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Author Topic: Thoughts on This Met. Kallistos Interview?  (Read 6691 times) Average Rating: 0
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ialmisry
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« Reply #45 on: May 09, 2010, 09:21:01 AM »

I, (and this is just me writing) find the use of the metaphor "Body of Christ" to be problematic when being used to describe the present relationship of those outside of the Church to Christ as if they are mystically united to the Mystical Cup of which those who partake are the members of the Body of Christ by some invisible means other than the visible means which The Church unites us, i.e., "The servant/handmaiden of God receives..."

I do not have any problem with using the metaphor which I see the Apostle Paul using to describe those who are apart from the Church but may be striving within their souls to be united with Christ.  That metaphor does employ the use of Branch(s) when referring to the Romans (Gentiles/Jews) Rom. 11:17, but as wild branches which need grafting onto the one root, correct?

Continuing with that metaphor and expanding it further; I can actually see and have myself tasted the fruitsnourishment within the plant's fruitfulness making the edible portion minimalistic and not wholly satisfying to those who have eaten the cultured fruit of salvation.

I don't have any problem with the idea of watering or feeding those wild plants when we have opportunity and when it is seasonable, even pruning them is acceptable (I can understand your rendering of the Met. words " In a sly way, Met. Kallistos could be seen as reminding the Anglicans that they do not have the right to devise interpretations of the Gospel without consulting the greater Body of Christ, namely, the Orthodox and Apostolic and Catholic Church.) in order to produce in the future a good branch (not the whole tree)from it to be grafted onto that One Tree.   But telling the children that these trees are members of that One Tree when obviously they are separate trees (albeit having their origin somewhere from that One Tree) seems to mix the metaphors and produces an indistinct sound confusing the children about which tree they are to eat and receive healing.  

Using such metaphors are not always sufficient and can themselves result in wild ideas which may not be easily manageable because they take up so much time when the inside of the hedge Garden itself needs so much attending.  But I see by your reply that you instinctively know this and are capable of expressing much more than I can articulate.

Thanks for the "Dear John" letter, I haven't had one since I was in basic training.  (big grin)

John

I think you hit the nail on the head. If I may eleborate it further:
Quote
A feral organism is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to a wild state. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, can disrupt ecosystems and may, in some cases, contribute to extinction of indigenous species. However, returning lost species to their environment can have the opposite effect, bringing damaged ecosystems back into balance.

Domesticated plants that revert to wild are usually referred to as escaped, introduced or naturalized rather than feral. However, the adaptive and ecological variables seen in plants that go wild closely resemble those of animals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral

It might be further worthwhile to point out that ever since the Fall, we are "escaped" branches that need to be recultivated, with the New Adam as the Gardener.
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« Reply #46 on: May 09, 2010, 09:28:52 AM »

One problem I have with the "graceless" view is that just to exist, grace must be present.  If the atheist did not have God's grace shining on him (which he rejects), he would cease to exist.

I like the Coptic view of things: God takes care of His own (i.e. the Orthodox Church), and will judge all others accordingly.

I think what is meant by "graceless" is "without sacramental grace." I don't think that even the most extreme anti-ecumenist would deny that God's grace "is everywhere present and fills all things," including the heterodox.
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« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2010, 09:46:53 AM »

One problem I have with the "graceless" view is that just to exist, grace must be present.  If the atheist did not have God's grace shining on him (which he rejects), he would cease to exist.

I like the Coptic view of things: God takes care of His own (i.e. the Orthodox Church), and will judge all others accordingly.

I think what is meant by "graceless" is "without sacramental grace." I don't think that even the most extreme anti-ecumenist would deny that God's grace "is everywhere present and fills all things," including the heterodox.

With the rhetoric sometimes, one wonders.

Having said that, I must admit it comes from dumpfoundedness about why worry about this at all.  If, for instance, the Vatican can confect the Eucharist (to use their terminology), that doesn't change that I won't go to communion there.  If they can consecrate bishops, I won't be receiving their priests.  If they act as the unknown exorcists (who was, it seems, actually casting demons out on Christ's authority, not just claiming to do so.  Mark 9:39-41, cf. Numbers 11:29), why the obsession with the heterodox?

One doesn't have to subscribe to Branchism to see that the Lord's hand is not shortened that He cannot save, even the heretic.
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« Reply #48 on: May 09, 2010, 09:56:35 AM »



One problem I have with the "graceless" view is that just to exist, grace must be present.  If the atheist did not have God's grace shining on him (which he rejects), he would cease to exist.

I like the Coptic view of things: God takes care of His own (i.e. the Orthodox Church), and will judge all others accordingly.

