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Author Topic: Exhausting Evangelicals  (Read 7930 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: April 16, 2010, 01:43:35 PM »

It's now been some time since I've really associated with evangelicals on a personal level, but I recently connected with a friend who is of that persuasion. It seems the longer I'm absent from that world, the more perplexed I am by their whole worldview/mentality. I realize I now only associate with Orthodox or non-believers.

I noticed they like to talk a lot about Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. They say very little about the Trinity. I find I get so tired of listening to them talking about their relationship with Jesus. It makes me feel tired and impatient. Maybe something is wrong with me. I've joined the camp where I think this stuff is very private. I actually trust them that they are religious without having to discuss it or have them reassure me over and over again that they are, but they seem to think they have to repeat and reinforce everything verbally and constantly. It actually comes across a bit as an insecurity.

And, once again, I was told how unchristian the Orthodox are in the Old Country. How I am being rather stupid to become Orthodox here-naive and stupid-because maybe it's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism, but over there-it's dark and hopeless. I was reminded brilliantly of Augustin's remark about the Romanian Baptists accusing the Orthodox of being such great sinners-Augustin-if you are reading this right now-we had this identical conversation.

I am just so tired of evangelicals misunderstanding Orthodoxy and thinking they are the only true spiritual people in the world.

End of rant.
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 02:17:52 PM »

Most Protestants in my neck of the woods don't know Orthodoxy exists, or if they do they assume it's some weird branch of the Roman Catholic church.  I've kind of given up trying to explain the difference because most people I've encountered get that glazed-over look in their eyes and end the conversation with, "So, you're Catholic."

I agree with you on the feeling I get from some people who feel like they have to validate their faith by endlessly referencing Jesus, though it seems people are uncomfortable with Him on a first-name basis and go for "The Lord" instead.  When I was in my old church's youth group there was a lot of encouragement toward demonstrating your faith even to the point of ingratiating others.  In fact, it was almost a badge of accomplishment if you happened to irritate someone while "witnessing" because it meant you were being persecuted for your faith.  Maybe that was just my local church, but I've seen it in other churches too. 

I'm with you when you say I prefer keeping my faith on a more personal, private level.  If I'm doing what I should be, it should be obvious anyway and there's no need to talk it up then.  If it shows, people will ask. 
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 02:24:47 PM »

This is not a rant, Rosehip!

Working at a small and predominantly female college in the Deep South of the USA, I encounter Evangelical Protestants pretty much every day. Very many of my students wear T-shirts with New Testament quotes; there are very many ads or flyers across campus announcing about this or that activity in the First Baptist or Central Methodist of Umpty-Fifth Pentecostal Church, etc. Probably about a hundred or so of my current and past students are friends with me on Facebook, and I always see their posts about being saved and "personal relationship with Jesus," and so on and so forth.

I am not really bothered or disturbed by them, but it is just sad to me that they - and their pastors! - do not even want to think for one minute that there really exists this thing called the Orthodox Church. Virtually all of them are absolutely incorrigible "congregationalists" who think that "church" is something *I* go to and there are many, many, many different OTHER churche*S*, and that's OK as long as they are "Bible-believing." The notion that the CHURCH is ONE and they are not in Her is incomprehensible to them. In whatever form I offer this notion to them, they turn off their ears and brains in a flash, in a split second. Interestingly, they are not offended and they keep in touch with me, but they are just absolutely deaf to the words about the Church being One and them not being in Her.

I am curious, is this the same in Western Europe or in Australia? Or is this merely a North American phenomenon?
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 02:30:19 PM »

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there really exists this thing called the Orthodox Church. Virtually all of them are absolutely incorrigible "congregationalists" who think that "church" is something *I* go to and there are many, many, many different OTHER churche*S*, and that's OK as long as they are "Bible-believing." The notion that the CHURCH is ONE and they are not in Her is incomprehensible to them. In whatever form I offer this notion to them, they turn off their ears and brains in a flash, in a split second. Interestingly, they are not offended and they keep in touch with me, but they are just absolutely deaf to the words about the Church being One and them not being in Her.


George, all my friends from my former religion think EXACTLY like this. in fact, they literally think i am evil and a dangerous heretic (!) for saying there is one, true Church!?! They believe that to say so is sinful, and that the only "true" church was a trickle of believers here and there down throughout the ages who were super spiritual and who protested by their holy lives against the degenerate, evil, State Church which was Always In Bed With the Satanic Government.
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 02:33:01 PM »

EofK, I know what you are talking about. Many of my friends are immigrants from Orthodox countries though, so they are all acutely aware of the Orthodox church, even if they are evangelical protestants. I know very few run-of-the-mill Protestants born in North America.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 03:23:00 PM »

It's now been some time since I've really associated with evangelicals on a personal level, but I recently connected with a friend who is of that persuasion. It seems the longer I'm absent from that world, the more perplexed I am by their whole worldview/mentality. I realize I now only associate with Orthodox or non-believers.

I noticed they like to talk a lot about Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. They say very little about the Trinity. I find I get so tired of listening to them talking about their relationship with Jesus. It makes me feel tired and impatient. Maybe something is wrong with me. I've joined the camp where I think this stuff is very private. I actually trust them that they are religious without having to discuss it or have them reassure me over and over again that they are, but they seem to think they have to repeat and reinforce everything verbally and constantly. It actually comes across a bit as an insecurity.

And, once again, I was told how unchristian the Orthodox are in the Old Country. How I am being rather stupid to become Orthodox here-naive and stupid-because maybe it's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism, but over there-it's dark and hopeless. I was reminded brilliantly of Augustin's remark about the Romanian Baptists accusing the Orthodox of being such great sinners-Augustin-if you are reading this right now-we had this identical conversation.

I am just so tired of evangelicals misunderstanding Orthodoxy and thinking they are the only true spiritual people in the world.

End of rant.


I think it was Lenny Bruce who said:

"Asking people about how they pray is like asking about how they....have sex ( terminology cleaned up to suit G rated site)
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 06:17:57 PM »

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there really exists this thing called the Orthodox Church. Virtually all of them are absolutely incorrigible "congregationalists" who think that "church" is something *I* go to and there are many, many, many different OTHER churche*S*, and that's OK as long as they are "Bible-believing." The notion that the CHURCH is ONE and they are not in Her is incomprehensible to them. In whatever form I offer this notion to them, they turn off their ears and brains in a flash, in a split second. Interestingly, they are not offended and they keep in touch with me, but they are just absolutely deaf to the words about the Church being One and them not being in Her.


George, all my friends from my former religion think EXACTLY like this. in fact, they literally think i am evil and a dangerous heretic (!) for saying there is one, true Church!?! They believe that to say so is sinful, and that the only "true" church was a trickle of believers here and there down throughout the ages who were super spiritual and who protested by their holy lives against the degenerate, evil, State Church which was Always In Bed With the Satanic Government.
From "From First Baptist to the First Century" by Clark Carlton (http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_carltonfirstbaptist.aspx):
Quote
As Christos Yannaras puts it, The fall arises out of man's free decision to reject personal communion with God and restrict himself to the autonomy and self-sufficiency of his own nature.13 In other words, sin is the free choice of individual autonomy. Irony of ironies: that which I had been touting all of these years as the basis of true religion-the absolute autonomy of the individual-turned out to be the Original Sin!...I began to realize that the freedom I had defended so vehemently was not freedom at all, but slavery to my own individual whims, to my context, to the necessities of my fragmented nature, and ultimately to death.

They believe that...the only "true" church was a trickle of believers here and there down throughout the ages who were super spiritual and who protested by their holy lives against the degenerate, evil, State Church which was Always In Bed With the Satanic Government.

That's because they don't actually understand the meaning of the Incarnation. Ask a Protestant, 'why was Jesus baptized?' and you'll see what I mean.
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 06:24:42 PM »

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That's because they don't actually understand the meaning of the Incarnation. Ask a Protestant, 'why was Jesus baptized?' and you'll see what I mean.

Sigh. I've repeatedly been down that route too. They simply don't get it. You explain the incarnation to them over and over again and then five minutes later they prove to you they either weren't listening, or they simply didn't get it...Jesus got baptized to be an example for us, to show that we too, as mature, adult believers, should get baptized. Infant baptism is a heresy because baptism is an outward sign of an inner change, which can only occur in an adult.
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2010, 09:40:04 PM »

I feel the same way... I especially relate to George's & EofK's experiences.  I'm still fairly mixed into both worlds and I'm so sad sometimes that my Protestant friends just don't even care.  Many ARE unhappy where they are but like EofK they get a glazed look whenever I mention the fullness of Orthodoxy.  It is SO exasperating and heartbreaking, actually. 

