Author Topic: Orthodox Missionary Outreach  (Read 331 times)

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Offline Niemnarova7

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Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« on: July 30, 2017, 03:57:20 PM »
Please I need advice on how best to reach the unconverted with information about Orthodoxy. I live in Heber,Utah, where I deal with many Mormons, Roman Catholics and Prorestants. Any suggestions would prove helpful.Thank you. Gory to God for all things.!

Offline hecma925

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 05:49:49 AM »
Live the Gospel.
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Offline IXOYE

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 11:54:06 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Niemnarova7!

Offline Agabus

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 12:47:23 PM »
Please I need advice on how best to reach the unconverted with information about Orthodoxy. I live in Heber,Utah, where I deal with many Mormons, Roman Catholics and Prorestants. Any suggestions would prove helpful.Thank you. Gory to God for all things.!

Let's flesh this out a little.

What, if anything, have you done so far or considered doing?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 02:22:49 PM by Agabus »
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Offline Agabus

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 12:55:54 PM »
To expand:

The information you present is going to vary on who you're talking to. To those who have never stepped foot in any church (or who have very little exposure), the conversation starts with the person of Christ, his ministry, death and resurrection. This is the group that needs to be top priority.

When dealing with Protestants/Catholics, it will need to start with common ground and then proceed to a discussion of where we diverge and why that divergence is important. Such discussions might include looks at theology, praxis and history, but they've got to be more substantive than "worship bands are awful" and "BUT 1054!"

Mormons are like a synthesis of the first two groups, in that you need to define who Jesus is to them, how they understand the Holy Trinity and how we may use similar terms but use them in different ways.

I realize these aren't resources, per se, but just a framework for thinking.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Online RobS

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 01:04:26 PM »
Mormons would seem to me an extremely difficult challenge. I've been around a lot of them in Colorado, and from my experience they quickly turn from sheep to wolves whenever you give just the slightest hint of attacking their beliefs in some way.

Honestly my only advice for Mormons, Protestants and RCs is to know their faiths inside and out. If you talk with a Mormon and you spout a misconception on what they believe, your chances of trying to convert them go to 0%. Best of luck.

A protestant who knows their Bible will run circles around an Orthodox who doesn't.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 01:07:40 PM by nothing »
“The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.”

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Online RobS

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 01:27:20 PM »
I also agree with Agabus, what are your motivations here? It sounds like you are seeking out folks from other faiths to bring them into Orthodoxy, which seems like a herculean task especially Mormons in Utah.

A quick anecdote that happened to me recently. My mom looked up the Orthodox Church last week and not surprisingly she had disagreements with icons. She thinks it is idolatry, but I carefully corrected her on this to her satisfaction. She was really concerned I was joining some cult lol. But anyway she attends a Presbyterian church, and I am always genuinely interested in what goes on there, the beliefs, and so on. I have no desire to convert her, but she might say something about her faith and I counter with some questions that forces her to think on. It's funny sometimes talking to Protestants because the problems they have in their own churches could easily be solved by joining the Orthodox church. But my mother has a much larger problem in that she doesn't think truth can be found, that nobody really knows what it is, and so on. Imagine trying to share the Orthodox faith with those kind of modernist problems!

So right now I'll let people ask about my faith, explain to the best that I can with the caveat I don't know everything and still learning. I never invite argument. I do say before I even talk about the faith is a warning that "What I say you might have strong disagreements about but these are my convictions blah blah" or something a long those lines. Because the Orthodox make some very bold claims about the faith which can turn a conversation hostile real quick depending on who you are talking to.

When I first bumbled into Orthodoxy I was super excited to share it with everyone I knew but nowadays its the opposite. I worry more about my own faith than trying to convince people of my own, if that makes sense.

Just try not to invite argument if at all possible, be as congenial as you can, always polite. Some people will be invincibly stubborn, so just dust your shoes and move on. Don't get frustrated.

I don't know how people can try to convert people in this day and age.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 01:32:05 PM by nothing »
“The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.”

