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Author Topic: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!  (Read 44176 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: December 10, 2009, 12:42:46 PM »

the person specifically mentioned being Roman Catholic, as though that by itself was a reason to question the person's salvation. ... the implication that the person might not "be saved" (whatever that means) because they are Catholic.

I think you are right in this.

This is EXACTLY what it means, which is why I got so frustrated. My friend has often expressed to me her desire that her parents be "saved" since they "tsk, tsk" are CATHOLIC! (cue dramatic music)

I think it's very sad that this woman, who was raised Catholic, views her parents and the rest of her family, as heathens because they are Catholic. She views them as statue-worshipping idoloters who don't know the Lord.
This is very sad to me.  Sad
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« Reply #91 on: December 10, 2009, 01:47:30 PM »

I have evangelical friends who work in an Orthodox country, and on Pascha they write, "Please pray for these poor Orthodox as they go to their Pascha services, that they may someday know the TRUE meaning of Pascha." This is yet another example of the insulting patronizing tone to which Handmaiden refers.
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« Reply #92 on: December 10, 2009, 01:51:28 PM »

I have evangelical friends who work in an Orthodox country, and on Pascha they write, "Please pray for these poor Orthodox as they go to their Pascha services, that they may someday know the TRUE meaning of Pascha." This is yet another example of the insulting patronizing tone to which Handmaiden refers.
Never mind the fact that its plain stupid. The depth of understanding of Pascha found in Eastern Orthodoxy complete dwarfs the shallow understanding found in Evangelical Protestantism.
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« Reply #93 on: December 10, 2009, 04:32:30 PM »

it's very sad that this woman, who was raised Catholic, views her parents and the rest of her family, as heathens because they are Catholic. She views them as statue-worshipping idoloters who don't know the Lord.

Now let us begin by admitting that I know neither your friend, nor the local Catholic congregation in which she was raised (I mean, brought up - I'm starting to sound like an American  Sad); so anything I write may for those reasons be very wide of the mark. However, to wade in:

1) There are plenty of Baptist congregations where you could be raised, and grow up thinking, mutatis mutandis, very much like your friend does about Catholics: that they are clinging to a tradition which has lost its inner meaning, and that they do not know the Lord for themselves. As I have written before, there are even Baptist congregations here whose services are held in Welsh, a language which the 'worshippers' do not understand, and so neither the hymns, nor the prayers, nor any other part of the services, hold any meaning for them beyond the repetitious enactment of an inherited tradition. If I (who do not speak Welsh) am ever invited to preach in such a church, I do indeed pray that they may come to know the Lord.

Now is it not possible that there are individual local Catholic congregations who are equally devoted to their traditions, but whose adherents are strangers to the grace of God? Could your friend's childhood church have been such?

2) Does not your friend's attitude resemble the attitude of some of the Orthodox who post on these threads, who used to be Protestants? If it is wrong for your friend, is it not also wrong for them?

3) IS IN THE NEXT POST: COMPUTER'S GONE FUNNY.
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« Reply #94 on: December 10, 2009, 04:41:48 PM »

3) Most of us have very little contact with Catholics, and equally little knowledge of their piety. We see the worst aspects of the religion on the telly and elsewhere, and, as you say, we assume they are worshipping Mary, or a wafer,or praying to statues, or whatever. Back in the early 1970s I taught French for a couple of years at a Catholic school, and sometimes fell into conversation with the nun who was the religion teacher. It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord. Thirty or so years later, at a Christmas when I was alone, I spent some days at Hyning Monastery, and again I felt the Lord was there, and even (sinister music, please, Handmaiden) attended their services. I have also taken to reading mediæval Catholic writings, and have found them full of Christ. I also became friendly with a Baptist minister who is deeply into such writings those of as Thérèse of Lisieux, and have had many hours of fellowship with him. My views changed - and are still changing. But not many Baptists teach in Catholic schools, spend Christmas at a monastery, or read Catholic devotional books. My fellows simply do not know that there are such believers among them. It is perhaps not surprising if your friend is absorbing regrettable ideas.

4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #95 on: December 10, 2009, 04:48:20 PM »

It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord.

Quote
4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

If this is any representation of the opinions/beliefs of Baptists, I think I that my Baptist brothers and sisters are in serious need of prayer themselves. I will earnestly pray that they are delivered from their arrogance and spiritual pride.
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« Reply #96 on: December 10, 2009, 05:16:01 PM »

Quote
) Most of us have very little contact with Catholics, and equally little knowledge of their piety. We see the worst aspects of the religion on the telly and elsewhere, and, as you say, we assume they are worshipping Mary, or a wafer,or praying to statues, or whatever.

My first questions about Catholicism came about at the age of three or four whilst my dad was stationed at an (since closed) American air force base in England.  Our chaplains shared offices, so once upon a time I was dragged along on a visit and noticed that there was something very funny about the cross in office: It actually had Christ upon it being crucified.  Upon asking my mother about the significance of this her reply was on the lines of: "Roman Catholics don't preach salvation through Christ, so to them He is always on the cross being crucified."   From that point on my head was full of all sorts of funny ideas regarding Catholics and salvation (the Orthodox were a mystery to us, save that they were too bound up in "tradition").