This pretty much sums up what I believe, too.
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« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2010, 11:25:57 AM »

I asked His Grace this morning what he had meant by what he said in the interview. He told me that while the Orthodox Church alone is the true Church and while the Orthodox alone are members of the Body of Christ in the full sense, we can still acknowledge that grace is in some way present in the heterodox churches. Therefore, they can in some way be said to have some kind of connection to the Body of Christ, but certainly not in the same way we are.

While even this is a more liberal view than the one I would ascribe to, he is certainly not the rabid ecumenist depicted by certain posters above, nor is he advocating some kind of branch theory.

Thank you for asking him about this, and for posting his response Smiley
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« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2010, 10:48:22 PM »

I asked His Grace this morning what he had meant by what he said in the interview. He told me that while the Orthodox Church alone is the true Church and while the Orthodox alone are members of the Body of Christ in the full sense, we can still acknowledge that grace is in some way present in the heterodox churches. Therefore, they can in some way be said to have some kind of connection to the Body of Christ, but certainly not in the same way we are.

It is unfortunate that Met Kallistos did not wish to make such a clarification or distinction while being questioned by the Anglican in the interview as he made when asked in private by a concerned Orthodox Christian.  Yet, does this clarification help to alleviate our concern?  

I would like to refer anyone interested in the subject of the Non-Orthodox to the very good book by Patrick Barnes entitles "The Non-Orthodox: The Orthodox Teaching on Christians Outside of the Church."  The book can be downloaded for no cost at:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/status.aspx

This book is surely the best treatment of its subject.  If you disagree, I would be interested to know.  

So Met Kallistos says that we can acknowledge that "grace is in some way present in heterodox churches."  Can we really acknowledge that?  On what basis?  Surely, if we CAN acknowledge this based on a certain (man-invented) criteria, we could certainly apply the same criteria to all people and all groups, whether they are religious groups or even individual atheists.  Heterodoxy is nothing new.  Do we have Fathers who recognized that "grace is in some way present" among the Arians, Non-Chalcedonians, Roman Catholics, etc.?  A person who would talk about grace being “in some way present” outside of the Orthodox Church where anathematized heresies exist cannot comprehend why the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils and so many Confessors of the Faith took heresies so seriously that they would pronounce anathemas against them.  What does anathema mean?  Anathemas should cause us to tremble in great fear.  When we hear an anathema from the God-inspired decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, we should with great eagerness strive to remove from these curses any who might fall under them.  Our Holy Fathers who cared above all for the salvation of man had no interest in the possibility of grace being in communities that were not in communion with the Orthodox Church.  Are we to disregard anathemas, Ecumenical Councils, and Fathers?  If we begin to tread this path we will be treading a path far from the Church and far from the body of Christ.

Please do not misunderstand me, in asking if any of the Fathers suggested what Met Kallistos suggested, I am sincerely asking since I do not know anything.  Please provide me with some quotes.  All I can think of is St. Basil’s 1st Canon where he speaks of three groups who are separated from the Church – schismatics, heretics, and synagogists.  For the schismatics, he states that sometimes a schism can occur from a “remediable cause” whereby both parties are still in the Church.  This is sometimes referred to as an “administrative schism.”  St. Basil says that both sides are in the Church at least initially, but later in the same canon states that while both parties initially have grace, by remaining in schism the party that is wrong loses grace and cannot bestow grace upon others.  And this is concerning schisms, whereas when ecumenists like Met Kallistos like to theorize about grace “in some way present” among Non-Orthodox they are often referring to anathematized heretics and not simply schismatics.  

For a sober and truly Orthodox understanding of these issues, we have only to read the stories in John Moschos’ 7th century work “The Spiritual Meadow” concerning the followers of Severus and how God in many instances mystically revealed the true fate of those who did not accept Chalcedon.  Yet Met Kallistos has in the past openly stated that he has communed Non-Chalcedonians.  I pray that the Non-Chalcedonians, and those who think that there is no difference between Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians, will read “The Spiritual Meadow” with its many edifying and sobering tales.

In truth, grace is in some way present everywhere, amongst all peoples.  Can we therefore say that all religions have “some kind of connection to the body of Christ?”  How does such academic speculation lead anyone towards salvation?  Is Met Kallistos the author of “fullness” theology, or can anyone quote a single Father who referred to some kind of degrees of grace, that those outside of the one united Church have some “fullness” of grace while those not in communion partake of the same grace but perhaps to a slightly less extent?  

