie, asking for the healing of finances, oh give me a break..

Pentecostals do outreaches on campuses and other places and tend to target college age kids and there is a reason for it. This is the new generation that will raise children, contribute to ministries, etc. It's not necessarily wrong, but the motives behind it may be.

I honestly suspect [ IF Christianity is true ] that many protestants are really doing what God wants them to do and many Orthodox Christians may be too. My issue is with the clergy of the protestant movements. Because these people are either always trying to guilt trip me into accepting Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God himself, or get my money. I could stomach the first part of that, but they seem to be preoccupied with the second goal.

Seldom in my life have a I met clergy within the christian faith that humbly gave his plate of food at after the service to a beggar than the time I first met the parish priest at the local Greek Orthodox church. There was no pride in him, nor presumed overextended authority.

I met somewhere around 3 priests due to a horrible accident that my Parish's priest children had been in so he was out of town with his children in a hospital. I met the Presbyter, the Bishop, a Russian Orthodox Monastic [visiting from his skete i suppose], and two other priests. These men seemed humble beyond compare. They let their religion speak for itself.

So often you see Protestant missionaries trying to sneak Jesus into someone's heart like a trojan horse, Jews for Jesus, Messianic Judaism, on and on and on. I don't hate these people, but I do feel like if they'd be honest and simply tell people that they are Christians they would be above some of the hatred they garner.

Protestants deracinate their own heritage by attacking the other branches of Christianity and denying the possibility that the Holy Spirit is present and was present in these churches to begin with. I find this ammusing because it basically erases Christ from the earth for about 1500 yrs. and I thought christians were supposed to be proclaiming him. It's almost like they just want to basically be the early church and let the true early church be nothing. I think it's an unhealthy obsession and using a Bible canon compiled basically by orthodox Christians and then slapping them in the face and saying that they worship Mariam is the most illogical thing I've ever seen.

They want to replace St. John Chrysostom w/ Paster John Hagee, or Billy Graham, or Benny Hinn [ God forbide ], and expect that people are going to not laugh at them when they deny the possibility of evolution. They can't enjoy classical music and have to change the channel to Christian music station when they get into your car. They try to manufacture miracles by praying in tongues. All this stuff is a bunch of magic and sorcery designed to manipulate congregates into thinking it's actually the Holy Spirit. Then there is the lovely theology of original  All of this shoots Christianity full of holes, and causes me to run away.

This is why when I began to study Judaism, I concluded Christianity was a brainwashing horrible fertility cult that was really designed to make money. These wealthy celebrity pastors will all have to face God one day. They better hope its the Jewish or Islamic concept of God and not the seat of Christ because that passage in Luke about passing through the eye of a needle applies here.

Forgive me if my writing is bitter, I'm still full of venom...but I go with the truth no matter who it hurts. If I can find scriptural evidence without the manipulations of intentional mistranslation I will accept whatever I find and trust God.



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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2009, 05:13:48 PM »

Before we sit around poo-poo'ing the Evangelicals for not reading the Church Fathers I'd like to remind the forum that your average Orthodox Parishoner doesn't go home to read the writings of St. Athanasius or St. John Chrysostom and the like. As a matter of fact, it's usually only the converts that bother to read them.

Most cradle Orthodox are satisfied with the services of the Church, the Bible, and their prayer books, as truly, this is the only theology you need.
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2009, 05:35:31 PM »

Seldom in my life have a I met clergy within the christian faith that humbly gave his plate of food at after the service to a beggar than the time I first met the parish priest at the local Greek Orthodox church. There was no pride in him, nor presumed overextended authority.

I met somewhere around 3 priests due to a horrible accident that my Parish's priest children had been in so he was out of town with his children in a hospital. I met the Presbyter, the Bishop, a Russian Orthodox Monastic [visiting from his skete i suppose], and two other priests. These men seemed humble beyond compare. They let their religion speak for itself.

Orthodox clergy are human, just as Pentecostal clergy are.  While the vast majority of Orthodox priests I've known have been good, humble people who sacrifice much for the sake of others, I don't want you to become disillusioned the moment you meet someone who doesn't live up to the ideal.  Also, I've known Protestant clergy who are good, Christ-loving people.  You can't paint all of them with the same brush.




Quote
Protestants deracinate their own heritage by attacking the other branches of Christianity and denying the possibility that the Holy Spirit is present and was present in these churches to begin with. I find this ammusing because it basically erases Christ from the earth for about 1500 yrs. and I thought christians were supposed to be proclaiming him. It's almost like they just want to basically be the early church and let the true early church be nothing. I think it's an unhealthy obsession and using a Bible canon compiled basically by orthodox Christians and then slapping them in the face and saying that they worship Mariam is the most illogical thing I've ever seen.