Regarding a few digs at American Evangelicals and missionary activities- There are two conflicting schools of thought in this area.  The majority tends to view missionary activity as a form of American colonialism- the people should learn "English", dress in slacks and button-ups, and become democratic.  The most successful American missionaries, however, have realized what William Carey and Amy Carmichael figured out over a century ago- we aren't supposed to convert people to the "American" or "British" ways of life, but bring the gospel.  My own grandparents came back from India with a great love and understanding of the Indian culture, and on occasion the women of my family have even been known to break out prayer shawls! 

As a quick aside, while for the most part I prefer my tea or coffee as-is, without sugar or cream, I do occasionally enjoy "Indian tea", a super sweet concoction that is brewed in a mixture of milk and water.  Liquid candy!
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« Reply #97 on: December 10, 2009, 05:49:12 PM »

my Baptist brothers and sisters are in serious need of prayer ... I will earnestly pray

Please do.
 Smiley
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« Reply #98 on: December 10, 2009, 07:25:18 PM »

"Roman Catholics don't preach salvation through Christ, so to them He is always on the cross being crucified."   

Geesh!!! Where do people get ideas like this? I am always amazed at what protestants think about Catholics. Growing up as a Catholic, the main message that I was taught was salvation through Christ.
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« Reply #99 on: December 10, 2009, 08:37:06 PM »

Quote
Geesh!!! Where do people get ideas like this?

Meh, if you go back to the time of the Reformation, it might actually have been a true statement (not the reason behind crucifixes, the statement itself).  The illiteracy of many priests, and many popes being far more worried about getting their taxes from the European monarchs than the spiritual administration of the Church, led to a very confused state amongst the laity of the period regarding salvation.  It wasn't til those pesky Protestants started nailing pamphlets to doors that the See of Rome realized there might be something rotten in Denmark (and Saxony, and England, and Switzerland, ad infinitum).

Add to this the fact that the American South has been largely Protestant (and split between Methodist and Baptist til the last hundred years or so, when Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and the like started to move in[I am, of course, kidding.  The Episcopalians have been losing members in the South since before the Revolution]) since they drove the native tribes out.  Catholicism didn't start penetrating into the South until Italians from New York and New Jersey started to retire in Boca, circa 1950, a few years later a wave of Catholic immigration hit Miami when Castro took power in Cuba.  So, living, breathing Catholics are something very new to the Southern Evangelical, most of whom are only armed with vague notions of the disputes of the Roman and Protestant sects.  Northern Evangelicals, being more familiar with Roman Catholics, will often be less noticeably biased (compare the attitudes of Southern white males and Northern white males as regards "black people"), though there often lurks at the back of their mind many unstated prejudices (same comparison).


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« Reply #100 on: December 10, 2009, 08:49:01 PM »

Northern Evangelicals, being more familiar with Roman Catholics, will often be less noticeably biased (compare the attitudes of Southern white males and Northern white males as regards "black people"), though there often lurks at the back of their mind many unstated prejudices (same comparison).
Show'em a black Catholic -- that'll really get their heads spinnin'. Grin
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« Reply #101 on: December 10, 2009, 09:16:32 PM »

"Roman Catholics don't preach salvation through Christ, so to them He is always on the cross being crucified."   

Geesh!!! Where do people get ideas like this? I am always amazed at what protestants think about Catholics. Growing up as a Catholic, the main message that I was taught was salvation through Christ.

Here is where one big problem is. We approach Christ  from different directions. For Protestants like David it is what you are bringing to the Table. Your beliefs. Your understanding. Your feelings. You you you you you...Therefore, what is actually on the Table is of little impotence. It's YOUR relationship that is the focus. That is why he cant understand how anyone can benefit from a Mass in a language they don't understand... It's what is in your head that counts most, not what is happening before you.

Orthodox and Catholics have the opposite mind set. What is on the Table is of the greatest import to us. It is God who is reaching out to us. Our job is to be prepared and to receive his gifts humbly. That is why we would think it pious for a believer to commune with the Lord in a Church where he does not know the language. David thinks it's a waste of time because the person didn't "Learn' anything.

We have far different ideas of what is salvation. 
 
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« Reply #102 on: December 10, 2009, 10:06:19 PM »

Now let us begin by admitting that I know neither your friend, nor the local Catholic congregation in which she was raised (I mean, brought up - I'm starting to sound like an American

Careful David, you spend too much time here and you may just convert... not to Orthodoxy, but to being an American! LOL laugh

(If you feel the need to drop the "u" from "colour" or spell the thrice-holy dunking that St. John the Forerunner did for Christ in the River Jordan with a "z" instead of an "s", you may be an American! lol)


1) There are plenty of Baptist congregations where you could be raised, and grow up thinking, mutatis mutandis, very much like your friend does about Catholics: that they are clinging to a tradition which has lost its inner meaning, and that they do not know the Lord for themselves. As I have written before, there are even Baptist congregations here whose services are held in Welsh, a language which the 'worshippers' do not understand, and so neither the hymns, nor the prayers, nor any other part of the services, hold any meaning for them beyond the repetitious enactment of an inherited tradition. If I (who do not speak Welsh) am ever invited to preach in such a church, I do indeed pray that they may come to know the Lord.