This academic theory and teaching of man has no approximation to the divine truths revealed by God to His holy Church through the apostles, prophets, Fathers, and martyrs.  In fact, it is worse than the branch theory of the Anglicans in that it is a closer approximation to the Protestant “Invisible Church” blasphemy.  Rather than Orthodoxy being one of three branches, it is simply one part of Christ’s body, though it may be the part that Orthodox think is the best or most important.  Sure, every part will think it is the best or greatest, but it is still only a part.  The branch theory is certainly close to the truth than this.  Such theorizing outside of God inevitably leads to developing some kind of “Orthodox Fundamentalist” criteria or “essential marks of the presence of grace whereby a religious body may be considered as somehow connected with the body of Christ.”  May the Holy Martyrs of Zographou Monastery and St. Peter the Aleut intercede and keep Orthodox Christians from such blasphemies.



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« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2010, 10:52:54 PM »

All I can think of is St. Basil’s 1st Canon where he speaks of three groups who are separated from the Church – schismatics, heretics, and synagogists.

Of course, I meant "parasynagogists".  Please forgive me.
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« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2010, 08:30:40 AM »

I asked His Grace this morning what he had meant by what he said in the interview. He told me that while the Orthodox Church alone is the true Church and while the Orthodox alone are members of the Body of Christ in the full sense, we can still acknowledge that grace is in some way present in the heterodox churches. Therefore, they can in some way be said to have some kind of connection to the Body of Christ, but certainly not in the same way we are.

While even this is a more liberal view than the one I would ascribe to, he is certainly not the rabid ecumenist depicted by certain posters above, nor is he advocating some kind of branch theory.


Forgive me >o  But as to my posts; my difficulty is not with the branch theory,  but with the BODY THEORY....and while the Orthodox alone are members of the Body of Christ in the full sense, we can still acknowledge that grace is in some way present in the heterodox churches.
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« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2010, 08:54:31 AM »

I asked His Grace this morning what he had meant by what he said in the interview. He told me that while the Orthodox Church alone is the true Church and while the Orthodox alone are members of the Body of Christ in the full sense, we can still acknowledge that grace is in some way present in the heterodox churches. Therefore, they can in some way be said to have some kind of connection to the Body of Christ, but certainly not in the same way we are.

While even this is a more liberal view than the one I would ascribe to, he is certainly not the rabid ecumenist depicted by certain posters above, nor is he advocating some kind of branch theory.


Forgive me >o  But as to my posts; my difficulty is not with the branch theory,  but with the BODY THEORY....and while the Orthodox alone are members of the Body of Christ in the full sense, we can still acknowledge that grace is in some way present in the heterodox churches.
Christ is Risen!

Going back and reading what M Kallistos actually said to the Anglicans and then what he has said later to Orthodox11, I don't believe he is saying the same thing.  When he was addressing the Anglicans he spoke what he knew would be pleasing to them, and when he was speaking with Orthodox11 he spoke something different because he did not want to offend him.
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« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2010, 08:55:54 AM »

It is most assuredly improper for me to project any of my thoughts into the meaning of the Met. words as I have read them being conveyed.  That is not my intent, forgive me >o

1.  I have difficulty accepting the premise that the term "Body of Christ" which I receive not just in metaphorical language but in the whole of the whole of is being that was and shall ever continue to be may be appropriately and accurately extended and applied out beyond that single certainty which I as an Orthodox Christian hold as a great mystery and make my confession not to reveal unto His enemies.  

It may be wordy, it may be simplistic, it may be all together without any others consent; but I quaff at its broadening and cannot help but say it sounds like a FOX to me.   Please, I am not making an accusation, the Met.  nor anyone else herein or much of anywhere else for that matter is beholding to owing me any explanations for their words.  

2.  The usage as I hear it in my head implies that there are members of the Body of Christ whom are invisible and yet unknown and unknowable and this simply does not seem to me to be what I have observed in the Holy Place.  My Bishop and Priest as I have watched are very, very, very, very, very, ( I stress very) careful and cautious with much attention in handling that which is I now read and hear being described as invisibly scattered outside of the Church.

Am I making sense here...We are discussing Holiness not simply seminatics.  Our confessions and evangelism towards those who may be  being called by the Lord must correspond to the reality of what we do in our DIVINE LITURGY>o  We set no particles aside for any invisible members of the Body of Christ. >o

john

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« Reply #55 on: May 10, 2010, 09:13:26 AM »

For the thoughts of some Russian bishops which are contrary to what M Kallistos has said in the interview, please see Message 54, here...

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27317.msg430590.html#msg430590
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« Reply #56 on: May 10, 2010, 11:29:19 AM »

It is most assuredly improper for me to project any of my thoughts into the meaning of the Met. words as I have read them being conveyed.  That is not my intent, forgive me >o

1.  I have difficulty accepting the premise that the term "Body of Christ" which I receive not just in metaphorical language but in the whole of the whole of is being that was and shall ever continue to be may be appropriately and accurately extended and applied out beyond that single certainty which I as an Orthodox Christian hold as a great mystery and make my confession not to reveal unto His enemies.  

