2. This is, again, the buffet problem of how Evangelicals read the fathers. It has been said many times before (even in the posts just above mine), but I too will add my voice to the crowd here--- Protestants only read/take from the fathers what AGREES WITH THEIR PRE-CONCEIVED notions and beliefs. Everything else is rejected. This would, by all means, be considered academically dishonest. Why is it not considered theologically dishonest?
I don't think you can say this categorically.
First - at least SOME Protestants read things from the Fathers and come to accept what they read that are outside of their pre-conceived ideas, otherwise we would not have some of the conversion testimonies to Orthodoxy that appear on these very boards.
Secondly, SOME Protestants do in fact challenge themselves with things from the Fathers that are outside of their pre-conceived ideas and come to accept some of them, thus broadening their ideas and moving closer to the Orthodox position without yet (or perhaps ever) actually converting. Just because one does not convert does not mean growth has not occurred or that the individual has not benefitted from reading the Fathers.
Third - SOME Protestants do in fact challenge themselves with things from the Fathers that are outside of their pre-conceived ideas, but decide perhaps to "agree to disagree" with the Fathers, as Protestants are accustomed to doing with one another when they disagree with other protestants.
Fourth - SOME Protestants will read from the Fathers and selectively choose only what is in harmony with their pre-conceived ideas but at least they have had some exposure to the Fathers and perhaps will return there when they are more open to the whole of the Fathers' teaching or when need/necessity presses upon them and they turn to the Fathers for help because at least they have already gone there before (albeit imperfectly from our perspective).
To expect Protestants to read the Fathers as Orthodox do is kind of silly. They would have had to convert before they converted to read the Fathers as we do, which is a logical impossibility.
Furthermore, the outlandish things said about ALL Protestants on OC.net continues to astonish me. I can only chalk it up to several things:
One - Some Orthodox converts from Prostestantism generalize their own INDIVIDUAL experience, and attribute that to ALL Protestants. They are perhaps even unaware that they imperfectly understood and imbibed their own Protestant communion's teachings (probably not, but I have seen very little humility along the lines of, "when I was a Protestant, I believed such and such. I THINK it was the universally held view in my experience of my particular brand of Protestantism, but it could have been just my own personal heresy....").
Two - Some Orthodox converts are so full of bile and resentment that they cannot say anything civil about Protestants.
Three - Some Cradle Orthodox are woefully ignorant of Protestantism and are too lazy to gain any knowledge of their Christian neighbors and fellow citizens that is not easily available with little or no effort from religious television or the secular media. I would say ditto for many converts who are woefully ignorant of the huge differences among Protestants in , for example Confessional Churches of the Reformation (Episcopal/Anglican; Lutheran; Presbyterian/Reformed) and those in American Fundamentalist/Baptist independent churches and those in pentecostal/charasmatic churches. Instead they lazily interpret all Protestants as being what they once WERE.
Four - Some Orthodox find it easier to paint with a VERY large brush. Distinctions, exceptions and subtlety need not be applied to such statements. Also it would take a little effort to paint with more refined strokes.
Fifth - Some Orthodox on OC.net just like to provoke debate. The more outrageous the statement the better diatribe it reads as.