Having been raised in a parish where I did not understand the majority of the Liturgy, I can assure you that one does not need to understand the service to "know the Lord."

Now is it not possible that there are individual local Catholic congregations who are equally devoted to their traditions, but whose adherents are strangers to the grace of God? Could your friend's childhood church have been such?

2) Does not your friend's attitude resemble the attitude of some of the Orthodox who post on these threads, who used to be Protestants? If it is wrong for your friend, is it not also wrong for them?

3) Most of us have very little contact with Catholics, and equally little knowledge of their piety. We see the worst aspects of the religion on the telly and elsewhere, and, as you say, we assume they are worshipping Mary, or a wafer,or praying to statues, or whatever. Back in the early 1970s I taught French for a couple of years at a Catholic school, and sometimes fell into conversation with the nun who was the religion teacher. It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord. Thirty or so years later, at a Christmas when I was alone, I spent some days at Hyning Monastery, and again I felt the Lord was there, and even (sinister music, please, Handmaiden) attended their services. I have also taken to reading mediæval Catholic writings, and have found them full of Christ. I also became friendly with a Baptist minister who is deeply into such writings those of as Thérèse of Lisieux, and have had many hours of fellowship with him. My views changed - and are still changing. But not many Baptists teach in Catholic schools, spend Christmas at a monastery, or read Catholic devotional books. My fellows simply do not know that there are such believers among them. It is perhaps not surprising if your friend is absorbing regrettable ideas.

4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

While all of these are reasonable suggestions, I think the majority of it comes from the particular Baptist Church my friend attends has a tendency to hold 7 week lecture series professing the "evils" of Catholicism, and how they do not know the Lord. (I know, I used to attend said church.)

Why they decide to dedicate so much time on bashing another faith rather than lifting up their own, I don't know.

I think the "take-away" lesson from all of this is that no one should assume judgement on anyone's soul based on a particular faith group they may belong to. For as you said, "only the Lord knows who are his."
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« Reply #103 on: December 10, 2009, 10:29:44 PM »

The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  Shocked
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« Reply #104 on: December 10, 2009, 10:37:29 PM »

It genuinely surprised me to discover a Catholic who obviously knew and loved the Lord.

Quote
4) Having said all that, I would go along with her in guessing (not knowing, for only the Lord knows who are his) that there are a good many Catholic churchgoers who (in our parlance) are not saved, and I think it is right to pray that such may indeed find saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

If this is any representation of the opinions/beliefs of Baptists, I think I that my Baptist brothers and sisters are in serious need of prayer themselves. I will earnestly pray that they are delivered from their arrogance and spiritual pride.

I was raised to believe that Catholics weren't Christians, none of them were "saved", and that they were all going to hell.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #105 on: December 10, 2009, 10:52:25 PM »

The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  Shocked
...or at least outside of the South. Cool
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« Reply #106 on: December 10, 2009, 11:03:12 PM »

The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  Shocked
...or at least outside of the South. Cool

Well the funny thing was, I was a SB in the Mid-west, so whatever that tells ya...  Tongue
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« Reply #107 on: December 10, 2009, 11:07:23 PM »

Quote
Posted by: Jetavan
Insert Quote
Quote from: Ortho_cat on Today at 10:29:44 PM
Quote from: David Young on Today at 11:00:35 AM
The "problem" (let us rather say explanation) is indeed our view of salvation, and we do indeed see it as a past event; but also as an ongoing process, and as a final consummation in the glory.

Wow, that is indeed a radical Baptist teaching according to how I was taught in the "Southern" variety! Say a prayer...done deal. Baptists must really be different outside of the states!  Shocked
...or at least outside of the South. Cool

Nope.  I can say from experience that some Independent Baptists hold this same thought process (though apparently if you speak in tongues after saying the prayer you're going to hell  Tongue ).

And may I say, nay, confess ashamedly that this particular teaching of the Southern Baptists is the one that has done me the greatest harm over the past twelve years?  Continuously falling to sin again and again, but "I'm saved, and my walk with God is the same as it's ever been."  

Beware if your walk with God is the "same as it's ever been."
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« Reply #108 on: December 10, 2009, 11:59:46 PM »

Lord, have mercy on me, but I am angry and hurt. I'm honestly trying not to be bitter, but this has stirred up all the other unpleasant memories of tragedies that have been turned into prosletysing opportunities that I have had to endure with these people - family funerals where one is asked why one is crying; because it's all ok with God that so and so died!
Have you read "Functional and Dysfunctional Christianity" by Fr. Philotheos Faros? It actually deals with these very issues and the "neurosis" in a lot of "western" Christianity. If you haven't read it, I have a copy I can give you.

Can I borrow it when Riddikulus is done? Wink  Actually, I just ordered a copy from Holy Cross Bookstore.  I'm really intrigued by the contents and hope I can use them to help with Orthopraxis and phronema.  Thanks for the heads up, George!  Smiley
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« Reply #109 on: December 11, 2009, 05:51:50 AM »

the opinions/beliefs of Baptists... their arrogance and spiritual pride.

It is good and right that you assess our beliefs, even as it is good that I attempt to assess yours (even if some would say that is all too suipapal of me). It is not good that you attempt to assess our hearts. There is, I think, nothing more arrogant about our conviction that our sins are fully forgiven on the ground of our faith in Christ, than in your belief that you are the only true Church. Whilst I readily concede that there are Baptists who are guilty of denominational "arrogance and spiritual pride" because they feel they have the truth, and perhaps a long family line of holding it, and the heritage of the imprisonments, deaths and other sufferings Baptists have undergone for their faith in past generations, similarly I strongly suspect that there are Orthodox who are guilty of exactly the same "arrogance and spiritual pride" because they, their families, or their nation belong to the only true Church and have survived intact the fires of Ottoman and Communist rule.

But there are also Baptists who are humbly grateful to God for granting them an undeserved revelation of his grace in Christ and for implanting faith in their spirits by the Holy Ghost; similarly, I have little doubt there are Orthodox who are humbly grateful to God because they have found Christ in Orthodoxy, and have come to know and love him.

One can hold one's beliefs and experiences in either pride or humility. But surely it is the beliefs we discuss on the forum.
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« Reply #110 on: December 11, 2009, 06:06:33 AM »

he cant understand how anyone can benefit from a Mass in a language they don't understand

That's not quite what I said. Remember that Baptist churches have Communion usually once or twice a month, so most services (of the eight or ten, if there are two a Sunday) will be without the Table. There seems little point in singing the glorious Welsh hymns, which are full of Christ, repentance, faith, strong aspiration etc etc (I know enough Welsh to know that, though I cannot converse in the language)... little point in singing these hymns if you have no idea what the words are saying. Similarly, the sermon is a large chunk of any service - maybe half the time - and there seems little point in attending preaching in a language one does not understand. Prayers are extemporary, so you will not know in advance, as you might in a liturgical church, what will be prayed, and cannot therefore enter into its meaning.

If I were (for example) in Macedonia (sorry, Greeks! - in FYROM) and took Communion at a Macedonian church, I think I would indeed be able to benefit from the Table, even though I speak no Macedonian, because I do know what is happening at Communion services. I was privileged to worship once at the Methodist Church in Bitola/Monastir, and it was a sweet experience, and they even invited me to preach through interpretation, but I do not recall whether we had Communion that Sunday.
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« Reply #111 on: December 11, 2009, 06:09:40 AM »

Say a prayer...done deal.

Such teaching is as alien to us in Britain as it is to you. Possibly more so, as it is a distortion of our beliefs and therefore is being purveyed under our name.
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« Reply #112 on: December 11, 2009, 10:30:21 AM »

It is not good that you attempt to assess our hearts.
Hoist by your own petard, David. For that is exactly what I was referring to - the belief/opinion/assumption of Baptists, according to you, that they know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God, based on the knowledge or assumption that a person belongs to a different faith community or is not Baptist, or has not had a particular kind of religious experience, which Baptists believe is essential to salvation.
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« Reply #113 on: December 11, 2009, 12:32:08 PM »

he cant understand how anyone can benefit from a Mass in a language they don't understand

That's not quite what I said. Remember that Baptist churches have Communion usually once or twice a month, so most services (of the eight or ten, if there are two a Sunday) will be without the Table. There seems little point in singing the glorious Welsh hymns, which are full of Christ, repentance, faith, strong aspiration etc etc (I know enough Welsh to know that, though I cannot converse in the language)... little point in singing these hymns if you have no idea what the words are saying. Similarly, the sermon is a large chunk of any service - maybe half the time - and there seems little point in attending preaching in a language one does not understand. Prayers are extemporary, so you will not know in advance, as you might in a liturgical church, what will be prayed, and cannot therefore enter into its meaning.

If I were (for example) in Macedonia (sorry, Greeks! - in FYROM) and took Communion at a Macedonian church, I think I would indeed be able to benefit from the Table, even though I speak no Macedonian, because I do know what is happening at Communion services. I was privileged to worship once at the Methodist Church in Bitola/Monastir, and it was a sweet experience, and they even invited me to preach through interpretation, but I do not recall whether we had Communion that Sunday.

I guess my central point is that since you regard the Eucharist as symbolic, the focus is on you rather than on it.

As far as Welsh Services, I miss understood you to be referring to a Catholic Mass served in Welsh. One does not have to know the language of the service to fully commune and benefit from it. But yes, if you are speaking of a Protestant Service where the emphasis with on learning something or at least being inspired, you must know the language.

Your emphasis is on individual salvation. What you believe, what you know what you continue to learn. Our emphasis is mystical transformation that brings us into oneness with the community and oneness with God in a concrete sense by  eating his flesh and drinking his blood
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« Reply #114 on: December 11, 2009, 01:44:30 PM »

Your emphasis is on individual salvation. What you believe, what you know what you continue to learn. Our emphasis is mystical transformation that brings us into oneness with the community and oneness with God in a concrete sense by  eating his flesh and drinking his blood

If I may add to Marc's post, THIS is how Christ's prayer "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" comes to fruition. Through the Eucharist.
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« Reply #115 on: December 11, 2009, 03:53:10 PM »

Say a prayer...done deal.
Such teaching is as alien to us in Britain as it is to you. Possibly more so, as it is a distortion of our beliefs and therefore is being purveyed under our name.