I think you hit the nail on the head here.  A lot of converts will list this as one of their reasons (if not the reason) why they left Protestantism to convert to Orthodoxy.



Quote
Forgive me if my writing is bitter, I'm still full of venom...

I think people here will understand.   Smiley  It takes time to heal.
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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2009, 05:50:16 PM »

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Most cradle Orthodox are satisfied with the services of the Church, the Bible, and their prayer books, as truly, this is the only theology you need.

Well if you want to push things, nature is all the theology you need. So said some of the saints, anyway. But why limit yourself if you don't have to?  But then I'm one of those egg-headed converts, so what do I know?  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2009, 05:53:28 PM »

Before we sit around poo-poo'ing the Evangelicals for not reading the Church Fathers I'd like to remind the forum that your average Orthodox Parishoner doesn't go home to read the writings of St. Athanasius or St. John Chrysostom and the like. As a matter of fact, it's usually only the converts that bother to read them.

Most cradle Orthodox are satisfied with the services of the Church, the Bible, and their prayer books, as truly, this is the only theology you need.
I think you're quite right with all these comments. However, at least the cradle Orthodox are mostly familiar with names like St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory (any one of several), St. Nicholas; they may not be able to put specific teachings to any specific name, but their worship at church and in private is infused with the wisdom of the Fathers. The average modern Evangelical has no concept of any of them and their writing. Christian (i.e. Evangelical) retail book sellers will tell you that a book (and maybe even the author) has a shelf life of under three months. After that, something new has to be on the shelf.
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« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2009, 05:57:01 PM »

Quote
Most cradle Orthodox are satisfied with the services of the Church, the Bible, and their prayer books, as truly, this is the only theology you need.

Well if you want to push things, nature is all the theology you need. So said some of the saints, anyway. But why limit yourself if you don't have to?  But then I'm one of those egg-headed converts, so what do I know?  Wink

I'm not suggesting that anyone should limit themselves to these things; what I am saying is that we should not judge Evangelicals who do not read the Church Fathers when most Orthodox Christians don't read the writings of the Church Fathers.

Although most cradle Orthodox Christians may have heard of St. Athanasius or St. John Chrysostom, what they wrote and how it has impacted the theology of the Church they could not tell you.
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« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2009, 06:09:32 PM »

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Most cradle Orthodox are satisfied with the services of the Church, the Bible, and their prayer books, as truly, this is the only theology you need.

Well if you want to push things, nature is all the theology you need. So said some of the saints, anyway. But why limit yourself if you don't have to?  But then I'm one of those egg-headed converts, so what do I know?  Wink

I'm not suggesting that anyone should limit themselves to these things; what I am saying is that we should not judge Evangelicals who do not read the Church Fathers when most Orthodox Christians don't read the writings of the Church Fathers.

Although most cradle Orthodox Christians may have heard of St. Athanasius or St. John Chrysostom, what they wrote and how it has impacted the theology of the Church they could not tell you.

Ok, I misunderstood your point, I can agree with what you're saying.
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« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2009, 09:07:48 PM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

Sarcastic, disparaging, and misleading statements like this do little to advance authentic Orthodoxy. Criticize evangelical worship styles all you want, but no Orthodox Christian should criticize other Christian efforts to defend Orthodox morality.

Selam
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« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2009, 11:56:17 PM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

Sarcastic, disparaging, and misleading statements like this do little to advance authentic Orthodoxy. Criticize evangelical worship styles all you want, but no Orthodox Christian should criticize other Christian efforts to defend Orthodox morality.

Selam

Agreed. At least these people are sincere in what they're doing.
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« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2009, 11:59:59 PM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

Sarcastic, disparaging, and misleading statements like this do little to advance authentic Orthodoxy. Criticize evangelical worship styles all you want, but no Orthodox Christian should criticize other Christian efforts to defend Orthodox morality.

Selam


I agree! Protesting against abortion is a virtue! I wonder if scamandrius feels the sameway about the evangelicals that protested against American and British slavery of western and central Africans? Or even before that, when the Franks(western europeans) used eastern Europeans as slaves? .....This was before they(western Europe) found Africans to enslave.

Protesting against such things is always a virtue........not a vice!







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« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2009, 12:44:58 AM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

Sarcastic, disparaging, and misleading statements like this do little to advance authentic Orthodoxy. Criticize evangelical worship styles all you want, but no Orthodox Christian should criticize other Christian efforts to defend Orthodox morality.

Selam


I agree! Protesting against abortion is a virtue! I wonder if scamandrius feels the sameway about the evangelicals that protested against American and British slavery of western and central Africans? Or even before that, when the Franks(western europeans) used eastern Europeans as slaves? .....This was before they(western Europe) found Africans to enslave.