I don't really want to become exclusionary and not have any Protestant friends, but sometimes it would be just so much easier just to walk away and ignore. 
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2010, 11:03:27 PM »

It's now been some time since I've really associated with evangelicals on a personal level, but I recently connected with a friend who is of that persuasion. It seems the longer I'm absent from that world, the more perplexed I am by their whole worldview/mentality. I realize I now only associate with Orthodox or non-believers.

I noticed they like to talk a lot about Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. They say very little about the Trinity. I find I get so tired of listening to them talking about their relationship with Jesus. It makes me feel tired and impatient. Maybe something is wrong with me. I've joined the camp where I think this stuff is very private. I actually trust them that they are religious without having to discuss it or have them reassure me over and over again that they are, but they seem to think they have to repeat and reinforce everything verbally and constantly. It actually comes across a bit as an insecurity.

And, once again, I was told how unchristian the Orthodox are in the Old Country. How I am being rather stupid to become Orthodox here-naive and stupid-because maybe it's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism, but over there-it's dark and hopeless. I was reminded brilliantly of Augustin's remark about the Romanian Baptists accusing the Orthodox of being such great sinners-Augustin-if you are reading this right now-we had this identical conversation.

I am just so tired of evangelicals misunderstanding Orthodoxy and thinking they are the only true spiritual people in the world.

End of rant.

Don't lose heart, I have a very good friend who is an evangelical,and seems very open and intrigued by Orthodoxy,He is beginning to come around,I pray for him,and I also pray for mine own heart. He still has a way to go,but has an open mind.
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2010, 10:04:44 AM »

And, once again, I was told how unchristian the Orthodox are in the Old Country. How I am being rather stupid to become Orthodox here-naive and stupid-because maybe it's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism, but over there-it's dark and hopeless.

Their blanket judgments are totally uncalled for, but so are some of the ones in this thread.

I just wanted to throw my "fairness" hat in the ring and say that many of these things here, like liturgy in a modern tongue, are of Protestant import, and are for the better. So are modern translations of the Holy Scriptures. Those two influences have made a big difference in the way Orthodoxy functions in North America.

I just want to give credit where it's due, that's all.

For the record, Evangelical culture annoys me too.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2010, 10:18:46 AM »

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I just wanted to throw my "fairness" hat in the ring and say that many of these things here, like liturgy in a modern tongue, are of Protestant import, and are for the better. So are modern translations of the Holy Scriptures. Those two influences have made a big difference in the way Orthodoxy functions in North America.

Yes, it's interesting that nearly all my Protestant friends who are acquainted with Orthodoxy in Europe tell me right away, without having experienced Orthodoxy here, that Orthodoxy is better, more spiritual, in North America than it is in say, Russia, because of the Protestant influences...

As for the modern translations, I'm no KJV only fanatic, but I did grow up with that version, and never had any problems understanding it. Same applies to the BCP-our family always preferred the 1549 (?) version to the modern versions. It was more beautiful.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 10:21:01 AM by Rosehip » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2010, 10:20:18 AM »

Muslim culture annoys me more.
But then so does the effete, materialistic, politically correct, pseudo-intellectual, anti-Christ, hypocritical culture of the San Francisco bay area.
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2010, 10:23:00 AM »

Curiously though, I have almost more in common with my Uzbekhistani Muslim neighbours than I do with my evangelical friends.
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 10:24:23 AM »

Quote
I just wanted to throw my "fairness" hat in the ring and say that many of these things here, like liturgy in a modern tongue, are of Protestant import, and are for the better. So are modern translations of the Holy Scriptures. Those two influences have made a big difference in the way Orthodoxy functions in North America.

Yes, it's interesting that nearly all my Protestant friends who are acquainted with Orthodoxy in Europe tell me right away, without having experienced Orthodoxy here, that Orthodoxy is better, more spiritual, in North America than it is in say, Russia, because of the Protestant influences...

As for the modern translations, I'm no KJV only fanatic, but I did grow up with that version, and never had any problems understanding it. Same applies to the BCP-our family always preferred the 1549 (?) version to the modern versions. It was more beautiful.

Hi Rosehip,

We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2010, 10:27:57 AM »

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We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy.

Now that is interesting, because it's EXACTLY what all my Eastern European friends are saying! Sounds like the Orthodox Church could be flourishing over there if they would only strive to develope more of a loving church community spirit. Very sad that this is not being worked on and people are being turned away by the lack of personal touch.
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2010, 10:28:20 AM »

It's now been some time since I've really associated with evangelicals on a personal level, but I recently connected with a friend who is of that persuasion. It seems the longer I'm absent from that world, the more perplexed I am by their whole worldview/mentality. I realize I now only associate with Orthodox or non-believers.

I noticed they like to talk a lot about Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. They say very little about the Trinity. I find I get so tired of listening to them talking about their relationship with Jesus. It makes me feel tired and impatient. Maybe something is wrong with me. I've joined the camp where I think this stuff is very private. I actually trust them that they are religious without having to discuss it or have them reassure me over and over again that they are, but they seem to think they have to repeat and reinforce everything verbally and constantly. It actually comes across a bit as an insecurity.

And, once again, I was told how unchristian the Orthodox are in the Old Country. How I am being rather stupid to become Orthodox here-naive and stupid-because maybe it's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism, but over there-it's dark and hopeless. I was reminded brilliantly of Augustin's remark about the Romanian Baptists accusing the Orthodox of being such great sinners-Augustin-if you are reading this right now-we had this identical conversation.

I am just so tired of evangelicals misunderstanding Orthodoxy and thinking they are the only true spiritual people in the world.

End of rant.


I think it was Lenny Bruce who said:

"Asking people about how they pray is like asking about how they....have sex ( terminology cleaned up to suit G rated site)
LOL.  I like it.

On the other side, most people in America would love to know the most intimate details of your sex life and won't mind if you share, but don't want to hear you talk about religion (line from "Northern Exposure," an episode I happened to see when nothing else was on, in the vain hopes of some reference to Orthodoxy in Alaska).

Christ is risen!
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2010, 10:33:30 AM »

Quote
We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy.

Now that is interesting, because it's EXACTLY what all my Eastern European friends are saying! Sounds like the Orthodox Church could be flourishing over there if they would only strive to develope more of a loving church community spirit. Very sad that this is not being worked on and people are being turned away by the lack of personal touch.

Yes, the personal touch is what one gets when they come to my parish. What a great way to describe it.  Smiley
Also, the devotion to serving the poor and homeless takes center stage in my parish.
Evangelical culture has something to offer Orthodoxy in North America.
But then these two characteristics (charity and hospitality) are what made many become Christians 2000 thousand years ago.
Perhaps the evangelicals will help us reclaim our TRUE cultural heritage as Christians.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 10:36:09 AM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2010, 10:46:19 AM »

My friends would say it was the amalgamation with the state which helped the church lose touch with the true spirit of the early church...I can't help but feel that it did contribute to a wide-spread indifference...

Sometimes I am tempted to feel that being treated with love and as family is more important than dogma and making money off of services.
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2010, 11:01:43 AM »

My friends would say it was the amalgamation with the state which helped the church lose touch with the true spirit of the early church...I can't help but feel that it did contribute to a wide-spread indifference...

Sometimes I am tempted to feel that being treated with love and as family is more important than dogma and making money off of services.

I would agree, having a church that is subsidized by the state is never a good thing. If someone feels that being a member of the church makes them a loyal member of their nation and a true (insert ethnic identity) but have lost the sense of what it means to be a Christian then the only one being served is the devil.
Here, in North America, we don't have to worry about that. We can focus on what it means to be Orthodox Christians.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 11:04:54 AM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2010, 11:28:05 AM »

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We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy
.
Perhaps she meant:"If all churches in Russia had the fuzzy protestant/Evangelical feeling, then there'd be no need for actual evangelical churches."
This could be a good thing, in so far as it could attract some people to the church, butit could also repel others.
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« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2010, 11:31:54 AM »

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We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy
.
Perhaps she meant:"If all churches in Russia had the fuzzy protestant/Evangelical feeling, then there'd be no need for actual evangelical churches."
This could be a good thing, in so far as it could attract some people to the church, butit could also repel others.

Wow! Nice judgement there without ever having attended my parish. I grew up among the ethnics so, no, my parish is not a warm, fuzzy protestant-feeling parish. In many ways, the people in this parish hold on to Orthodox traditions like fasting and almsgiving to a greater extent than many cradle Orthodox people.

