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Author Topic: Orthodox Evangilism  (Read 7005 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justinianus
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« on: December 19, 2003, 09:22:14 AM »

The following discussion was started on another thread.  I thought to start another with this as the topic.  This is a topic I have thought much about.  Maybe we can have a discussion about it.  How does the Orthodox Church handle evangilism?  Is it being done?  Where?

DT -

I think one of the biggest adjustments you will face is the seemingly nonchalant Orthodox attitude toward what Baptists call "soul-winning."

I still chomp at the bit to get out and win people to Christ, but there doesn't seem to be as much emphasis on that in Orthodoxy as in the Baptist churches.

This is one case in which I think we could take a lesson from the Baptists.



Interestingly enough, Linus, that's one of the questions my wife asked me a while back--how was the Orthodox church at evangelism?  It seems that if a church has the Truth then that church would desire others to know it (or rather, "Him") as well.  Of course individually, I fall short of what I should be doing in that regard (especially now that I'm at an "in between state" right now theologically).

I was encouraged when I read in Becoming Orthodox how several that had been in Campus Crusade had converted to Orthodoxy.  I wonder if they still have a zeal for evangelism and how do they now go about doing it.  I imagine it would be somewhat different than some of the methods used by Baptists to get a "decision for Christ".
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2003, 09:57:15 AM »

Hiya

I spend a large proportion of my time thinking and praying about and engaged in a variety of evangelistic activities. I do come from an evangelical background and I am still an activist, aware that though I am not very spiritual nevertheless I can do things, and this is all I can offer to God.

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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2003, 11:13:12 AM »

I know what you mean, Peter.

I am also from an Evangelical background. I realize that we Orthodox do not view salvation as the product of an instantaneous "decision for Christ," yet I do feel we could do a lot more to bring the Gospel to the world.

I would like to go out and share the Good News with others, but I am a little hesitant to do so on my own, and there are no other Orthodox Christians in my area.

I know that not everyone is called to be an evangelist or missionary and that many of us lack the requisite knowledge and/or training (not to mention wisdom and spirituality) to be able to witness adequately.

Still, I see other groups out winning converts, and some of those groups are just horrible.

We should be bringing people in and exposing them to the real thing.
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2003, 11:20:14 AM »

Hi Linus7

I am not an evangelist by any means but I find I can't just do nothing. So I am interested in publishing, organising meetings, arranging advertising, sorting out a weekend away. I'm quite shy and retiring but if no-one else acts then no-one hears the Gospel.

Even participating in forums and mailing lists is a form of evangelism.

I find that the model I want to use is one of educating and informing folk about what I believe rather than seeking to convert them. If I can make friends and contacts, if I can share a little, then the rest is all up to God.

PT
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2003, 11:50:14 AM »

I do know of many Orthodox churches that have "Inquirers' Classes".   Perhaps the parishioners could at least invite their friends to these, assuming they are living their lives in such a way that will cause people to ask about the difference (I Peter 3:15).
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2003, 02:04:14 PM »

Every Orthodox Christian is a missionary to some extent or other.   Our parish has visitors all the time, whether by invitation or just folks wandering in off the streets.  We try to be a visible community presence.  Our tiny parish has planted another parish in a town 60 miles away and has gone to great lengths to evangelize and catechise.  We catechized one person by telephone.  This person couldn't make it to inquirer's classed on weeknights because of their remote physical location, so our priest would put a speaker phone in class and call this person and would pay for a  2 hour long distance call once a week so this person could receive instruction.  We've even sent large bundles of Orthodox materials to people in Martinique that happened across our parish's website and wanted to know more.  We were even going to pay for them to come up and visit if they ever think they're interested in converting.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2003, 02:04:58 PM by nicodemus » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2003, 02:12:19 PM »

Is it just me or does nicodemus sound suspiciously ROAC?
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2003, 02:35:11 PM »

Is it just me or does nicodemus sound suspiciously ROAC?
 What is ROAC?  Our parish is OCA.
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2003, 05:59:49 PM »

I'm pleased to say there are some strong examples of Orthodox evangelism in the Dallas-Fort Worth urban area.  We have an active inter-jurisdictional missions board; every other year, they put on a large "Festival of Orthodoxy" with major speakers (last year they brought in Khouria Frederika Matthewes-Green), especially directed at inquirers.  