Protesting against such things is always a virtue........not a vice!







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I don't think Scamandrius was saying what you all think he was. What I got from it (I could be wrong), was that the obnoxious social activism in Protestantism is not a good witness for authentic Christianity. I would agree with him, in the sense that the anathematizing that some Protestants are wont to do is not an example of authentic Christianity, but is a major turn-off for some people. However, I think we should allow Scamandrius to comment before we heap coals on him.

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« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2009, 12:54:30 AM »

Regarding evangelicals not reading the early Church fathers:
O contrare, mon frare!
Many evangelicals are indeed reading the fathers.
Thomas Oden was one of the first to advance this trend.
Wilken himself was part of this trend, then converted to the Catholic Church.
Then there is the Ancient Christian commentary series published by InterVarsity Press (a major evangelical publishing house).
There is ancientchristianfaith.org (a Presbyterian and a Pentecostal run this site)

Granted, the average guy in the pew may be oblivious, but a new generation of evangelical theological students are getting greater exposure to the Fathers through some of this new scholarship than ever did in previous decades
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« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2009, 01:11:09 AM »

I don't think the evangelicals ever read the Church Fathers.  Their lack of praise bands, hands in the air like you just don't care, abortion protests, protests against gay marriage make them extraordinarily suspect today as lenses for authentic Christianity.

Do you mean because the early Christians were too busy rescuing abandoned babies (the abortion practice of that culture) and reading St. Paul's intro to Romans (the wrath of God is revealed against all manner of unrighteousness...likewise the men burned with lust for one another, committing what is shameful...God gave them over to a debased mind), refining the liturgies of early Christianity (St. Mark, St. James, St. Basil, St. Chrysostom, St. Gregory) and lifting holy hands in prayer?

 
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« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2009, 01:31:25 AM »

Sorry, but the Protestantism I came out bears absolutely no resemblance to what scamand. Gabriel and Yakov excoriate.

In fact, the Protestants I was associated with were closer to what I found in Orthdoxy than they were to what (especially to what Yakov's post) these posts decry.

Not all Protestants, nor Evangelicals, are so whacked out as you describe. Please do some research and don't display such ignorance in painting all of them with the broadest brush from the worst extremes.
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« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2009, 03:23:42 PM »

Sorry, but the Protestantism I came out bears absolutely no resemblance to what scamand. Gabriel and Yakov excoriate.

In fact, the Protestants I was associated with were closer to what I found in Orthdoxy than they were to what (especially to what Yakov's post) these posts decry.

Not all Protestants, nor Evangelicals, are so whacked out as you describe. Please do some research and don't display such ignorance in painting all of them with the broadest brush from the worst extremes.

I share your thoughts and your experience.

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« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2009, 02:57:43 AM »

Quote
There is ancientchristianfaith.org (a Presbyterian and a Pentecostal run this site)

I know them. Well, I know the Presbyterian guy more than I do the other one. I met him a couple years ago at an Orthodox Bible Study, then I met him again, one wednesday night in March when they first started this program/courses.








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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2009, 09:52:48 AM »

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Wilken made several key points about the Fathers’ nonliteral and image-laden reading of the Bible.

1. The New Testament authors clearly applied Old Testament texts in ways that departed seriously from the plain, surface meaning of the text. When Paul cites Psalm 19 in Romans 10 (“their voice is gone out into all the world”), he applies the Psalmist’s statement about the heavens to the preaching of the apostles. This runs against the plain meaning, said Wilken.

2. The books of Scripture do not bear their own significance. They must be united to something greater, which is Christ. Thus Paul interprets the creation of man and woman as a great mystery, which is Christ and the church; and he interprets the water-giving rock in the Sinai desert as Christ.

3. Typically, such creative renderings of the Bible are focused on the Old Testament. That is because the Old Testament text signifies Christ, but the New Testament text does not signify another Christ. It requires no allegory or analogy to reveal the Incarnate Word.

4. The Fathers also understood the interpretation of Scripture to require the reader’s participation in the spiritual reality of the text. Thus it is not enough to say that Christ was crucified. We must also say, “I am crucified with Christ,” and thus also I am raised with Christ.
* * *

All of this is new territory for many evangelical Protestants.



What I find, and what I was guilty of myself, those who search the Church Fathers do it to find quotes to support their particular brand of theology.   Unfortunately what they end up doing, though most likely not intentionally is taking quotes out of context and miss the whole teaching and view of the writing.
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« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2009, 10:32:24 AM »

You might be missing the point to some extent. What is lamentable is not that most Evangelicals do not read the early Fathers, but that they do not read much serious stuff at all. But I find that they are warmly appreciative if, when preaching or leading a Bible study, I quote passages from sources other than Evangelical, such as the Anglo-Saxon church (Wulfstan, Ælfric etc), the mediæval Catholics (Bernard, Aelred, etc), even the Copts (Shenouda III, to whom someone on this forum pointed me), the early Moravians (who were Evangelicals, but of a different place and age), and (more of Handmaiden's sinister music here, please) even some modern Catholics (Thérèse). We are to feed the Lord's lambs and sheep, and as we do they savour and appreciate the nourishment given, but many will probably not read seriously for themselves. Those who do, admittedly, will largely opt for weightier Evangelical writings (Tozer, Piper etc).

Another aspect of the problem, at least in Britain, is that books are expensive. I get virtually all mine second-hand or with book tokens after Yule and birthday. People who visit the USA come back drooling over the price of books there, and with their treasured new purchases in their luggage (or is it baggage then?).

Thirdly, it is hard to find patristic writings. I know of only one shop in all England which sells paperback patristics (from St Vladimir's, Crestwood), and even then they are about £10 a book. You might reply, "But it's all on the Internet". Schaff is, but his style is like wading through porridge: I actually found the Albanian translation of Chrysostom easier to follow than Schaff. And anyway, not everyone is computerate: some of us like to light the fire, sit back in an armchair with a glass of whisky, and read throughfully and prayerfully to the background of the whisper of the lambent flames. Looking at a computer screen is like being at work.

Lastly, I believe there is a nascent interest in the Fathers among Evangelicals, as one or two previous posts seem to confirm, as well as a number of recent new books. I hope it grows: perhaps you Orthodox have a role to play in helping that happen.
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« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2009, 01:08:40 PM »

Put it this way: it is unlikely that a lot of Evangelicals will turn to Catholicism for spiritual nourishment. We grow up not to be attracted to things Catholic. So what do we do if we want something beyond the usual parameters or boundaries of Evangelicalism? I have written a number of times on the threads that I feel Orthdooxy has much to offer the wider church, but I know that not all of you agree that there is "a wider church". This now is partly in response to a post on the Evangelical Mindset thread which wonders whether I am being drawn to convert to Orthodoxy. I don't think I am: I feel at home in my Baptist context, and I believe the Lord is there and meets and blesses me in it. But Baptists do not have the concept of "the fulness" of the church in our own denomination which you have about Orthodoxy, and there is much lush grazing to be found outside our own folds. If you claim the eastern Fathers as yours, plus more recent writers (we have mentioned Bulgakov, and of course there are Schmemann, Florovsky etc etc), then it would be (I think) a very good step if you could offer these to "the wider church", for it is my conviction that you have much to offer. As I have quoted before, freely you have received - freely give.

Some then, of course, will take the whole step and convert wholly to Orthodoxy - as some who post here have. Others will remain without (as I probably shall) but will be enriched. What God has given you, pass on to us others.
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« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2009, 05:40:05 PM »

Put it this way: it is unlikely that a lot of Evangelicals will turn to Catholicism for spiritual nourishment. We grow up not to be attracted to things Catholic. So what do we do if we want something beyond the usual parameters or boundaries of Evangelicalism? I have written a number of times on the threads that I feel Orthdooxy has much to offer the wider church, but I know that not all of you agree that there is "a wider church". This now is partly in response to a post on the Evangelical Mindset thread which wonders whether I am being drawn to convert to Orthodoxy. I don't think I am: I feel at home in my Baptist context, and I believe the Lord is there and meets and blesses me in it. But Baptists do not have the concept of "the fulness" of the church in our own denomination which you have about Orthodoxy, and there is much lush grazing to be found outside our own folds. If you claim the eastern Fathers as yours, plus more recent writers (we have mentioned Bulgakov, and of course there are Schmemann, Florovsky etc etc), then it would be (I think) a very good step if you could offer these to "the wider church", for it is my conviction that you have much to offer. As I have quoted before, freely you have received - freely give.

Some then, of course, will take the whole step and convert wholly to Orthodoxy - as some who post here have. Others will remain without (as I probably shall) but will be enriched. What God has given you, pass on to us others.

From what you have written, I was very much like you in leading group studies at the Baptist Church I attended.   I was content up until I lead a video series called "The Truth Project" by focus on the family and Dr. Del Tackett.  In the series it touched on history and sphere's of authority, though he taught from a view concerning government and God, my eye's were suddenly opened.  I realized that our Lord did give sphere's of authority and the Church was given authority being the pillar and foundation of truth by the will of our Lord.  Anyways, I haven't looked back.
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« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2010, 07:35:30 PM »

Put it this way: it is unlikely that a lot of Evangelicals will turn to Catholicism for spiritual nourishment. We grow up not to be attracted to things Catholic. So what do we do if we want something beyond the usual parameters or boundaries of Evangelicalism? I have written a number of times on the threads that I feel Orthdooxy has much to offer the wider church, but I know that not all of you agree that there is "a wider church". This now is partly in response to a post on the Evangelical Mindset thread which wonders whether I am being drawn to convert to Orthodoxy. I don't think I am: I feel at home in my Baptist context, and I believe the Lord is there and meets and blesses me in it. But Baptists do not have the concept of "the fulness" of the church in our own denomination which you have about Orthodoxy, and there is much lush grazing to be found outside our own folds. If you claim the eastern Fathers as yours, plus more recent writers (we have mentioned Bulgakov, and of course there are Schmemann, Florovsky etc etc), then it would be (I think) a very good step if you could offer these to "the wider church", for it is my conviction that you have much to offer. As I have quoted before, freely you have received - freely give.

Some then, of course, will take the whole step and convert wholly to Orthodoxy - as some who post here have. Others will remain without (as I probably shall) but will be enriched. What God has given you, pass on to us others.

From what you have written, I was very much like you in leading group studies at the Baptist Church I attended.   I was content up until I lead a video series called "The Truth Project" by focus on the family and Dr. Del Tackett.  In the series it touched on history and sphere's of authority, though he taught from a view concerning government and God, my eye's were suddenly opened.  I realized that our Lord did give sphere's of authority and the Church was given authority being the pillar and foundation of truth by the will of our Lord.  Anyways, I haven't looked back.

Sphere sovereingty was developed theologically by Abaham Kuyper, a Dutch Reformed theologian. I did a paper on him in protestant seminary. That is interesting that this concept would be the thing that would guide you into Orthdoxy.
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« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2010, 08:12:07 PM »

You might be missing the point to some extent. What is lamentable is not that most Evangelicals do not read the early Fathers, but that they do not read much serious stuff at all. But I find that they are warmly appreciative if, when preaching or leading a Bible study, I quote passages from sources other than Evangelical, such as the Anglo-Saxon church (Wulfstan, Ælfric etc), the mediæval Catholics (Bernard, Aelred, etc), even the Copts (Shenouda III, to whom someone on this forum pointed me), the early Moravians (who were Evangelicals, but of a different place and age), and (more of Handmaiden's sinister music here, please) even some modern Catholics (Thérèse). We are to feed the Lord's lambs and sheep, and as we do they savour and appreciate the nourishment given, but many will probably not read seriously for themselves. Those who do, admittedly, will largely opt for weightier Evangelical writings (Tozer, Piper etc).

Another aspect of the problem, at least in Britain, is that books are expensive. I get virtually all mine second-hand or with book tokens after Yule and birthday. People who visit the USA come back drooling over the price of books there, and with their treasured new purchases in their luggage (or is it baggage then?).

Thirdly, it is hard to find patristic writings. I know of only one shop in all England which sells paperback patristics (from St Vladimir's, Crestwood), and even then they are about £10 a book. You might reply, "But it's all on the Internet". Schaff is, but his style is like wading through porridge: I actually found the Albanian translation of Chrysostom easier to follow than Schaff. And anyway, not everyone is computerate: some of us like to light the fire, sit back in an armchair with a glass of whisky, and read throughfully and prayerfully to the background of the whisper of the lambent flames. Looking at a computer screen is like being at work.

Lastly, I believe there is a nascent interest in the Fathers among Evangelicals, as one or two previous posts seem to confirm, as well as a number of recent new books. I hope it grows: perhaps you Orthodox have a role to play in helping that happen.

I hope that Orthdox writings make their way more into the Evangelical mainstream, at least among pastors, Christian educators and serious laymen. You are quite correct that not all, in fact, not most, will convert. But Orthodox writings and their pointing to the Fathers and directing readers in that direction can only help the whole of the community of people that call themselves Christians.

And you are correct, that the spiritual DNA of Evangelicals make them highly resistant to Roman Catholic claims, which leaves Orthodoxy as the remaining viable source for Evangelicals.

Orthodoxy's opposition to papal claims of universal jurisdiction and infallibility will resonate with Evangelicals.

I think we also emphasize the prioriy of God's grace and mercy in His dealing with us, which will also resonate even as they struggle with aspects of our synergistic understanding of the process of salvation, which is wholistic, rather than dividing justification and sanctification into separate events and placing the emphasis on justification as Evangelicals tend to do - nonetheless, the priority of God's mercy in Orthodox theology will keep them tuned in as they learn about the path of salvation which they can apply to their "sanctification" process.
 
Orthodox have a high view of the Bible which will be attractive to Evangelicals.

The profound Trinitarianism of Orthodoxy will resonate with Evangelicals and its predominance will remind them that although they tend to pray in "Jesus' name" they worship and are saved by the Holy Trinity and perhaps they will be reminded to be more congnizant of all Three divine Persons.

The high Christology of Orthdoxy, the emphasis on the workings of the Holy Spirit (albeit moreso in the Church collectively than in the believer individually) and the emphasis on prayer will all speak to Evangelicals looking for more in their spiritual lives.

Better that Evangelicals (again, at least the pastors and teachers) get it straight from Orthodox sources. I hope that occurs more and more.
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« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2010, 08:35:26 PM »

Interestingly, I have seen the fathers used by evangelicals to disprove the views of other evangelicals; or groups like JWs and Mormons.
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« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2010, 10:06:36 PM »

Interestingly, I have seen the fathers used by evangelicals to disprove the views of other evangelicals; or groups like JWs and Mormons.

COME ON! Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormans ARE NOT --- I repeat --- ARE NOT Evangelicals.
They appear in Evangelical anit-cult materials of just a generation ago as just that - CULTS.

Of course they use the Fathers to refute them: the JW's are Arians and the Mormons deny the Trinity.

I will say this for about the hundreth time on OC.net: if you are going to speak out of rank ignorance of Evangelicals, please announce that you actually know very little about them before-hand so we can ignore your posts.

Or, if you are going to lump all non-Catholic heterodox together and call them evangelicals, tell us that you stereotype so broadly so that we may again ignore your posts.

Not just you, Riddikulus. But I read too much of this broad-brush garbage about Protestants and Evangelicals here and it is plain ignorance or purposeful casting in the worst light possible. It's as if some people think that we have to make them look outrageous, stupid and grossly heretical to make ourselves look good.
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« Reply #32 on: January 01, 2010, 10:08:31 PM »

Interestingly, I have seen the fathers used by evangelicals to disprove the views of other evangelicals; or groups like JWs and Mormons.

COME ON! Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormans ARE NOT --- I repeat --- ARE NOT Evangelicals.
They appear in Evangelical anit-cult materials of just a generation ago as just that - CULTS.

Apparently, you missed a small word...... *or* groups like JWs and Mormons.

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« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2010, 10:10:25 PM »

Interestingly, I have seen the fathers used by evangelicals to disprove the views of other evangelicals; or groups like JWs and Mormons.

I will say this for about the hundreth time on OC.net: if you are going to speak out of rank ignorance of Evangelicals, please announce that you actually know very little about them before-hand so we can ignore your posts.

Or, if you are going to lump all non-Catholic heterodox together and call them evangelicals, tell us that you stereotype so broadly so that we may again ignore your posts.

Not just you, Riddikulus. But I read too much of this broad-brush garbage about Protestants and Evangelicals here and it is plain ignorance or purposeful casting in the worst light possible. It's as if some people think that we have to make them look outrageous, stupid and grossly heretical to make ourselves look good.

A mistake on your part. I didn't include JWs and Mormons amongst evangelicals.  Huh
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« Reply #34 on: January 01, 2010, 10:17:51 PM »

Interestingly, I have seen the fathers used by evangelicals to disprove the views of other evangelicals; or groups like JWs and Mormons.

I will say this for about the hundreth time on OC.net: if you are going to speak out of rank ignorance of Evangelicals, please announce that you actually know very little about them before-hand so we can ignore your posts.

Or, if you are going to lump all non-Catholic heterodox together and call them evangelicals, tell us that you stereotype so broadly so that we may again ignore your posts.

Not just you, Riddikulus. But I read too much of this broad-brush garbage about Protestants and Evangelicals here and it is plain ignorance or purposeful casting in the worst light possible. It's as if some people think that we have to make them look outrageous, stupid and grossly heretical to make ourselves look good.

A mistake on your part. I didn't include JWs and Mormons amongst evangelicals.  Huh

Yes, I did err when I read your post.  I missed the word "or." I do apologize to you and say that I am sorry.
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« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2010, 10:22:10 PM »

Interestingly, I have seen the fathers used by evangelicals to disprove the views of other evangelicals; or groups like JWs and Mormons.

I will say this for about the hundreth time on OC.net: if you are going to speak out of rank ignorance of Evangelicals, please announce that you actually know very little about them before-hand so we can ignore your posts.

Or, if you are going to lump all non-Catholic heterodox together and call them evangelicals, tell us that you stereotype so broadly so that we may again ignore your posts.

Not just you, Riddikulus. But I read too much of this broad-brush garbage about Protestants and Evangelicals here and it is plain ignorance or purposeful casting in the worst light possible. It's as if some people think that we have to make them look outrageous, stupid and grossly heretical to make ourselves look good.