— St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 56, 89

Offline Agabus

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 02:28:08 PM »
Honestly my only advice for Mormons, Protestants and RCs is to know their faiths inside and out. If you talk with a Mormon and you spout a misconception on what they believe, your chances of trying to convert them go to 0%. Best of luck.

A protestant who knows their Bible will run circles around an Orthodox who doesn't.

I agree with the bolded in particular.

I might turn this around, though, and just say to know your own faith inside out.

Here's why: A lot of people may think they know their faith, but when confronted with the official, on-the-books realities of their communion (be it the Baptist Faith and Message, the Westminster Confession, Doctrines and Covenants, etc.), they're not actually in line with the denominational/church/historic confession. They have a faith, but aren't necessarily able to interact with specific critiques of their official doctrine.

So, to allude to what I said earlier, get to know their background so you know where they're coming from generally, and then ask them specifically what they believe about 'x'. You can go from there and say, "Here is where your belief is the same with Orthodoxy; here is where it is different; and here is why it matters."
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 02:28:45 PM by Agabus »
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Online RobS

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 02:55:34 PM »
I agree with the bolded in particular.

I might turn this around, though, and just say to know your own faith inside out.

Here's why: A lot of people may think they know their faith, but when confronted with the official, on-the-books realities of their communion (be it the Baptist Faith and Message, the Westminster Confession, Doctrines and Covenants, etc.), they're not actually in line with the denominational/church/historic confession. They have a faith, but aren't necessarily able to interact with specific critiques of their official doctrine.

So, to allude to what I said earlier, get to know their background so you know where they're coming from generally, and then ask them specifically what they believe about 'x'. You can go from there and say, "Here is where your belief is the same with Orthodoxy; here is where it is different; and here is why it matters."
Yep I know some Protestants like that. They sort of take a mish-mash of different doctrines like its some buffet.

With those types then you have to try to explain them why correct doctrine matters, which is a whole 'nother thing that doesn't necessarily involve bringing up Orthodoxy. Cause if you are talking with Christians who are so liberal that doctrine doesn't matter or so distrusting over institutions that's a mountain to overcome.

Thank God my calling isn't to be an evangelist. I marvel at people who have the gift and patience.

I recall my step-father will bolt from his church if they ordain female ministers, so if that is such a core issue then why not seek out strict conservative denominations who explicitly condemn the practice? It's like if certain aspects of his church liberalizes, he's gone. So here could be an opportunity.

While the discussions you have with others might be fruitful, still the most convincing argument will always be how a Christian is. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the witness of a few people who were so strikingly different than regular people that made me want to be what they are. Hecma is right.
“The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.”

— St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 56, 89

Offline Agabus

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2017, 03:29:10 PM »
I agree with the bolded in particular.

I might turn this around, though, and just say to know your own faith inside out.

Here's why: A lot of people may think they know their faith, but when confronted with the official, on-the-books realities of their communion (be it the Baptist Faith and Message, the Westminster Confession, Doctrines and Covenants, etc.), they're not actually in line with the denominational/church/historic confession. They have a faith, but aren't necessarily able to interact with specific critiques of their official doctrine.

So, to allude to what I said earlier, get to know their background so you know where they're coming from generally, and then ask them specifically what they believe about 'x'. You can go from there and say, "Here is where your belief is the same with Orthodoxy; here is where it is different; and here is why it matters."
Yep I know some Protestants like that. They sort of take a mish-mash of different doctrines like its some buffet.

With those types then you have to try to explain them why correct doctrine matters, which is a whole 'nother thing that doesn't necessarily involve bringing up Orthodoxy. Cause if you are talking with Christians who are so liberal that doctrine doesn't matter or so distrusting over institutions that's a mountain to overcome.

A lot of people have a mish-mash of beliefs because that's what they've chosen, but many also have a mish-mash because that's what they've absorbed.

The religiously-aligned liberal arts school I attended wanted to assess the effectiveness of its required core classes in the religion department (it was only six hours), so the head of the religion department did a study about 10 years ago where all incoming freshmen were required to take a survey about very basic Christian doctrines. It was intentionally phrased as "Christianity teaches" and not "I believe," and students were instructed to answer the survey based on what they thought were correct answers to questions like, "Christianity teaches that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, True or False." (I just made that one up, but that was the level of theology we're talking about.) The idea was to see how much those answers changed after the students took the class.