They also have supported missionaries from the area to both Latin America and Alaska, and some members have taken mission trips to Romania.  

All of the local OCA parishes and missions, and most of the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox parishes, run active inquirers' groups (our little OCA mission in Fort Worth will be receiving five people into Orthodoxy this Theophany).  

We have two active Hispanic Orthodox missions; one attached to the OCA cathedral; the other, an inter-jurisdictional effort:  the local Greek Orthodox parish donated its former (beautiful and old) temple for the purpose, rather than selling it, after they built and moved into their new church.  

I almost forgot:  the missions board also finances and runs a local Orthodox radio program.
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2003, 06:43:54 PM »

Is it just me or does nicodemus sound suspiciously ROAC?
 What is ROAC?  Our parish is OCA.

Be glad that you don't know.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2003, 11:39:01 PM »

Every Orthodox Christian is a missionary to some extent or other.   Our parish has visitors all the time, whether by invitation or just folks wandering in off the streets.  We try to be a visible community presence.  Our tiny parish has planted another parish in a town 60 miles away and has gone to great lengths to evangelize and catechise.  We catechized one person by telephone.  This person couldn't make it to inquirer's classed on weeknights because of their remote physical location, so our priest would put a speaker phone in class and call this person and would pay for a  2 hour long distance call once a week so this person could receive instruction.  We've even sent large bundles of Orthodox materials to people in Martinique that happened across our parish's website and wanted to know more.  We were even going to pay for them to come up and visit if they ever think they're interested in converting.

Sounds to me like your parish is doing all the right things.

Way to go!
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2003, 02:59:59 PM »

Have any of you heard of the Missions and Evangelism Conference put on by the Antiochians every year during Labor Day weekend? It's like a retreat with prayer beginning the day and prayer ending the day.  They have prepared complete how-to-do evangelism manuals. For those of you who have missed a conference or two, it's all available on tape.

They even have an altar call -- Orthodox Style. On Saturday evening, Father Peter Gilquist or another priest will have a sermon inviting all Orthodox to approach the priest for Holy Confession. They stress the difference between Protestantism (OSAS) and Orthodoxy (continual repentance). It is very powerful.

I posted more information in the other thread before I realized that you had started a separate thread.

You may reach them through this link at www.antiochian.org

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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2003, 04:41:59 PM »

Is it just me or does nicodemus sound suspiciously ROAC?
 What is ROAC?  Our parish is OCA.

Be glad that you don't know.  Smiley

Can I at least know what it stand for?  Huh
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2003, 05:36:13 PM »

Dear Nicodemus:

You will in due time! Wink

But, first, you should know about ROCOR?

AmdG
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2003, 05:37:49 PM »

Is there a website that lists Orthodox abbreviations and acronyms?

PT
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2003, 05:56:32 PM »

Dear Nicodemus:

You will in due time! Wink

But, first, you should know about ROCOR?

AmdG

I know what ROCOR is.
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2003, 06:07:22 PM »

Amadeus,

Please put your 6 foot handled  wooden spoon away Wink
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2003, 06:07:25 PM »

Dear Nicodemus:

I am little bit surprised why the Orthodox posters here are reluctant in giving you the run down. Tongue

The following acronyms are:

ROCOR=Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
ROAC=Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church
ROCA=Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
ROCIE=Russian Orthodox Church In Exile

Did I forget somebody else?  

I must admit I personally don't know which is which.

AmdG
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2003, 06:08:51 PM »

Aren't ROCA and ROCIE synonymous ?
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« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2003, 06:11:09 PM »

I saw some black guy the other day in the mall wearing a shirt with ROCA on the back, and ROCA on his jeans.  Nonetheless, i could't help but laugh, as that boy had little notions of the church he was advertising

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« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2003, 06:11:56 PM »

I tought ROCOR and ROCA were synonymous?