Other benefits to this parish are we don't have fist-fights or chairs being thrown at one another during parish council meetings, unlike the parish I grew up in. Also, we don't need to throw ethnic festivals to pay our bills and which drain the parish of time and energy to help the poor.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 11:36:06 AM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2010, 11:39:58 AM »

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We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy
.
Perhaps she meant:"If all churches in Russia had the fuzzy protestant/Evangelical feeling, then there'd be no need for actual evangelical churches."
This could be a good thing, in so far as it could attract some people to the church, butit could also repel others.

But isn't the entire New Testament full of admonitions to "administer to the needs of the saints", to be filled with love one to another, to help those in need, to treat the members of the faith community as brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc.? How can we ignore these biblical commands? Those aren't fuzzy feelings at all, but tangible results of our love for Christ pouring out in action and the Fruit of the Spirit as in the Epistle to the Galatians.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 11:41:36 AM by Rosehip » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2010, 11:40:33 AM »

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Other benefits to this parish are we don't have fist-fights or chairs being thrown at one another during parish council meetings, unlike the parish I grew up in.
I see that as a loss for your new parish, though.

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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2010, 11:43:12 AM »

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We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy
.
Perhaps she meant:"If all churches in Russia had the fuzzy protestant/Evangelical feeling, then there'd be no need for actual evangelical churches."
This could be a good thing, in so far as it could attract some people to the church, butit could also repel others.

But isn't the entire New Testament full of admonitions to "administer to the needs of the saints", to be filled with love one to another, to help those in need, to treat the members of the faith community as brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc.? How can we ignore these biblical commands?
The churches back home, didn't have the fuzziness of evangelical churches and yet, they didn't forget the poor, the sick, the needy. But the atmosphere would still be off-putting to some evangelicals.
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« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2010, 11:43:31 AM »

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Other benefits to this parish are we don't have fist-fights or chairs being thrown at one another during parish council meetings, unlike the parish I grew up in.
I see that as a loss for your new parish, though.



Then you have a distorted sense of what it means to be a community of Orthodox believers.
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« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2010, 11:47:45 AM »

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We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy
.
Perhaps she meant:"If all churches in Russia had the fuzzy protestant/Evangelical feeling, then there'd be no need for actual evangelical churches."
This could be a good thing, in so far as it could attract some people to the church, butit could also repel others.

But isn't the entire New Testament full of admonitions to "administer to the needs of the saints", to be filled with love one to another, to help those in need, to treat the members of the faith community as brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc.? How can we ignore these biblical commands? Those aren't fuzzy feelings at all, but tangible results of our love for Christ pouring out in action and the Fruit of the Spirit as in the Epistle to the Galatians.

Rosehip,

Yes it is. Don't let anyone ever convince you otherwise. We are to love one another and care for the poor.
St. Basil built the first hospitals and took care of those who lived in poverty. That is our TRUE Orthodox heritage.
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« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2010, 11:50:31 AM »

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Other benefits to this parish are we don't have fist-fights or chairs being thrown at one another during parish council meetings, unlike the parish I grew up in.
I see that as a loss for your new parish, though.



Then you have a distorted sense of what it means to be a community of Orthodox believers.
Well, the (upper) middle class don't throw chairs at each other, they "agree to disagree", that's the cause. I can tell you that much without having ever stepped into your church.
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« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2010, 11:53:07 AM »

Well, I'm not upper middle-class, nor even middle class, and I hope I don't throw chairs at people!!
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« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2010, 11:56:20 AM »

Quote
We have a new Russian immigrant member of our mostly non-cradle parish. She was an evangelical in Russia and she said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy
.
Perhaps she meant:"If all churches in Russia had the fuzzy protestant/Evangelical feeling, then there'd be no need for actual evangelical churches."
This could be a good thing, in so far as it could attract some people to the church, butit could also repel others.

But isn't the entire New Testament full of admonitions to "administer to the needs of the saints", to be filled with love one to another, to help those in need, to treat the members of the faith community as brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc.? How can we ignore these biblical commands?
The churches back home, didn't have the fuzziness of evangelical churches and yet, they didn't forget the poor, the sick, the needy. But the atmosphere would still be off-putting to some evangelicals.

Members from my parish have gone to Romania to run programs for Romanian Orthodox with drug and alchohol addiction problems. One member started a ministry to take care of the Romanian orphans who have been forgotten by the Romanian Orthodox Church. At Christmas time we send shoe boxes to Romania filled with small toys and candy to be given to the children of priests in Romania. Another woman went last summer and was part of an OCMC program which ran retreats for Romanian Orthodox women.
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« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2010, 11:58:45 AM »

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Other benefits to this parish are we don't have fist-fights or chairs being thrown at one another during parish council meetings, unlike the parish I grew up in.
I see that as a loss for your new parish, though.



Then you have a distorted sense of what it means to be a community of Orthodox believers.
Well, the (upper) middle class don't throw chairs at each other, they "agree to disagree", that's the cause. I can tell you that much without having ever stepped into your church.


We have folks in my parish who rent apartments, do not own cars, and devote their lives to the poor so you are wrong again.
The ethnic folks at my old parish are wealthier. Mercedes Benz and BMWs fill the parking lot. Many of them have built middle eastern palaces in the Bay area.
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« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2010, 12:27:53 PM »

Well  then, perhaps I should have said, "SWPL people" Wink
Any significant numbers in your new parish?
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« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2010, 12:31:34 PM »

What does SWPL mean?
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« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2010, 12:47:42 PM »

What does SWPL mean?
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/
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« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2010, 12:53:07 PM »


And the point is? The Bible tells us to "provoke one another to love and good works".  I refuse to believe these commands were solely directly at "white people", but rather, to ALL Christians.

What does this have to do with "white people"? To me, this has to do with the outpouring of Christian faith-it is NOT a racial issue.
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« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2010, 01:44:24 PM »

Well  then, perhaps I should have said, "SWPL people" Wink
Any significant numbers in your new parish?

Actually, among the so-called "white people," you seem to hold in passive-aggressive contempt, we have Asian-American, Syrian and Palestinian-American, Greek-American, Russian and Ukrainian-American, Central-American and Eritrean families.

We are a parish of about 100 families and growing. Over half of our parish is under the age of 30 with many new parishioners in utero.

I guess your categorized misconceptions about upper class Orthodox ethnic folks and middle class Orthodox white folks don't fit. You should get out more and see what is really happening in the Orthodox world instead of making up generalizations which are not true. Cool

There is another parish in southern California, that is made up of former tattooed punk rockers and grad students. An unlikely combination of two different social classes that mix well according to a Biola evangelical student who attends this parish as an inquirer. Orthodox Christianity is the glue that holds us all together, regardless of our backgrounds or ethnicity.


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« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2010, 03:09:16 PM »

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that is made up of former tattooed punk rockers and grad students.

Just out of curiosity, is that actually tattooed former punk rockers?  Cause tattoo removal gets expensive...
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« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2010, 03:19:12 PM »

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that is made up of former tattooed punk rockers and grad students.

Just out of curiosity, is that actually tattooed former punk rockers?  Cause tattoo removal gets expensive...

You have it right. My mistake.  Smiley
They may still be punk rockers too. I haven't been to the parish to visit.
Perhaps they are tattooed punk rockers who are now Orthodox Christians.
It just goes to show, that the Orthodox Church is relevant to anyone.
Christ speaks to all of us in many different ways.
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« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2010, 03:31:43 PM »




 
   
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Actually, among the so-called "white people," you seem to hold in passive-aggressive contempt
Actually is not about a whites in general, much less about a race. It is about a small, yet quite visible subculture, whose skin doesn't really have to be pink. Some tend to shop around Orthodox churches for some reason. Makes them feel more authentic, perhaps.
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« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2010, 04:57:48 PM »

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Actually, among the so-called "white people," you seem to hold in passive-aggressive contempt
Actually is not about a whites in general, much less about a race. It is about a small, yet quite visible subculture, whose skin doesn't really have to be pink. Some tend to shop around Orthodox churches for some reason. Makes them feel more authentic, perhaps.

There are annoying people in any category. I have met ethnic Orthodox who can be just as tiring.
They whine and moan about American politics while they make a fortune off the opportunities and freedom they have here. Meanwhile, their relatives back in the muslim old country live under decaying dictatorships which offer their people nothing but misery and suffering.
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« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2010, 09:45:14 PM »

Well  then, perhaps I should have said, "SWPL people" Wink
Any significant numbers in your new parish?

There is another parish in southern California, that is made up of former tattooed punk rockers and grad students. An unlikely combination of two different social classes that mix well according to a Biola evangelical student who attends this parish as an inquirer. Orthodox Christianity is the glue that holds us all together, regardless of our backgrounds or ethnicity.