That's not what the beliefs are "on the books" or "officially."  There are some brilliant Baptist theologians.  But what Ortho_cat described is the way it usually pans out on the ground.

It's sort of like the differences between Orthodoxy on paper and in the real world!  Wink
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« Reply #116 on: December 11, 2009, 04:01:21 PM »

I remember when I "got saved" in a Wesleyan Holiness church. All I had to do was "walk the Romans road" Wink
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« Reply #117 on: December 11, 2009, 09:17:21 PM »

Say a prayer...done deal.
Such teaching is as alien to us in Britain as it is to you. Possibly more so, as it is a distortion of our beliefs and therefore is being purveyed under our name.

That's not what the beliefs are "on the books" or "officially."  There are some brilliant Baptist theologians.  But what Ortho_cat described is the way it usually pans out on the ground.

It's sort of like the differences between Orthodoxy on paper and in the real world!  Wink

Shhh...I'm still living on paper, let me enjoy it a while longer! Wink
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« Reply #118 on: December 12, 2009, 06:26:43 AM »

I remember when I "got saved" in a Wesleyan Holiness church.

I too 'got saved' in a Wesleyan context. Amen.

I ought to explain a little more fully, lest my earlier post be misunderstood. "One prayer and the deal is done" could in fact describe what we do believe and practise, but not (I think) in the way you quote my American brethren as using it, and I have heard in Britain from American lips.

We do, of course, believe that one prayer of repentance and faith uttered by the sinner brings reconciliation with God, the new birth, the forgiveness of all past sin, and the reception of the indwelling Spirit - in short, salvation. In that sense, yes - one prayer and the deal is done. The sinner is saved.

But the only evidence that the prayer was genuine, was understood, truly meant, and offered under the influence of the Spirit of God in true repentance and faith, is that it is followed by a changed life. We are told, after all, that if any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature (or creation), and this will make itself manifest in a developing life of growth in holiness and dedication.

It is all too easy to say a prayer one doesn't really understand or mean, for a number of reasons, including parental or cultural pressure. Such a mouthing of words, whether accompanied with going to the front of a church at an appeal or whatever, or whether offered in any other place and way, is not the prayer which brings eternal life to the soul, once and for all.

We would not, of course, refer to it as "a deal". Rather, it is an undeserved gift, offered by God to the sinner on the basis only of the work of Christ.  Let it rather be expressed "one prayer, and the gift is received", ever assuming that the prayer is a genuine cry to God for mercy and for grace to start anew.
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« Reply #119 on: December 12, 2009, 10:42:52 AM »

Hoist by your own petard, ... Baptists, according to you, ... know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God

Oh dear! I understand a petard is a small bomb. Alas!

But seriously, I think this is verification of the title of this thread "I don't understand the Evangelical mindset" (though I hope not of the conclusion, "never will!" I'll do what I can to help.  Smiley

I suspect that we each come over to each other as proud and arrogant: we to you for the reason given in your post; you to us for the claim that you are the only true Church, and its converse that we are heretics, schismatics and sons of Judas Iscariot. In reality, if one takes the trouble to understand why Orthodox make that astonishing claim, it makes sense, and one can understand without agreeing. (Of course, it can produce Orthodox pride, but that is another matter.)

Similarly, I think if you can come to understand how we 'tick', you may continue to disagree, but you may at least concede that our thoughts do not arise from pride or arrogance.

For one thing, you only have to look at our hymnbooks, which sort-of function as a liturgy, to see the many many expressions of astonishment along the lines of, How can God possibly love and forgive such a guilty and wretched sinner as me? In itself that ought to give you a clue that something other than pride is operative here.

You often talk about 'mystical' matters, and I may find it hard to put into words, but there is an indefinable something that enables those who are born of God to recognise the 'family relationship', the onesss in Christ, the brotherhood as children of God, which transcends denominational barriers. It is recognising instinctively that "this person knows and loves the same Lord as I do", whether "this person" is Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox.

Of course this Christian instinct, though (I believe) God-given, is not infallible, and of course we sometimes believe someone is 'saved' when he is not, and sometimes think someone isn't when he is. None of us is inerrant. But in general terms, if a person is born of God, there is something about his spirit, his conversation, his awareness of Christ, that marks him out as such.

It has nothing to do with pride or arrogance, but rather with brothers and sisters in Christ normally recognising each other as such. Such may be very wealthy Brits, or very poor Albanian gypsies, or anything else: but the sense of fraternity in Christ is there.

"Why" you might ask "do we not recognise it so often and so easily in Catholics and Orthodox?" Probably partly (as I wrote earlier) because we have little contact with them; but partly because you do not (if I understand aright) encourage assurance of salvation, and therefore you talk about your spiritual experience in different terms from ours, and we misunderstand one another. But this can be, and often is, overcome, when people sit down together and talk face to face, get to know each other, and discover that Christ has been made real to each.
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« Reply #120 on: December 12, 2009, 11:20:02 AM »

Hoist by your own petard, ... Baptists, according to you, ... know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God

Oh dear! I understand a petard is a small bomb. Alas!


It is. The phrase means, 'blown into the air by your own cannon'. But since we speak of heaven, perhaps you have the last laugh?
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« Reply #121 on: December 14, 2009, 12:12:45 PM »

Hoist by your own petard, ... Baptists, according to you, ... know the state of someone's heart and relationship with God

Oh dear! I understand a petard is a small bomb. Alas!

But seriously, I think this is verification of the title of this thread "I don't understand the Evangelical mindset" (though I hope not of the conclusion, "never will!" I'll do what I can to help.  Smiley

I suspect that we each come over to each other as proud and arrogant: we to you for the reason given in your post; you to us for the claim that you are the only true Church, and its converse that we are heretics, schismatics and sons of Judas Iscariot. In reality, if one takes the trouble to understand why Orthodox make that astonishing claim, it makes sense, and one can understand without agreeing. (Of course, it can produce Orthodox pride, but that is another matter.)

Similarly, I think if you can come to understand how we 'tick', you may continue to disagree, but you may at least concede that our thoughts do not arise from pride or arrogance.

For one thing, you only have to look at our hymnbooks, which sort-of function as a liturgy, to see the many many expressions of astonishment along the lines of, How can God possibly love and forgive such a guilty and wretched sinner as me? In itself that ought to give you a clue that something other than pride is operative here.

You often talk about 'mystical' matters, and I may find it hard to put into words, but there is an indefinable something that enables those who are born of God to recognise the 'family relationship', the onesss in Christ, the brotherhood as children of God, which transcends denominational barriers. It is recognising instinctively that "this person knows and loves the same Lord as I do", whether "this person" is Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox.

Of course this Christian instinct, though (I believe) God-given, is not infallible, and of course we sometimes believe someone is 'saved' when he is not, and sometimes think someone isn't when he is. None of us is inerrant. But in general terms, if a person is born of God, there is something about his spirit, his conversation, his awareness of Christ, that marks him out as such.

It has nothing to do with pride or arrogance, but rather with brothers and sisters in Christ normally recognising each other as such. Such may be very wealthy Brits, or very poor Albanian gypsies, or anything else: but the sense of fraternity in Christ is there.

"Why" you might ask "do we not recognise it so often and so easily in Catholics and Orthodox?" Probably partly (as I wrote earlier) because we have little contact with them; but partly because you do not (if I understand aright) encourage assurance of salvation, and therefore you talk about your spiritual experience in different terms from ours, and we misunderstand one another. But this can be, and often is, overcome, when people sit down together and talk face to face, get to know each other, and discover that Christ has been made real to each.

First of all, as a former Protestant and one who has lived in the mostly-Baptist American South for all of her life, I am fairly well-acquainted with the theology and praxis of at least the Southern Baptist expression of the Baptist faith (though I understand from your posts that the English version is considerably different).

The point that I made about spiritual pride was that Baptists (and many other Protestants of the Evangelical variety) have a tendency to assume that they are the only Real Christians(tm), and that Roman Catholics and Orthodox (and even other Protestants like Episcopalians, Lutherans etc.) are not.

This seems to be because these other faiths are not Baptist and consequently have not had the particular sort of faith experience (for example, the sinner's prayer, "personal relationship with Christ,"- as they define it - and believer's baptism) that would make them Real Christians(tm).

This is the attitude that I object to most strenuously. It would never occur to me to criticize your personal faith or to denigrate your relationship with God or to pray that you will come to know Christ. I will criticize your theology, or your knowledge of history or myriad other subjects, but never your salvation or your relationship with Christ. I would never assume that, simply because you have mistaken beliefs (in my opinion, of course) that you are not and will not be saved.

Baptists, in my personal experience, make this assumption all the time. They assume that because someone has had a different experience of Christ, then that person is not saved.

And that is why I told you that I will pray that they be delivered from their spiritual pride and arrogance.
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« Reply #122 on: December 14, 2009, 04:10:37 PM »

that is why I told you that I will pray that they be delivered from their spiritual pride and arrogance.

I wonder whether, rather than interpreting it as motivated by pride, you might pray that their eyes will be opened to recognise the Christ whom they know in others who also know him, even if it is expressed in different theological jargon?
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« Reply #123 on: December 14, 2009, 04:29:58 PM »

that is why I told you that I will pray that they be delivered from their spiritual pride and arrogance.

I wonder whether, rather than interpreting it as motivated by pride, you might pray that their eyes will be opened to recognise the Christ whom they know in others who also know him, even if it is expressed in different theological jargon?
Personally, I like to think of Protestants in the same light as I think of stub hub. They may take all of your money but you should thank them because eventually you should end up at the real game or at the real church. Wink
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« Reply #124 on: December 15, 2009, 10:38:40 AM »

Quote from: David Young link=topic=24376.msg385827#msg385827
I wonder whether, rather than interpreting it as motivated by pride, you might pray that their eyes will be opened to recognise the Christ whom they know in others who also know him, even if it is expressed in different theological jargon?

A distinction without a difference, don't you think? If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm), the only kind who knows Christ, and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition, something that is hindering my relationship not only with Christ, but with other people as well.
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« Reply #125 on: December 15, 2009, 11:12:45 AM »

If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.
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« Reply #126 on: December 15, 2009, 11:27:20 AM »

Perhaps. But has anyone actually told you that you are going to hell or that you aren't saved or that you don't have a relationship with Christ because you are not Orthodox?

If you have had this experience, then you know what I am talking about. This is actually quite a common occurrence here in the Southern Baptist/Evangelical-dominated South. It has happened to me, many times. I have been told to my face (at my front door, no less, the front door that, btw, has a three-foot wrought iron cross hanging beside it)  that, because I was baptized as an infant, and have not prayed the sinner's prayer or had a single conversion experience, I don't know Christ and am going to hell. This is a conversation that I would never have with anyone.

And right back at ya: "I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are not Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever...There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace."

Hoist in your own petard again, btw. Since you are objecting to people being treated exactly the way Baptists and Evangelicals have treated me.

(tm) means "trademark."
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« Reply #127 on: December 15, 2009, 11:45:10 AM »

has anyone actually told you that you are going to hell or that you aren't saved or that you don't have a relationship with Christ because you are not Orthodox?

Not face to face. The only Orthodox I have repeated contact with are Fr Theodhori in Gjirokastër, and a widow in her 80s in Korçë whom I visit and pray with on all of my visits to that city, partly because she is lonely, but also because when she was younger and fitter, some seventeen years ago, she said to me that I should stay at her home whenever I needed a bed in the town. (Which I did on a number of occasions.) On the other hand, my colleagues in Korçë, and all who help them with hospitality (including my widow) have been cursed from the pulpit, and ourselves publicly denounced as sons of Judas Iscariot.

Some of the people who post of this forum seem to me to be quite definite that "there is no salvation outside the church", where the church = the Orthodox Church, and seem fairly sure that I and all my kind are on our way to the eternal fires. But I assume they really believe it as an objective truth: I do not assume they are saying it out of pride.

Quote
my front door... has a three-foot wrought iron cross hanging beside it

That probably reinforces their idea that you follow a warped distortion of Christianity. (I am not saying I agree with them: indeed, I wonder what my own visitors think of my icon of 'o deipnos o mystikos' prominently displayed in my study.)

Quote
 that, because I was baptized as an infant, and have not prayed the sinner's prayer or had a single conversion experience, I don't know Christ and am going to hell.

They probably think you are relying on your baptism rather than on Christ; and whilst it is usual for a Christian in Evangelical circles to be able to point to the time of his conversion, there have always been those who cannot recall a particular moment or day, but today they know they are (by grace) saved persons, probably having believed from their mother's knee onwards. It is odd if there are no such people in the churches of Dixie.

I must try to remember your post and ask my American Baptist friends (the wife's name is Dixie) to explain this mindset to me next time we have dinner together.

Quote
your own petard again

I wish people would stop throwing little bombs at me!  Wink
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« Reply #128 on: December 15, 2009, 12:27:26 PM »

If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think Smiley

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« Reply #129 on: December 15, 2009, 12:36:01 PM »

If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think Smiley


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« Reply #130 on: December 15, 2009, 12:46:58 PM »

They probably think you are relying on your baptism rather than on Christ;

An unwarranted and arrogant assumption. For example, I might think, in turn, that they are relying on their particular understanding/theology, to their detriment. But it wouldn't make make me question their sincerity, salvation or relationship with Christ. It would make me question their theology and manners.
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« Reply #131 on: December 15, 2009, 12:49:56 PM »

you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood

What definition of salvation? Writing very briefly on a subject about which many books have been composed, I would say that salvation might be looked at in three ways:

- past, that is the moment in time when I was justified, forgiven, adopted into God's family, united with Christ by the Holy Spirit, born again
- present, that is the ongoing, life-long work of growth in grace and holiness
- future, the final perfection at the resurrection of body and soul in glory, when we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

How is this different from what has been understood apostolically?
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« Reply #132 on: December 15, 2009, 12:57:52 PM »

An unwarranted and arrogant assumption.

Unwarranted - yes.
Arrogant - not necessarily: maybe a genuine misunderstanding. I am sure there are some people in sacerdotal churches who rely on the sacraments and miss Christ himself. It would be strange if there weren't, for such people pepper the pages of Holy Writ and have always been present in religious circles. Just as there are doubtless Southern Baptists who rely on their one-off "sinner's prayer" (as you (and presumably they) term it) and have little or no concept of the need for ongoing faith, obedience, repentance and sanctity. How do I know that you are not indeed one such, and how do you know that I am not, given that (like those who come to your door) we have never met, and also that it is "the Lord" who "knows those who are his"?
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« Reply #133 on: December 15, 2009, 02:27:15 PM »

my front door, no less, the front door that, btw, has a three-foot wrought iron cross hanging beside it

There is possibly also something cultural here. There is a large wooden cross on the inside front wall of the Evangelical Church in Corfu, and a cross outside on the roof of the ones in Alexandroupolis and Ioannina.

A particularly pleasant cultural cross-fertilisation is the lamb roast outdoors on a spit, washed down with home-made wine, enjoyed by the Corfu congregation at Easter.
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« Reply #134 on: December 15, 2009, 02:31:32 PM »

If I believe that I am a Real Christian(tm) ... and everyone else who hasn't had my particular kind of spiritual experience isn't a Real Christian(tm) - that is spiritual pride by definition,

I don't think so. But first, let me ask what (tm) means.

There are two ways of looking at this (among many other ways, no doubt). One is that we do speak a different jargon from each other, and in any society or group, whether religious or secular, we tend to recognise "insiders" by the way they refer to things. We have our Evangelical jargon - sometimes fondly called "the language of Zion" - and if someone has mastery of it, it tends to be assumed that he is 'one of us'. There is of course far more to recognising another Christian than the way he talks, but it does function as a clue or prompt. So if I meet an Orthodox and we discuss our beliefs and experiences, I'm likely to react by thinking (or at least feeling) that he is not talking about the same thing as I am. The other way round, I suspect that you and we do in fact have much the same core experience of the Lord - for how could it be otherwise, if in truth we know him in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek nor other distinction? - but we won't recognise that immediately when we initiate conversation. So if you can't tell me when or how you were born again, or that you enjoy assurance of salvation, I'm likely to suspect these blessings are not yet yours. When I tell you how I became a Christian, and speak of my assurance, but fail to rejoice in the ancient liturgy, the apostolic priesthood, and so on, you are likely to wonder what manner of faith I am talking about, and to conclude it is certainly not yours. But in reality I suspect that the Lord has graciously blessed us both with regeneration and with an awareness of being one of his children. But how can we convey that to each other without first of all penetrating each other's patois?

This is why Albanian Orthodox consider us irreligious: we have no robes, no icons, plain buildings, almost no church calendar, no overt fasting, no incense, indeed no priests. We seem irreligious. But conversely Evangelicals look at the Orthodox, see all these things and more, and perceive only religiosity and no new birth in Christ. In neither case is the assumption justified: we (as a body) are not irreligious, and many indeed have been willing to die for the Lord through the centuries; you do not have only a lifeless religiosity; although I have no doubt there are plenty of irreligious people who do attend Baptist services in Britain if not anywhere else, and equally little doubt that there really are Orthodox who never penetrate more deeply beyond human religiosity. But we are not discussing those who come to our churches and worship God with their lips whilst their hearts are far from him: we are discussing why people in one camp almost automatically consider those in the other to be unsaved (or whatever word Orthodox vocabulary would use for that concept).

So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church, and when I assume you have not been made a partaker of divine grace because you do not speak of your conversion and your assurance of salvation, neither you nor I are motivated by pride. There are of course two possibilities: either each is misunderstanding the other, even though we are both in Christ; or one of us, for whatever reason, really does not personally know the Lord. But the former error leads to the response, even when it is a mistaken conclusion. But it is not motivated by pride.

Of course, when I write of "I" and "you" I am using us as cyphers for an Evangelical and an Orthodox: I do not personally mean David Young and Katherine of Dixie.

Someone on one post mentioned the babushkas in Russia with their deep, comprehensive devotion and the reality of their simple faith. Likewise, I preach in country chapels in England and Wales and meet people who speak to me warmly, nay glowingly, of their love for Christ, their adoration of him, their joy in God's grace towards them in forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I cannot somehow believe that these good people are all unsaved, and their love and trust towards Christ is all hollow and devoid of reality, because they are Baptists or Pentecostals or whatever, rather than Eastern Orthodox. There is a reality there which is too conspicuous to be devoid of divine life and grace.

As I have written before, it is quite possible to be proud of one's Orthodox or one's Baptist (or other Evangelical) heritage, and it is quite possible to look down smugly on those in the other camp as unregenerate (shall I borrow a word and say) non-entities. Neither our churches nor yours has a monopoly on people who harbour misplaced pride. But in itself, a failure to recognise Christ where he is genuinely present can arise from other less sinful causes.

...So when you assume I have not been made a partaker of divine life because I am not in the only true church<<<<

We don't recognize any sort of formulation like this. We don't speak of an Only True Church. We claim the Church founded on Petecost and carried on from there never actually disbanded and is still around. If you follow scripture, that gives The Church certain protections and grace as well as experience. But just like there cant be more than one God there cant be more than one Actual Historic Church. It's just a plain and simple fact. You may not like or agree with the Historic Church, but that does not bare upon our authenticity and we believe our authority.

It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.


Quote
It also does not guarantee your salvation wether you are part of the Church or not. However, when you very definition of Salvation differs from how it has been understood through direct Apostolic succession as yours seems to, it's a red flag to be looked into... I would think Smiley



>>>It does not bear on your belief in the authenticity of your Church. But you must acknowledge that there are those who simply do not believe that the Orthodox Church today is the same as the Church founded on Pentecost. Ultimately, it still comes down to, 'We believe ours is the One True Church' versus, 'We don't believe yours is the One True Church'.
<<<

But this is not area of speculation or religious belief. This is the realm of historical scholarship.There are people who don't think Obama is an American despite the documentation.

 This is not a matter of persuasion or argumentation, it's a matter of education. What you then do with the facts as they are is your business.
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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