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« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2003, 06:18:29 PM »

Dear Nicodemus:

I am little bit surprised why the Orthodox posters here are reluctant in giving you the run down. Tongue

I bit confused to why my parish/I was sounding "suspiciously" like one of these groups, and what exactly that's supposed to mean.
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« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2003, 06:32:08 PM »

Getting back on the topic -- rather dangerous though for a non -Orthodox to do here -- a thought occurs - if you are trying to evangelise folk [ though not me please Wink ] doesn't example come into it - possibly even more than discussion ?

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« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2003, 05:11:39 PM »

I'm not surprised to see how many Orthodox come from evangelical backgrounds. The critical flaw with evangelical proselytism is the mistaken belief that one's God and one's religion is vindicated by the number of converts one has won over. The next step is missionizing, arguing on message boards like this, refuting lies and graceless heresies, and just wallowing in triumph. The RCC knows only too well the problems this causes.
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« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2003, 05:22:06 PM »

I don't think that at all. I am part of a small numerically unsuccessful mission. But that doesn't take away my responsibility to pray, seek opportunities to explain and persuade. It doesn't take away my responsibility to advertise, produce literature, organise times and places where people who have been touched by God can take a step or two further on their pilgrimages.

I would love all the people in Kent to become Orthodox, I am happy if God provides opportunities to make friends with folk who are seeking God's will and never end up joining my Church. That's God's prerogative not mine. I'm happy to be a sower while God chooses others to be reapers.

i am completely committed to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church, but I am also glad to rejoice over all of God's truth wherever it is found, with many prayers that those I meet might be united in the fulness of God's Church in God's time.

My little mission community is too small to be triumphant. We have learned to laugh at each other even while we recognise as a truth that our liturgies are packed out with the saints and angels of God. Standing room only I'm afraid.

I think that some aspects of Roman Catholicism are defective. I've not been taught that at 'The St Brutal's Orthodox School of Aggressive Evanglism'. I'm not a polemicist. And I don't think that the many devout Roman Catholic's I have come to know are somehow second-class compared to me. But if Orthodoxy IS true then I have responsibilities and duties. Aggressive proselytism isn't one of them. Thoughtful and prayerful evangelism is. If that is part of my evangelical heritage then I thank God for it.

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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2003, 05:42:10 PM »

Quote
But that doesn't take away my responsibility to pray, seek opportunities to explain and persuade.

You have a responsibility to persuade?
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« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2003, 05:55:43 PM »

"Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men" 2 Cor 5:11

"And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God." Acts 19:8

"And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not." Acts 28:23

If it's good enough for St Paul it's good enough for me.

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« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2003, 06:03:08 PM »

That was before the Schism. That was be before Chalcedon and the Protestant Reformation. Now we have seperated Christians, and every one of them has a conscience. If you want to persuade them, fine, but that hasn't gone well for the RCC, historically. (I don't know if you've heard of Eastern Catholics). Maybe God has different rules for your Church.
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« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2003, 06:07:31 PM »

Oy - that's a bit harsh !!

You win more people by kind words and example than bashing them over the head with four by four planks which is some folks methods.
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« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2003, 06:13:42 PM »

Yeah. Sorry. I'm going through my afternoon coffee withdrawal. A bit cranky.

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« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2003, 06:15:51 PM »

Too bad there's not an emoticon for withdrawal.
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« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2003, 06:17:08 PM »

I don't really know what you mean? I'd have thought that we all believe that which we have been persuaded of. My own Church has suffered 1300 years of persuasion by Muslims. You seem to have a bit of a button on that word. I used it in the context of believing that God gives us opportunities to persuade people of the truth. This is my experience any how. I'm not sure how Chalcedon and the Protestant Reformation come into it. As a Protestant I was persuaded that Orthodoxy was the truth by many people over many years and through many means. Why should I not want to persuade others of what I believe is the truth. They always have the freedom to reject it.