Yeah, I met Turbo once two years ago. I think that's his parish. A number of his punk/goth/rock friends followed him to Orthodoxy. Things seem to be working well in that Antiochian parish, but it didn't work for his other friends in a GOA parish.


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« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2010, 11:57:08 PM »

A long time friend of mine (over 3 decades) and his wife were recently baptized in a non-denominational, evangelical Christian Church.

He has no idea about Christianity and concludes that evangelicals and Orthodox agree on many items; yet, when I explain the differences, he's speechless and nearly offended.

To the OP, if the Evangelicals can't tolerate Orthodox practice, mindset and discipline, let them be.   Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2010, 01:47:17 AM »

Well  then, perhaps I should have said, "SWPL people" Wink
Any significant numbers in your new parish?

There is another parish in southern California, that is made up of former tattooed punk rockers and grad students. An unlikely combination of two different social classes that mix well according to a Biola evangelical student who attends this parish as an inquirer. Orthodox Christianity is the glue that holds us all together, regardless of our backgrounds or ethnicity.


Yeah, I met Turbo once two years ago. I think that's his parish. A number of his punk/goth/rock friends followed him to Orthodoxy. Things seem to be working well in that Antiochian parish, but it didn't work for his other friends in a GOA parish.

I don't think counter-culture folks would find open arms in most ethnic parishes. Many of the Greek and Antiochian ethnic parishes are the home for wealthy immigrants, their children and grandchildren.
Banquets, golf tournies, fashion shows, sweet sixteen balls, fancy ethnic dance parties are a part of the culture in these parishes because the ethnic folks want main stream America to know they have arrived into the upperclass.
The Antiochian parish with the punk rockers is not a part of that wealthy culture. The priest there sees himself as a servant to those God brings to his parish.

Full disclosure: I have been to many a banquet, I have been in the fashion shows, and have been to countless haflis (Arab dance parties) so I know that culture well. It has nothing to do with Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2010, 03:23:36 AM »

It's now been some time since I've really associated with evangelicals on a personal level, but I recently connected with a friend who is of that persuasion. It seems the longer I'm absent from that world, the more perplexed I am by their whole worldview/mentality. I realize I now only associate with Orthodox or non-believers.

I noticed they like to talk a lot about Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. They say very little about the Trinity. I find I get so tired of listening to them talking about their relationship with Jesus. It makes me feel tired and impatient. Maybe something is wrong with me. I've joined the camp where I think this stuff is very private. I actually trust them that they are religious without having to discuss it or have them reassure me over and over again that they are, but they seem to think they have to repeat and reinforce everything verbally and constantly. It actually comes across a bit as an insecurity.

And, once again, I was told how unchristian the Orthodox are in the Old Country. How I am being rather stupid to become Orthodox here-naive and stupid-because maybe it's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism, but over there-it's dark and hopeless. I was reminded brilliantly of Augustin's remark about the Romanian Baptists accusing the Orthodox of being such great sinners-Augustin-if you are reading this right now-we had this identical conversation.

I am just so tired of evangelicals misunderstanding Orthodoxy and thinking they are the only true spiritual people in the world.

End of rant.

Every single sentence you wrote describes my experiences exactly.  In addition to these, I am quite calm and collective when I have discussions with non-believers, Orthodox, and Catholic (and in fact, the discussions become so great, I spend hours not realizing the time or my leg crampings).  I get very irritated and frustrated the deeper I converse with a Protestant about religion.  So I just stay away from religious discussions with them.

But when it comes to something I do in getting along with Evangelicals, sports and other activities and joint community service pretty much helps me to get along with them.
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« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2010, 01:49:29 PM »

I am friends with many Baptists, and they never give me trouble. But I still feel troubled when I see someone coming back from church with a pamphlet entitled "Religion Creates a Vaccuum." These anti-Catholic pamphlets, books, sermons, etc are not given for the spiritual edification of the reader or to help "witness" to Catholics, but rather to increase the mental security of evangelical congregations and give them reasons not to question their own tenuous beliefs and assumptions.
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« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2010, 10:20:05 PM »

First, The Orthodox church *IS* Evangelical, so to describe as not is incorrect. Second, having spent my whole life in teh so-called Bible belt, I can say that it's hardly that pious a plce. Why don't the Baptist, Presbyterian, or Methodist faithful admit failure on their part if they are going to accuse Rusisian Orthodox church of failure.
"....It's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism...." I don't see how Protestantism has influenced Orthodoxy at all.
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« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2010, 11:25:34 PM »

First, The Orthodox church *IS* Evangelical, so to describe as not is incorrect. Second, having spent my whole life in teh so-called Bible belt, I can say that it's hardly that pious a plce. Why don't the Baptist, Presbyterian, or Methodist faithful admit failure on their part if they are going to accuse Rusisian Orthodox church of failure.
"....It's wonderful and glorious here thanks to the salvific influence of Protestantism...." I don't see how Protestantism has influenced Orthodoxy at all.


The Orthodox Church was evangelical but then the Ottoman empire really put a clamp down on it for 600 years.
The Russian Orthodox Church spread Orthodoxy to the natives of Alaska but then communism ended that missionary effort. In countries where there is freedom to worship and freedom to thrive, the Orthodox Church is reawakening to its heritage. Some protestants who have converted to Orthodoxy are just reminding of us what our true heritage is: mission and almsgiving. So I would disagree with your belief because converts have had an influence on those of us who were raised Orthodox.
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« Reply #47 on: April 20, 2010, 11:28:05 PM »

I really thought from the title of the thread that this was a discussion on methods of exhausting Evangelicals, not that the Evangelicals were exhausting. That would be a cool thread idea- how to exhaust Evangelicals.
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« Reply #48 on: April 20, 2010, 11:41:00 PM »

I really thought from the title of the thread that this was a discussion on methods of exhausting Evangelicals, not that the Evangelicals were exhausting. That would be a cool thread idea- how to exhaust Evangelicals.

Tell them about Church history. And about the Bible passages they didn't learn in Sunday School. It's very exhausting for them to hear such things.
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« Reply #49 on: April 21, 2010, 06:47:54 AM »

I really thought from the title of the thread that this was a discussion on methods of exhausting Evangelicals, not that the Evangelicals were exhausting. That would be a cool thread idea- how to exhaust Evangelicals.


That's funny! Smiley



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« Reply #50 on: April 21, 2010, 12:42:24 PM »

Unfortunately, my friends couldn't care less about church history, if anything, the more they hear about church history, the more convinced they are that the Orthodox are wrong.

And another problem: my evangelical friends treat my Orthodox friends with contempt. Their conception of Orthodox christians is tied into their impression of people from Orthodox countries: what comes to their minds are Russian mail order bride scams, corruption etc. They tell me quite frankly that they don't trust Orthodox people. And, in some ways, I really don't blame them for their suspicions.
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« Reply #51 on: April 21, 2010, 04:32:58 PM »

I really thought from the title of the thread that this was a discussion on methods of exhausting Evangelicals, not that the Evangelicals were exhausting. That would be a cool thread idea- how to exhaust Evangelicals.

LOL - I may just get my chance.  I just got an email out of the blue from a Baptist friend.  We're in a book club together and for some 2 meetings ago she asked me point-blank if I prayed for the dead.   Completey caught off guard (and not exactly up on my Orthodox theology regarding said topic) I said yes and did a bit of explaining.  Now, 2 months later I've gotten an email from her telling me that "oh yes, in the spirit of Christian unity we should understand each other..."  yada, yada, yada.  And then goes on to tell me the Biblical reasons for not believing such things.

I think I'm going to respond - but it may take me a while & and lot of ruminating.  It just so involved!

Pray for me.
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« Reply #52 on: April 21, 2010, 06:32:57 PM »

I really thought from the title of the thread that this was a discussion on methods of exhausting Evangelicals, not that the Evangelicals were exhausting. That would be a cool thread idea- how to exhaust Evangelicals.

LOL - I may just get my chance.  I just got an email out of the blue from a Baptist friend.  We're in a book club together and for some 2 meetings ago she asked me point-blank if I prayed for the dead.   Completey caught off guard (and not exactly up on my Orthodox theology regarding said topic) I said yes and did a bit of explaining.  Now, 2 months later I've gotten an email from her telling me that "oh yes, in the spirit of Christian unity we should understand each other..."  yada, yada, yada.  And then goes on to tell me the Biblical reasons for not believing such things.
I guess that beats an experience I had with a pesky Foursquare "evangelist" I met on a city bus who, when she found out I was Orthodox, told me that we practice necromancy by praying to the saints. Tongue
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« Reply #53 on: April 21, 2010, 09:14:44 PM »

You should hafe told her about the Foursquare congregation in San Dimas, CA that went Orthodox back in the '90s.
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« Reply #54 on: April 21, 2010, 09:48:33 PM »

When they mischaracterize our beliefs, ask them why they worship the Bible (they don't of course; but this will demonstrate how ridiculous it is when they misrepresent our beliefs.) Ask them why they trust the product (Scripture) of a process (Church Councils) and an institution (The Church) that they reject.


Selam
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« Reply #55 on: April 21, 2010, 10:25:33 PM »

I really thought from the title of the thread that this was a discussion on methods of exhausting Evangelicals, not that the Evangelicals were exhausting. That would be a cool thread idea- how to exhaust Evangelicals.

LOL - I may just get my chance.  I just got an email out of the blue from a Baptist friend.  We're in a book club together and for some 2 meetings ago she asked me point-blank if I prayed for the dead.   Completey caught off guard (and not exactly up on my Orthodox theology regarding said topic) I said yes and did a bit of explaining.  Now, 2 months later I've gotten an email from her telling me that "oh yes, in the spirit of Christian unity we should understand each other..."  yada, yada, yada.  And then goes on to tell me the Biblical reasons for not believing such things.

I think I'm going to respond - but it may take me a while & and lot of ruminating.  It just so involved!

Pray for me.

Just tell them that the communal prayers permeate space and time and they can reach back to when that person was alive.
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« Reply #56 on: April 21, 2010, 10:43:51 PM »

When they mischaracterize our beliefs, ask them why they worship the Bible (they don't of course; but this will demonstrate how ridiculous it is when they misrepresent our beliefs.) Ask them why they trust the product (Scripture) of a process (Church Councils) and an institution (The Church) that they reject.


Selam

I really honestly do believe some literally worship the Bible even if they deny it.  But that whole "Bible-worshipping" argument would be good if they use the word "venerate" and we too venerate the saints, through which they act out God's will, just as we venerate the book, through which are written God's words.
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« Reply #57 on: April 21, 2010, 11:01:47 PM »

Tell them about Church history. And about the Bible passages they didn't learn in Sunday School. It's very exhausting for them to hear such things.

I complete agree with this. Anytime I try to give any kind of a brief history, they totally shut down, as if it's the most boring thing they've ever heard.
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« Reply #58 on: April 21, 2010, 11:05:10 PM »

Tell them about Church history. And about the Bible passages they didn't learn in Sunday School. It's very exhausting for them to hear such things.

I complete agree with this. Anytime I try to give any kind of a brief history, they totally shut down, as if it's the most boring thing they've ever heard.

Boring is good, because I personally never wanted to interact with them in the first place...

Maybe, I'll tell them the story of St. Athanasius.
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« Reply #59 on: April 21, 2010, 11:06:30 PM »

LOL - I may just get my chance.  I just got an email out of the blue from a Baptist friend.  We're in a book club together and for some 2 meetings ago she asked me point-blank if I prayed for the dead.   Completey caught off guard (and not exactly up on my Orthodox theology regarding said topic) I said yes and did a bit of explaining.  Now, 2 months later I've gotten an email from her telling me that "oh yes, in the spirit of Christian unity we should understand each other..."  yada, yada, yada.  And then goes on to tell me the Biblical reasons for not believing such things.

I think I'm going to respond - but it may take me a while & and lot of ruminating.  It just so involved!

Pray for me.

Perhaps this podcast will help you. I found it very interesting:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/carlton/memory_eternal_praying_for_the_dead
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« Reply #60 on: April 21, 2010, 11:08:11 PM »

What comes to their minds are Russian mail order bride scams, corruption etc.

I always thought the whole mail order bride concept was the most peculiar thing.
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« Reply #61 on: April 21, 2010, 11:16:25 PM »

Here's something I wrote a while back. It may help. If anyone can add anything to this or correct any mistakes I have made, please do so. 

                             
PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD?
                                                     
By Gebre Menfes Kidus

First, it is imperative to understand that apostolic teaching and tradition is as divinely inspired as the Holy Bible. And far from contradicting the Holy Bible, Church Tradition illuminates and clarifies the Scriptures so that we do not fall prey to subjective human interpretations. (Whatever one may think about Orthodoxy, there is far more consistency and unity of belief amongst Orthodox Churches than there is amongst the multitude of Protestant sects and cults. This is undoubtedly due to the Orthodox belief in the divine authority of Apostolic Tradition as well as the Holy Bible.)
   
So the question at hand is whether or not it is appropriate to pray for the dead. Since Protestants hold to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura*, I will provide four biblical precedents – two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament – each from books that all Protestants consider as canonical:

1. Moses prayed for Reuben after he had died.
   "Let Reuben live and not die." [Deuteronomy 33:6]

2. Elisha prayed for the Shunammite woman’s dead son.
   “Elisha went into the house, and there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went into the room and shut the door against the other two, and prayed to the Lord. Then he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he bowed himself down upon him, and the flesh of the child warmed. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and he went up and bowed himself down upon the child seven times, and the child opened his eyes.” [4 Kingdoms / II Kings 4:32-35]
                                       
3. St. Peter prayed for Tabitha after she had died.
   "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord." [Acts 9:36-42]

4. St. Paul prayed for Onesiphorus after he had died.
   “The Lord grant mercy to household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day…” [II Timothy 1:16-18] 

Now since Protestants must concede the biblical basis for praying for the dead, they often resort to critiquing how and why we Orthodox pray for the dead. But it is arrogant and dangerous to judge the prayers of another, especially when those prayers are offered to God as selfless intercession for our fellow man.
   
Prayers for the dead are one of the greatest forms of prayer; for they are not prayers for ourselves, but rather prayers of altruistic intercession. Our prayers for the dead are a profound act of faith. Praying for those who have departed from this earth is evidence that we trust in the Cross of Christ and hope in the inexhaustible grace of God. God is bigger than we think, the Cross is more powerful than we think, and divine grace is more abundant than we think. Where Protestants see death as the end of hope, we Orthodox see Christ as greater than death. And thus we pray even for those who have died, trusting that God surpasses our earthly limitations and our temporal mindsets.
   
One of the reasons I became Orthodox was its acceptance of divine mystery. Protestantism is the product of too much rationalism. The supernatural is not irrational, but there are mysteries that surpass mortal reason and transcend the limitations of human intellect.
   
God is not bound by space and time, as are mortal creatures. From our linear perspective death is final, and it would appear that physical death is the end of all hope. But why should we reduce sacred truths to our finite understanding? God transcends space and time, and He is Lord over life and death. By faith we pray even for the deceased, trusting that the power of God is greater than our mortal understanding.
   
Protestants profess a doctrine of "Sola Scriptura," but their own doctrine often trips them up. For example, Protestants may quote Hebrews 9:27 as an argument against praying for the dead: "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the Judgment." They will say that according to this verse no person can die twice, and thus prayers for the dead are futile. But didn't Lazarus die twice? And as we have seen above, so did Tabitha. Not to mention that the Bible tells us of the prophets who raised people from the dead. [Hebrews 11:35]
   
If St. Peter, St. Paul, and Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed for the deceased, then should we not follow their righteous example? We do not know the power of prayer. We do not know the depth of its mystery and efficacy. Perhaps if we did, we would pray more often and pray with greater zeal. But our Christian duty is to pray, and God will answer our prayers according His divine mercy and grace. By faith we pray for those here on earth, even though we do not know how our prayers will be answered. So as Orthodox Christians we likewise pray for the departed, deferring to divine mystery and trusting in the infinite mercy and grace of God.
   
Our Orthodox practice of praying for the dead will never be understood by those who hold to "Sola Scriptura." The doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" has produced thousands of Protestant sects and cults, each one claiming to be more biblically sound than the next. As Orthodox Christians, we know that the Holy Bible is God’s divine written revelation to humanity; and that's why we dare not sift the sacred Scriptures through subjective human opinion. Rather, we allow those who walked with Our Lord and were anointed at Pentecost to interpret its true meaning and guide us in its proper understanding.
   