School officials were somewhat flabbergasted when they got the initial results back and the vast majority of students couldn't give the correct answers... And this was an institution that had an enrollment rate where 80 percent of students identified as regular, active church attendees.

We can complain about bad catechesis or whatever until we're blue in the face, but at this point we can't assume that even someone from a Christian background actually knows anything about the Gospel.

In fact, the folks I've known who were most wrong when discussing basic beliefs of Christianity were not non-Christians, but ex-Christians who were convinced they knew because they attended Sunday School until they were 14.

Anyway, that's why I keep emphasizing finding out what people believe or think they know. It's not to make them feel bad for not paying attention during a boring church service, but to understand where they are when you want to start walking through the Gospel.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 03:31:48 PM by Agabus »
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Online RobS

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2017, 05:19:03 PM »
A lot of people have a mish-mash of beliefs because that's what they've chosen, but many also have a mish-mash because that's what they've absorbed.
Agreed.

Quote
The religiously-aligned liberal arts school I attended wanted to assess the effectiveness of its required core classes in the religion department (it was only six hours), so the head of the religion department did a study about 10 years ago where all incoming freshmen were required to take a survey about very basic Christian doctrines. It was intentionally phrased as "Christianity teaches" and not "I believe," and students were instructed to answer the survey based on what they thought were correct answers to questions like, "Christianity teaches that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, True or False." (I just made that one up, but that was the level of theology we're talking about.) The idea was to see how much those answers changed after the students took the class.

School officials were somewhat flabbergasted when they got the initial results back and the vast majority of students couldn't give the correct answers... And this was an institution that had an enrollment rate where 80 percent of students identified as regular, active church attendees.

We can complain about bad catechesis or whatever until we're blue in the face, but at this point we can't assume that even someone from a Christian background actually knows anything about the Gospel.

In fact, the folks I've known who were most wrong when discussing basic beliefs of Christianity were not non-Christians, but ex-Christians who were convinced they knew because they attended Sunday School until they were 14.
I hear you. Hey my mom, who has read the Bible cover to cover, didn't know St. Paul was once a Jew when I brought it up 2 months ago. Pretty crazy.

Yes we can't assume someone's knowledge however if the OP is going to attempt to convert people from other faiths it helps to be as informed as you can be. I presupposed that any Orthodox who is going to do it already confidently knows their faith extremely well. But when you are trying to draw sharp distinctions between beliefs that's when knowledge of someone else's faith is very beneficial. You could steer the conversation in a direction that draws out the differences in a way to show why it matters. But like I said, I'm glad this isn't my calling I'd be awful at it.

Thing with the Mormons though, especially in Utah, are usually well educated in their doctrines and beliefs. I've yet to meet a Mormon who was as clueless about matters of their own faith versus that of your average Evangelical. Even a newcomer to Mormonism pretty much has the usual apologetics down pat. That said, leaving the Mormon church ain't easy. One of the draws to it is just how tight knit the community is and how much they rely on each other, so if you were to leave, it's a very distressing break. So that makes attempts to convert someone that much harder if they don't have the support.

But for other protestants, yeah you can't assume what their knowledge is on the fundamental aspects of the Gospel. Better to be prepared though if you are going to be serious about it.

Quote
Anyway, that's why I keep emphasizing finding out what people believe or think they know. It's not to make them feel bad for not paying attention during a boring church service, but to understand where they are when you want to start walking through the Gospel.
I agree with you, that's probably the best way to start the conversation.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 05:22:22 PM by nothing »
“The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.”

— St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 56, 89

Offline Thomas

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Re: Orthodox Missionary Outreach
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2017, 10:13:42 PM »
As a former Mormon, now an Orthodox Christian of 27 years I would suggest you pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you---St Athanasius Paschal letters helped me to get my head into the Holy Trinity and away from the polytheism of Mormonism. I was attrac6ed by the fact the Church never failed and did not need to be restored. The Church Fathers are great teachers.
Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas