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Author Topic: Exhausting Evangelicals  (Read 8427 times) Average Rating: 0
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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.

Nina
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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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