So, we have established that there is both an Old Testament and New Testament biblical precedent for praying for the dead. We have shown how prayers for the deceased are based on selflessness and altruism. We have explained that praying for the dead is an act of faith, demonstrating our trust in the inexhaustible grace and mercy of God. And we have reasoned that it is better to defer to infallible divine mystery than to rely on our own fallible human logic. So if Protestants choose not to pray for us when we die, then so be it. But let us nevertheless pray for them- both in life and in death. As it is said of the righteous Judas Maccabeus who prayed for his fallen soldiers:
   
         “In doing so he acted properly and with honor, taking note of the resurrection. For if he were not looking for the resurrection of those fallen, it would have been utterly foolish to pray for the departed. But since he was looking to the reward of splendor laid up for those who repose in godliness, it was a holy and goodly purpose. Thus he made atonement for the fallen so as to set them free from their transgression.” [II Maccabees 12:44-45]


"O death where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?"
[I Corinthians 15:55]
   

*The doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" was first promoted by Martin Luther and provides the foundational source of religious authority for Protestants. Sola Scriptura means “Scripture alone,” and thus Protestants claim that the Bible is the only true source of Christian authority. Protestants reject apostolic Teaching and Tradition, which is the historical and original source of true Christian authority.    

   

Selam

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« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2010, 12:19:37 AM »

Thanks Gebre!!!
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« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2010, 07:23:33 AM »

Thanks for that article Gebre.  I don't think I can quote most of those scriptures because, to an evangelical, it looks like Peter is praying that Tabitha would be raised from the dead (kind of like a healing)...rather than praying that God would forgive her sins and put her in a place of blessed repose.  This is what disturbs Evangelicals most.  The argument is that once they're dead it's over.  Her attitude when she first brought it up was that "Once their dead, we've washed our hands of them and no longer need to pray for them."  (She used King David praying for the baby he and Bathsheba conceived in adultery).   

She's a mom, I think I'm going to go with the love angle and the hope we all have that those we love are with God, it's just that Orthodox put prayers to that hope. 
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« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2010, 12:58:52 PM »

Thanks for that article Gebre.  I don't think I can quote most of those scriptures because, to an evangelical, it looks like Peter is praying that Tabitha would be raised from the dead (kind of like a healing)...rather than praying that God would forgive her sins and put her in a place of blessed repose.  This is what disturbs Evangelicals most.  The argument is that once they're dead it's over.  Her attitude when she first brought it up was that "Once their dead, we've washed our hands of them and no longer need to pray for them."  (She used King David praying for the baby he and Bathsheba conceived in adultery).   

She's a mom, I think I'm going to go with the love angle and the hope we all have that those we love are with God, it's just that Orthodox put prayers to that hope. 

Hmmm, here is how I would reply to this:

First, David was praying that the child would not die. There is no direct connection with praying for the repose and forgiveness of the departed. As a sinless infant, I doubt the child would need any prayers for God's mercy anyway--it was the child who should have been praying for sinful David! This passage does not prove anything.

Second, I would point out that the faithful who depart this life live on in Christ (Philippians 1:23; Parable of Lazarus). Now why would you believe that prayer for the living is effacacious, but that prayer for the departed is not? Why is the prayer of a living person useful, but the prayer of a departed person impossible, if that person continues to exist, as shown by the cited passages?

When Stephen was being stoned, he prayed that the Lord would not charge them with this sin. Did his prayer make any difference? If I can pray for the forgiveness of unbelieving sinners, why can I not pray for the forgiveness of the departed souls?

There are many questions like this Evangelicals will have to answer. Good Luck! I will pray for you.
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« Reply #65 on: April 27, 2010, 12:34:10 AM »

Here's something I wrote a while back. It may help. If anyone can add anything to this or correct any mistakes I have made, please do so. 

Thanks for posting this, your four examples will be most helpful (I'm in the process of writing something on the same subject).
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« Reply #66 on: April 28, 2010, 02:10:33 PM »

Quote
a new Russian immigrant member ... said if all the parishes in Russia were as Orthodox and loving as our little parish, most of the evangelical Russians would return to Orthodoxy.

Now that is ... EXACTLY what all my Eastern European friends are saying! Sounds like the Orthodox Church could be flourishing over there

Sorry to burst in days late: got caught by the volcano.

Isn't part of the answer therefore, that some of you, who do indeed have a warm faith and love for Christ - a "faith that works by love" - should become Orthodox missionaries in those countries? Some of you already have the language.

The Greek-speaking villages of southern Albania might be a place to start...
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« Reply #67 on: April 28, 2010, 03:15:22 PM »

Sadly, very few Orthodox seem to be interested in serving in humble circumstances as missionaries. It seems most are far more interested in pursuing fancy educations, the American dream etc, rather than going back to the poor villages and working hard alongside the people. Evangelicals seem far more willing to get their hands dirty in this regard-my former church had people out in remote villages gardening and working in the fields with the villagers-patiently teaching the Scriptures to the children and showing the people by their good example and by building godly relationships how to live the Christian life-and the villagers really appreciated it and said the Orthodox church never did anything like this for them. I think it is a terrible shame.
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« Reply #68 on: April 28, 2010, 03:19:16 PM »

I have a very good friend who's now a priest and works in a very poor village, mostly old people and lots of Gypsies, in Romania.
So, there are a few.
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« Reply #69 on: April 28, 2010, 03:23:55 PM »

I have a very good friend who's now a priest and works in a very poor village, mostly old people and lots of Gypsies, in Romania.
So, there are a few.

That's wonderful. But there are so few. And how many of our "ethnic" Orthodox living in America are willing to give up all their fancy stuff to go labour out in the villages? It seems a shame that our youth aren't taught to sacrifice one or more years to serving God and humanity as a volunteer/missionary in our Orthodox countries. There should be NO NEED for evangelicals to be doing all this!! We should be doing it!
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« Reply #70 on: April 29, 2010, 03:32:51 AM »

Mutatis mutandis, it is what is happening to a large extent in Britain. With maybe 2% of the population attending any sort of church regularly, with Baptist churches having experienced a collapse in numbers over the past century, with many congregations having no-one under the age of 50, with the average church having only 25 members, and with thousands of chapels closed and sold off, a multitude of American Baptist ministers have come to Britain. There is a large number of Baptist churches here now with American pastors, seeking to reverse the trend. Admittedly many of them find it too hard to adjust to the British way of life (or church life) and soon return to the USA, but a lot do stay and a good work is done. So, the other way round - and knowing from the Forum and from books that there are theologically astute Orthodox in America with a warm and deep love for Christ - why is there not a corresponding number of American Orthodox priests and other missionaries in traditionally Orthodox lands, where the church does seem to be in a low state in various ways?

I have no objection to variety with the universal church, as you all know, and I believe there is legitimate room for people to hold and practise Evangelical convictions, but I for one would be a good deal less concerned to preach Christ in Albanian villages, if some of the Orthodox people I encounter on the Forum were doing so.

And - by the way - coming back to your opening comments on the thread, we too have such people (annoying Evangelicals, as you call them) over here: not very many, and usually they are Pentecostal (which I say merely as a fact, not as any aspersion on Pentecostals, for I have good Pentecostal friends and brothers/sisters in Christ). They can be an embarrassment, but I sometimes wonder whether it is my lack of zeal rather than any over-enthusiasm on their part, which is at fault. One vivid memory is of being in an icon-shop in Greece with a very good English Pentecostal friend as he prolonged his attempt to witness to the shop assistant or -keeper. I must admit I came out and loitered in the street till he eventually came out. But there are (for better or worse) few such over here, and once more I wonder whether the problem you find is a factor of American rather than essentially Evangelical culture. Just a thought: I really don't know.
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« Reply #71 on: April 29, 2010, 10:21:43 AM »

Great thoughts, and great post, David!

Alas, it seems everyone, living at ease in their western wealth, wants to wax poetic about elegant nuances of doctrine, fancy icons, rituals, etc. but no one wants to forsake all and go serve our suffering and neglected spiritual brethren in the cities and villages of Romania, Ukraine, Russia by doing simple things such as gardening, labouring in the fields, cutting wood for the babushkas, teaching children's Sunday schools, etc. Why couldn't each parish adopt a village and send youth volunteers out to help work and teach each summer, as the evangelicals do? Why couldn't each parish try to aim to send out one family per year to Ukraine, etc. to live amongst the villagers, lovingly teaching them all the things they so crave to know?
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« Reply #72 on: April 29, 2010, 10:35:33 AM »

http://www.ocmc.org/

Most of their European missions are focused on Albania and Romania.
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« Reply #73 on: April 29, 2010, 11:40:43 AM »

http://www.ocmc.org/

Most of their European missions are focused on Albania and Romania.
They speak ptotestantese, though.
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« Reply #74 on: April 29, 2010, 01:14:35 PM »

They speak Protestantese, though.

Yeah, we wouldn't want them to get any Protestant cooties, like being enthusiastic about their faith, or having Bibles they can read and services they can understand.  Roll Eyes

But I do want to be clear that I agree with you about some people simply not speaking the cultural language, or replacing "real-life" Christianity that is rough around the edges (like knife fights when the drinking gets out of hand on namesdays) with saccharine-sweet "nice-guy" Christianity. I'm not saying that knife fights are good, but there's something more appealing about sweat-and-blood real life Christianity that exists in the middle of all of that. Many of us Americans simply cannot translate through cultural barriers, but I don't think it's necessarily right of you to dismiss their efforts in an offhand manner as being "Protestant." These people are giving up everything to share the faith, which is how the Holy Holy thrice Holy Romanian lands were brought the light of Christ in the first place.

Not looking to start a fight, just throwing out some thoughts.
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« Reply #75 on: April 29, 2010, 01:42:53 PM »

They speak Protestantese, though.

Yeah, we wouldn't want them to get any Protestant cooties, like being enthusiastic about their faith, or having Bibles they can read and services they can understand.  Roll Eyes

But I do want to be clear that I agree with you about some people simply not speaking the cultural language, or replacing "real-life" Christianity that is rough around the edges (like knife fights when the drinking gets out of hand on namesdays) with saccharine-sweet "nice-guy" Christianity. I'm not saying that knife fights are good, but there's something more appealing about sweat-and-blood real life Christianity that exists in the middle of all of that. Many of us Americans simply cannot translate through cultural barriers, but I don't think it's necessarily right of you to dismiss their efforts in an offhand manner as being "Protestant." These people are giving up everything to share the faith, which is how the Holy Holy thrice Holy Romanian lands were brought the light of Christ in the first place.

Not looking to start a fight, just throwing out some thoughts.

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« Reply #76 on: April 29, 2010, 02:41:14 PM »

I guess they are doing good for many people, yet, still, reading their website, it sounds a lot like an evangelical one.
I can only talk for Romania, but the main missionary work there, is still done by the RoOC, that prints and distributes literature, runs orphanages and nursing homes, schools, kindergartens, hospitals soup kitchens, a television, countless radio stations etc.
The American evangelical missionaries enjoyed a brief moment of relative success right after 1990, early nineties, when things were more confused.
Now, despite the multiplication of their-mainly- websites and strategies, it looks the future isn't that promising any longer, for a variety of reasons: the foreign feel of their religion and culture, the laws that curtail a bit their activities,  people being more aware of their faith etc.
They opened an orphanage that stays empty in our town. I guess they ran into some kind of problems with the law, or I don't know, but locals are rather mistrustful and hostile to the enterprise.

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« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2010, 08:57:00 PM »

Sadly, very few Orthodox seem to be interested in serving in humble circumstances as missionaries. It seems most are far more interested in pursuing fancy educations, the American dream etc, rather than going back to the poor villages and working hard alongside the people. Evangelicals seem far more willing to get their hands dirty in this regard-my former church had people out in remote villages gardening and working in the fields with the villagers-patiently teaching the Scriptures to the children and showing the people by their good example and by building godly relationships how to live the Christian life-and the villagers really appreciated it and said the Orthodox church never did anything like this for them. I think it is a terrible shame.

Maybe you should come live in America for a while. You might see a different picture of Orthodoxy down here. For you might see more people wanting to do missions as well as doing missions.









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« Reply #78 on: May 02, 2010, 09:01:02 PM »

http://www.ocmc.org/

Most of their European missions are focused on Albania and Romania.
They speak ptotestantese, though.

Maybe that's a good thing.  Grin












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« Reply #79 on: May 18, 2010, 04:58:06 AM »

I am ‘cradle’ Orthodox and for most of my life didn’t go to church at all. I know next to nothing about Evangelicals but I have some Evangelical friends who are interested in Orthodoxy but the big sticking point for one of them in particular is the concept of ‘the’ Church.  She has rejected a lot of Protestant theology and the happy-clappy worship but rejects Orthodoxy because it excludes genuine, sincere, yada yada yada Christians who are not members of it. She is irked by the prayers in the services for the Orthodox and says that we should pray for the Evangelicals and the Pope etc. I have no answer for this as I don’t have any background into how she thinks. How would people here from Evangelical backgrounds approach this? One priest said to her “we know where the church is but not where it isn’t” but that wasn’t enough.

I am sorry to say I find this endlessly exasperating and I don’t know if she is just looking for excuses not to become Orthodox and when I talk to her about it she says that before she can join a church everything has to be right according to her conscience and she always says that anyone who says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a Christian and should be acknowledged as one by the Orthodox church.

Sorry if I have posted in the wrong thread, it just made me think of my friend.

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« Reply #80 on: May 18, 2010, 05:03:00 AM »

Great thoughts, and great post, David!

Alas, it seems everyone, living at ease in their western wealth, wants to wax poetic about elegant nuances of doctrine, fancy icons, rituals, etc. but no one wants to forsake all and go serve our suffering and neglected spiritual brethren in the cities and villages of Romania, Ukraine, Russia by doing simple things such as gardening, labouring in the fields, cutting wood for the babushkas, teaching children's Sunday schools, etc. Why couldn't each parish adopt a village and send youth volunteers out to help work and teach each summer, as the evangelicals do? Why couldn't each parish try to aim to send out one family per year to Ukraine, etc. to live amongst the villagers, lovingly teaching them all the things they so crave to know?

My parish has and does.

Are you familiar with OCMC.org?
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« Reply #81 on: May 18, 2010, 07:54:40 AM »

I am ‘cradle’ Orthodox and for most of my life didn’t go to church at all. I know next to nothing about Evangelicals but I have some Evangelical friends who are interested in Orthodoxy but the big sticking point for one of them in particular is the concept of ‘the’ Church.  She has rejected a lot of Protestant theology and the happy-clappy worship but rejects Orthodoxy because it excludes genuine, sincere, yada yada yada Christians who are not members of it. She is irked by the prayers in the services for the Orthodox and says that we should pray for the Evangelicals and the Pope etc. I have no answer for this as I don’t have any background into how she thinks. How would people here from Evangelical backgrounds approach this? One priest said to her “we know where the church is but not where it isn’t” but that wasn’t enough.

I am sorry to say I find this endlessly exasperating and I don’t know if she is just looking for excuses not to become Orthodox and when I talk to her about it she says that before she can join a church everything has to be right according to her conscience and she always says that anyone who says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a Christian and should be acknowledged as one by the Orthodox church.

Sorry if I have posted in the wrong thread, it just made me think of my friend.

Nina

Your friend most certainly is the stereotypical "It's all about me" Evangelical Christian. You will need to be quite blunt and point out that we Orthodox go to church to worship God "according to His conscience". You can certainly say that it isn't always easy to put God ahead of our own wishes and personal quirks - in fact, learning to do that is our view of salvation. (Note to fellow nit-pickers: I know that's oversimplified - I'm trying to put this in words that Nina's friend will understand.)

She probably objects to being refused Communion. Try this line (choose the part that fits): If you don't agree with what the Orthodox Church teaches, why would you want to commune with us? If you do agree with what the Orthodox Church teaches, then why aren't you Orthodox?

Your friend's theology can likely be described as "bumper-sticker theology" - short attention span, over-simplified statements, consistency not required.

In our services we do pray for "the whole world" and other expressions that indicate our concern for those outside the Orthodox Church. The priest or deacon may be using very generic words at those points, but it's up to each member of the congregation to add the details at church and at home.

Yes, Evangelicals of this sort are very exhausting.
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« Reply #82 on: May 18, 2010, 11:25:28 AM »

When talking with most evangelical Protestants about THEOLOGY it is best to reach down pick up and put some pebbles into your mouth while you speak; then you will be talking on their level. 

If they inquire of you an explanation, state the truth:  Talking Theolgy with you Evangelical Protestants is liking talking to someone with a mouth full of rocks...I know what I am saying, but even if I removed the rocks from my mouth their comprehension would not be improved. 

Just my experience...

John
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« Reply #83 on: May 18, 2010, 06:55:46 PM »

she always says that anyone who says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a Christian and should be acknowledged as one by the Orthodox church.

Nina


For heaven's sake... how silly.  Tell her that even the demon's confess that Jesus is Lord!    For an evangelical she hasn't been reading her Bible much.
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« Reply #84 on: May 19, 2010, 04:33:15 AM »

I've done that and then she elaborates to say anyone who believes in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Virgin birth,etc.  So, without getting mad at them, how do you explain that having the 'fullness of the faith' isn't arrogance and isn't unjust towards other sincere Christians? she can't be the only evangelical to have had this problem. I've suggested her individual conscience isn't the arbiter of all things but then she asks if she's going to throw her conscience to the winds why she shouldn't be an RC and believe in indulgences, etc, and I've said the church isn't a democracy and no-one has 'rights' in the kingdom of heaven and that doesn't make any impression. She hasn't gone to any church regularly for years and has all the spiritual problems you would expect from that and it really feels like the devil has got her sewn up believeing she can't join any church till it's the perfect one that crosses all her boxes. I've listened to her agonising for months and my cousin has listened to it for years and there must be a way to explain it even if only to close the book and make her realise Orthodoxy is not an option for her because she'd be way better as aBaptist than the way she is now.

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« Reply #85 on: May 19, 2010, 08:05:32 AM »

Then, I recommend that you stop engaging in the conversation with her.  She's obviously made up her mind.  Don't waste your breath on someone who is like this.  Let your life be a beacon to her.   It will probably frustrate her to no end that you don't take the bait - but it sounds like she just wants to do it all her way (just as you said) - so let her.   If she tries to bring it up tell her you've discussed it all you can and you'd rather not talk about it anymore. 

I know it can be painful - especially with a family member whom you care about.. BTDT.  Pray for her.
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« Reply #86 on: May 19, 2010, 09:12:59 AM »

Then, I recommend that you stop engaging in the conversation with her.  She's obviously made up her mind.  Don't waste your breath on someone who is like this.  Let your life be a beacon to her.   It will probably frustrate her to no end that you don't take the bait - but it sounds like she just wants to do it all her way (just as you said) - so let her.   If she tries to bring it up tell her you've discussed it all you can and you'd rather not talk about it anymore. 

I know it can be painful - especially with a family member whom you care about.. BTDT.  Pray for her.
Very well said.
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« Reply #87 on: May 21, 2010, 06:47:32 AM »

All I can say is I was born into a Greek Orthodox family and spent years away from the church - I came back because of the kindness of people who never gave up on me and answered all my questions even when I went round in circles for years.  But thanks for the "I'm allright Jack" advice, prayer sure is a good rubbish heap for folks we can't be bothered with.

Nina

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« Reply #88 on: May 21, 2010, 07:14:33 AM »

All I can say is I was born into a Greek Orthodox family and spent years away from the church - I came back because of the kindness of people who never gave up on me and answered all my questions even when I went round in circles for years.  But thanks for the "I'm allright Jack" advice, prayer sure is a good rubbish heap for folks we can't be bothered with.

Nina


Nina, I hope I'm misunderstanding your words here. I doubt any of us has in mind that our prayers are nothing more than a "rubbish heap for folks we can't be bothered with." You do have to keep loving your friends. Just don't be drawn into arguments for argument's sake. Answer honest questions, but don't argue. Stay firm in your own faith and both you and your faith will be respected by others.
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« Reply #89 on: May 21, 2010, 08:41:30 AM »

All I can say is I was born into a Greek Orthodox family and spent years away from the church - I came back because of the kindness of people who never gave up on me and answered all my questions even when I went round in circles for years.  But thanks for the "I'm allright Jack" advice, prayer sure is a good rubbish heap for folks we can't be bothered with.

Nina


Nina, I hope I'm misunderstanding your words here. I doubt any of us has in mind that our prayers are nothing more than a "rubbish heap for folks we can't be bothered with." You do have to keep loving your friends. Just don't be drawn into arguments for argument's sake. Answer honest questions, but don't argue. Stay firm in your own faith and both you and your faith will be respected by others.

Nina,

I think you may be reading more into my advice than is meant.  I certainly don't think that your friend "can't be bothered with", but there is a big difference between someone who is trying to understand and is asking lots of questions to learn and figure out... and those who are refusing to even see the point of view.  Jesus himself separated the hard-hearted Pharisees from the true seekers (Nicodemus - John 3).  I was never suggesting that you wipe your hands of her, but one must be able to discern the difference between educating someone and engaging in arguments.  The church father's teach about the futility of arguments.

Love your cousin and pray for her.  God will see your tears for her.

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« Reply #90 on: May 21, 2010, 11:04:34 AM »

I am ‘cradle’ Orthodox and for most of my life didn’t go to church at all. I know next to nothing about Evangelicals but I have some Evangelical friends who are interested in Orthodoxy but the big sticking point for one of them in particular is the concept of ‘the’ Church.  She has rejected a lot of Protestant theology and the happy-clappy worship but rejects Orthodoxy because it excludes genuine, sincere, yada yada yada Christians who are not members of it. She is irked by the prayers in the services for the Orthodox and says that we should pray for the Evangelicals and the Pope etc. I have no answer for this as I don’t have any background into how she thinks. How would people here from Evangelical backgrounds approach this? One priest said to her “we know where the church is but not where it isn’t” but that wasn’t enough.

I am sorry to say I find this endlessly exasperating and I don’t know if she is just looking for excuses not to become Orthodox and when I talk to her about it she says that before she can join a church everything has to be right according to her conscience and she always says that anyone who says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a Christian and should be acknowledged as one by the Orthodox church.

Sorry if I have posted in the wrong thread, it just made me think of my friend.

Nina


Christ is risen!

Hi Nina,

A fish fights the hardest after it has been hooked and is getting closer to being hauled into the boat. It may be that your friend is indeed hooked, Do not give up and let her go.

BTW, in my experience evangelicals respect the Bible more than anything else. In fact, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. No matter, there is sufficient "ammunition" in the Holy Scriptures to make an argument for joining the Church. First, most evangelicals do not stress a fundamental teaching of Jesus regarding Holy Communion and thus are surprised by it. Yet, they cannot wiggle away from this teaching and still respect the Bible as the Word of God. Read with them the following passages and ask them to think about which Church actually puts this teaching into practice without overly simplifying or overly complicating it.

The Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist

Matthew 26: 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it  to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

Mark 14: 22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it  to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many."

Luke 22: 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you."

The Lord made the Holy Eucharist the fundamental mystery, a life-or-death proposition

John 6: "53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
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« Reply #91 on: May 21, 2010, 04:05:09 PM »

I have some Evangelical friends who are interested in Orthodoxy but the big sticking point for one of them in particular is the concept of ‘the’ Church. ... I don’t know if she is just looking for excuses not to become Orthodox

I can't of course be specific about your particular friend, but (as I have often written on these threads) the concept of "the only true church" is indeed an alien one to us, and has no place in our world-view. We know the Catholics claim that, but we tend to be bemused and perhaps amused at the notion. It probably really is a genuine obstacle to your friend's acceptance of Orthodoxy.

You may have heard of the probably fictitious ltitle girl who proudly learnt all her 12x tables (from 1x1=1 to 12x12=144) and thought she knew all there was to know. When her grandfather asked her what 13x13 made, she looked puzzled for a while, and then said, "Don't be silly, Grandad: there's no such thing." It was outside her view of the surrounding world. So it is with us and the concept of any organisation being the only true church.

I can't of course advise you how to proceed with your friend, as I also find it a totally alien notion.
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« Reply #92 on: May 21, 2010, 04:14:56 PM »

I can't of course advise you how to proceed with your friend, as I also find it a totally alien notion.
Regardless of whether or not it's "alien", what if it is the truth?
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« Reply #93 on: May 21, 2010, 04:15:21 PM »

She probably objects to being refused Communion. Try this line (choose the part that fits): If you don't agree with what the Orthodox Church teaches, why would you want to commune with us?

That line wouldn't "cut any ice" at all. We take Communion with each other - speaking of the human, 'horizontal' dimension of the sacrament rather than the Godward one for a moment - because we believe we are one in Christ, and the one bread/one body motif is at work in that. We don't break bread together because we mentally agree on all points of doctrine. When I worshipped on holiday recently at an Anglican church, I quietly asked the vicar beforehand, "We're Baptists: may we take Communion?" and was made most welcome. We see things differently, and your suggested answer would be answering a question the friend is not asking: it would be what I believe is delightfully called Aneinandervorbeireden - talking past each other.
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« Reply #94 on: May 21, 2010, 04:16:41 PM »

I can't of course advise you how to proceed with your friend, as I also find it a totally alien notion.
Regardless of whether or not it's "alien", what if it is the truth?

Then we are lost, and you only are saved.
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« Reply #95 on: May 21, 2010, 04:19:42 PM »

she'd be way better as a Baptist than the way she is now.

Amen to that!
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« Reply #96 on: May 21, 2010, 04:19:52 PM »

I can't of course advise you how to proceed with your friend, as I also find it a totally alien notion.
Regardless of whether or not it's "alien", what if it is the truth?

Then we are lost, and you only are saved.
Did anyone say that?
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