A mistake on your part. I didn't include JWs and Mormons amongst evangelicals.  Huh

Yes, I did err when I read your post.  I missed the word "or." I do apologize to you and say that I am sorry.


No problem. Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2010, 12:40:26 AM »

I feel at home in my Baptist context, and I believe the Lord is there and meets and blesses me in it.

Ah, cultural context.  People tend to fall back on this when they are confronted with Truth.

COME ON! Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormans ARE NOT --- I repeat --- ARE NOT Evangelicals.
They appear in Evangelical anit-cult materials of just a generation ago as just that - CULTS.

What is wrong with a cultus?  We have many cults surrounding the saints, and ultimately of course around the life-creating Trinity.
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« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2010, 01:07:08 AM »

I feel at home in my Baptist context, and I believe the Lord is there and meets and blesses me in it.

Ah, cultural context.  People tend to fall back on this when they are confronted with Truth.

COME ON! Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormans ARE NOT --- I repeat --- ARE NOT Evangelicals.
They appear in Evangelical anit-cult materials of just a generation ago as just that - CULTS.

What is wrong with a cultus?  We have many cults surrounding the saints, and ultimately of course around the life-creating Trinity.

as an academic term and in the context you are using the word, it is fine. But out in the general culture, you don't want the "c" word associated with your religion.
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« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2010, 02:50:51 AM »

as an academic term and in the context you are using the word, it is fine. But out in the general culture, you don't want the "c" word associated with your religion.

Well, I don't care to associate with the general culture's inexact language.  Should I also avoid the use of the word "catholic" for fear of confusion?
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« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2010, 07:32:02 AM »

the spiritual DNA of Evangelicals make them highly resistant to Roman Catholic claims, which leaves Orthodoxy as the remaining viable source for Evangelicals.

Orthodoxy's opposition to papal claims of universal jurisdiction and infallibility will resonate with Evangelicals.

Thank you. A very irenic and perceptive post. If I may just comment on the two parts I have extracted:

1) Most Evangelicals have hardly heard of Orthodoxy. There is a tendency to grin tolerantly when I approvingly quote Orthodox writers, practices or beliefs, though people always seem to accept and agree with what I am saying. ("People" here = Baptists.) We need more promotion of good Orthodox writings, and (as I have said before) almost all of it here in Britain is imported from the USA, which makes is very expensive and hard to find, and there is very little of it. Also, most Evangelicals who have encountered Orthodoxy (including me) have done so in countries where it is deeply and closely entwined with belligerent nationalism, so that what hits us in the face is not the ancient and rich spirituality of the Church, but its politicisation. This is a tragedy. Our people tend then not to press beyond the local nationalism to the more universal spirituality.

2) Yes - but not in the rabid spirit in which we tend at first to meet it - in my case in the outpourings of Peter Botsis - the only author on sale in English at Preveli Monastery and (I think) the Orthodox bookshop in Corfu Town (or am I thinking of Ioannina? or both?). We have enough writers of our own who write in that hot, angry spirit. When you write - as people do on this forum - of the reasons why you dismiss the Pope's claims we may well respond with a feeling of shared reasoned agreement .
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« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2010, 09:48:49 AM »

Put it this way: it is unlikely that a lot of Evangelicals will turn to Catholicism for spiritual nourishment. We grow up not to be attracted to things Catholic. So what do we do if we want something beyond the usual parameters or boundaries of Evangelicalism? I have written a number of times on the threads that I feel Orthdooxy has much to offer the wider church, but I know that not all of you agree that there is "a wider church". This now is partly in response to a post on the Evangelical Mindset thread which wonders whether I am being drawn to convert to Orthodoxy. I don't think I am: I feel at home in my Baptist context, and I believe the Lord is there and meets and blesses me in it. But Baptists do not have the concept of "the fulness" of the church in our own denomination which you have about Orthodoxy, and there is much lush grazing to be found outside our own folds. If you claim the eastern Fathers as yours, plus more recent writers (we have mentioned Bulgakov, and of course there are Schmemann, Florovsky etc etc), then it would be (I think) a very good step if you could offer these to "the wider church", for it is my conviction that you have much to offer. As I have quoted before, freely you have received - freely give.

Some then, of course, will take the whole step and convert wholly to Orthodoxy - as some who post here have. Others will remain without (as I probably shall) but will be enriched. What God has given you, pass on to us others.

From what you have written, I was very much like you in leading group studies at the Baptist Church I attended.   I was content up until I lead a video series called "The Truth Project" by focus on the family and Dr. Del Tackett.  In the series it touched on history and sphere's of authority, though he taught from a view concerning government and God, my eye's were suddenly opened.  I realized that our Lord did give sphere's of authority and the Church was given authority being the pillar and foundation of truth by the will of our Lord.  Anyways, I haven't looked back.

Sphere sovereingty was developed theologically by Abaham Kuyper, a Dutch Reformed theologian. I did a paper on him in protestant seminary. That is interesting that this concept would be the thing that would guide you into Orthdoxy.

It wasn't just the concept of sphere sovereingty but history also being the root of our identity.  History for me is more than just identity but evidence of the Holy Spirit guidance and protection of the Church by the will of Jesus Christ.   With history I realized I had a serious disconnect with my professed faith in the leadership of Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, which if I didn't trust history and the church then I really didn't believe in Christ Jesus leadership.   I apologize for not being able to tie it all together and communicate what occured.  I have a habit of seeing connectedness were there doesn't appear on the surface to be connections, needless to say I am comfortable with mysteries lol.  For example, I tend to feel a deep connection with all people, even though I don't know them, that we are all tied together mysteriously as if I already know them as a friend even though I know they may hate me.  
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« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2010, 11:12:14 AM »

as an academic term and in the context you are using the word, it is fine. But out in the general culture, you don't want the "c" word associated with your religion.

Well, I don't care to associate with the general culture's inexact language.  Should I also avoid the use of the word "catholic" for fear of confusion?

no, but in the prior instance you should avoid the use of the word cult in reference to your religion.

A. L. You don't get to choose your culture; you just find yourself in it. We are called to give an account of the hope within us to all around us. I think the corallary is that we would do so in language our hearers can understand. While we should never "dumb down" when it would compromise the meaning of dogma, but we also should not stubbornly insist on technical theological language that people no longer understand, let alone academic theological language that can be heard in the wrong way.

And don't be so haughty about language use!
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« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2010, 11:18:50 AM »


It wasn't just the concept of sphere sovereingty but history also being the root of our identity.  History for me is more than just identity but evidence of the Holy Spirit guidance and protection of the Church by the will of Jesus Christ.   With history I realized I had a serious disconnect with my professed faith in the leadership of Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, which if I didn't trust history and the church then I really didn't believe in Christ Jesus leadership.   I apologize for not being able to tie it all together and communicate what occured.  I have a habit of seeing connectedness were there doesn't appear on the surface to be connections, needless to say I am comfortable with mysteries lol.  For example, I tend to feel a deep connection with all people, even though I don't know them, that we are all tied together mysteriously as if I already know them as a friend even though I know they may hate me.  
[/quote]


Thank you! What a lovely and sincere look at history and trust in Christ to preserve His Church!
To me is is very fascinating what the little nudge was for each of us converts to get us here.
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« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2010, 11:53:09 PM »

There is a tendency to grin tolerantly when I approvingly quote Orthodox writers, practices or beliefs, though people always seem to accept and agree with what I am saying. ("People" here = Baptists.)

That is the great danger in being a teacher, which the Holy Scriptures warn us of.  But doesn't it bother you that you can so freely incorporate the materials that you want from outside of your tradition, because ultimately as you search for that special sermon every week you end up giving the Gospel according to David Young?  Your parishioners are not looking "solely" to the Scriptures for guidance, but also looking at them through your interpretive lens.  But by what authority do you perform your exegeses?
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« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2010, 02:27:25 PM »

But doesn't it bother you that  ... you end up giving the Gospel according to David Young?

It would concern me very greatly, and I earnestly hope that I preach in the fear of God, and only such truths as have been revealed in scripture.

Quote
by what authority do you perform your exegeses?

This sounds ominously like a certain question that was once put to our Lord, but I shall attempt to offer a reply - even though I can't entirely ward off the feeling of a whiff or tincture of sarcasm in the way the question is put. I hope I am mistaken.

As you know if you have read my other posts, Baptist ecclesiology places great emphasis on the autonomy of a properly functioning local church. Such churches are in fellowship with each other, but do not exercise authority over each other. Therefore, I was formally sent into the ministry by the local church with which I was in membership (Borough Green) in 1973. That was in Kent; as you know I now live in Wales and am not in a pastorate, but rather working for a missionary society. Nonetheless I often preach, both when the minister of my present home church is not preaching for whatever reason (illness, holiday, preaching elsewhere), and in other churches in Wales, England, Albania and Kosova which kindly invite me.

I have sought to ensure that my home church recognises God's call and grace upon my ministry; in other churches, I go only at the invitation of the officers (pastor, elders, deacons, whatever) of those churches. If I were ever to move back into pastoral charge of one local church, it would be with my home church's approval and blessing, and at the invitation of the leaders and members of the church to which I was going.

What applies to my preaching at my home church and at others, applies equally when I lead the congregation at the Breaking of Bread.

That is how it works in Baptist churches.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 02:29:19 PM by David Young » Logged

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
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