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« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2003, 06:27:53 PM »

Actually, I think even RC's have a responsibility to persuade or at least defend the Truth. Like I said, those posts came right before my caffeine DT's.  Please disregard. Sometimes I get caught up in the emotional tendency of this board. I grabbed a coke out of the workroom fridge.

Recharging.
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« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2003, 06:37:08 PM »

I'd expect serious Roman Catholics to be seeking to persuade others concerning that which they believe to be true. Surely this is normal?

I'd much rather deal with thoughtful people with coherent beliefs which they are willing to eirenically defend than marshmallow people who don't really believe anything. I'm not afraid of disagreement, if it's done pleasantly. It is, after all, no surprise that Orthodox and RC's have some controversial matters between them. I'm actually in favour of Linus7's approach though I don't necessarily agree with how far he seems to go.

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« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2003, 08:53:52 PM »

I don't think of it as a responsibility to persuade. It is a work of mercy to correct sinners, and to instruct the ignorant. As far as persuasion goes, they can take it or leave it.
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« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2003, 01:17:30 AM »

I'm afraid I don't understand, Vicki. Please explain further. Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2003, 04:28:37 AM »

I'm afraid I don't fully understand caffeinator. To persuade is to have an end in view, one that requires attentiveness to the listener, one that requires intelligence, appropriate resources etc etc. I can't be seeking to persuade anyone if I just shout or quote platitudes.

How is this different to correcting sinners? Unless by correcting we just mean making moralistic statements about how sinful people are, which I'm sure you don't mean.

In the end it is up to God and people if they are corrected or persuaded. But if we don't have a potential end in view - that of desiring that someone come to the fullness of the faith - then we are neither persuading nor correcting. Just making ourselves feel good.

I agree with Vicki that it would be good if we had an intelligent, spiritual and educated laity. A standardised catechism would be a boon. And would be another thing helping to draw communities together across jurisdictions.

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« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2003, 10:53:36 AM »

I see where you're coming from, Peter. It's just that the connotation I'm familiar with (re: persuade) means to change somebody's mind. As far as that goes, I think it is God who persuades, and we just pray and defend the Truth with any given opportunity. But this is all semantics.

I think there is something to my original post, which admittedly was overstated. Some Christians feel it is their duty to change other Christian's minds, and to win converts from other denominations over to theirs. My attitude toward other Christians is to witness by example (so don't worry, you're all safe!) and to engage in fellowship with them. But then, this is something I need to work on.
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« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2003, 10:58:53 AM »

Upon a second read I see that I didn't answer your question. Oh bedangit. You done persuaded me.
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« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2003, 11:12:45 AM »

Because too many people want to make the package look so attractive they say "nope...you don't have to worry about that" or "nobody does that" or just don't know....turns people off or worse, spreads misinformation.

What turns people OFF are legalistic applications to a religion that was founded upon the principal of "God Is Love" and "Whoseover believeth in Me shall not perish, but have everlasting life". Not, and you MUST to keep the fast on these days, and also do this, and then ....

Yes, they should agree with the STATEMENT OF FAITH of the Church and such, and they should be made aware of what pious Orthodox believe and Orthodox should do.

Understand that I am not saying that the Traditions are NOT important, I am saying that they should be presented as GOALS that the faithful should strive toward. But I don't think that they should be presented as LAWS of GOD in order to be Orthodox.

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« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2003, 11:16:15 AM »

Actually I find that I'm in agreement with Caffeinator to my astonishment.

To me persuade often has an uncomfortable connotation - almost by force - you know the sort of thing - talk at someone till you wear them down  - like the doorstep salesman - and you finally sign up to get rid of him some 3 or 4 hours later.

This is why I keep hammering at example and sweet words rather than vinegar.
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« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2003, 11:28:09 AM »

Yeah. That makes sense.
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« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2003, 11:40:10 AM »

Kala Christougena, Vicki!

What I want for Christmas:

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Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2003, 11:44:10 AM »

And on Earth, peace, good will towards men.  Smiley
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"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
The Caffeinator
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« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2003, 01:07:50 PM »

Quote
Actually I find that I'm in agreement with Caffeinator to my astonishment.

Is it really that astonishing? Smiley
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