It may be wordy, it may be simplistic, it may be all together without any others consent; but I quaff at its broadening and cannot help but say it sounds like a FOX to me.   Please, I am not making an accusation, the Met.  nor anyone else herein or much of anywhere else for that matter is beholding to owing me any explanations for their words.  

2.  The usage as I hear it in my head implies that there are members of the Body of Christ whom are invisible and yet unknown and unknowable and this simply does not seem to me to be what I have observed in the Holy Place.  My Bishop and Priest as I have watched are very, very, very, very, very, ( I stress very) careful and cautious with much attention in handling that which is I now read and hear being described as invisibly scattered outside of the Church.

Am I making sense here...We are discussing Holiness not simply seminatics.  Our confessions and evangelism towards those who may be  being called by the Lord must correspond to the reality of what we do in our DIVINE LITURGY>o  We set no particles aside for any invisible members of the Body of Christ. >o

john



Dear John (oh, no, not again! Wink ),

It seems to me, having read your well-founded concerns and those of the other posters, that there is also another way to look at those outside the Church without necessarily implying universal condemnation of anyone who is not Orthodox without caving into some weird ecumenism.

The problem with an absolutist theory (no one is saved and granted eternal life in the New Jerusalem after the Last Judgment without particular Baptism and Chrismation within the Orthodox Church, just for clarity) is that God the Father has specifically granted His own prerogative in saying who comes in and who does not.  It is not so much a ‘rule book’ approach, but one of personal mercy to personal repentance.

[Exodus 33:19]  And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Second, the additional problem of those intending to receive Baptism who were denied the opportunity are still considered worthy of salvation, though they may never have set foot into a church.  We do not condemn those in utter darkness, but rather those who reject the Church.

Given the utter ignorance of the average English-speaker in regards to Orthodoxy or even Christianity in general, I do think it rather difficult for us to condemn all those who earnestly seek God but have not received our preaching because we have never preached.  The problem is what to do with all those heretics (like the Anglicans).  Do we confine them all to hell in the Name of the Merciful Father?

I think a better approach is to see that all men are ‘in motion’ until the very moment of death, at which time the veil of the flesh is ripped off and they must now confront themselves in light of the True God.  Our Faith and membership in the Body of Christ, the Holy Church, certainly better prepares us by making us work hard to build up the bonds of love and adoration for God that help us to repent and receive mercy, whereas being outside the Body in this life leaves one with far less preparation.

I do not condemn the average Anglican who earnestly believes in God (in certain cases, it seems that those can be two separate things, but I have also met Orthodox who can give off the same airs), but I do condemn their hierarchs who knowingly reject the Orthodox Faith teach people likewise.  They lead people away from the path of salvation, and they will have to answer for their crimes.

Again, I return to my previous axiom: all men become Orthodox in the end, either in this life or at death, because Orthodox teachings are the truth and the truth is what we encounter at death.  Some love it, some hate it, but all confess it when the excuses are removed.  Those who repent find Orthodoxy to be the fullness of God’s love, while others find it utter hell to reject their old ways.

Having read Met. Kallistos’s comments, I’m not sure he has the same view that I do, but I think he is intelligent enough and English enough to be quite concerned about keeping up on good manners and leaving his remarks with sufficient wiggle room for interpretation that ‘both sides’ may find reason to please.  He is, above all, and Englishman of the sort that is rare in our circles: a diplomat from birth.  And, I think he sees himself as something of a conduit between his birth culture and his Church, trying to find a way to get them both on the same page.  He has done us many favors in this regard, and I consider his writings critical to my own conversion, for which I am grateful and have grave difficulty in finding a reason to condemn him.

It would be ‘bad manners’ for him to condemn the Anglicans after being invited to observe their activities, which may have caused him even further perambulations around what he really thinks, because we all know that what we really think is usually far beyond the pale of good manners.  The difficulty arises when there appears to be a conflict between good manners and the convictions we hold dear.  I have failed many a time to walk the tight-rope in a successful way.

God have mercy on us all.
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« Reply #57 on: May 10, 2010, 11:30:51 AM »

Going back and reading what M Kallistos actually said to the Anglicans and then what he has said later to Orthodox11, I don't believe he is saying the same thing.  When he was addressing the Anglicans he spoke what he knew would be pleasing to them, and when he was speaking with Orthodox11 he spoke something different because he did not want to offend him.

I don't think that is a fair assessment. His Grace is certainly always diplomatic regardless of who he is talking to, but to accuse him of changing his position is not fair. I did not challenge his views, nor did I appear concerned, I merely asked him to elaborate on what he meant by "saying that non-Orthodox Christians who are not in Communion with us are still part of the same Body of Christ." He said "I don't think I phrased it quite like that" and then gave me the explanation I posted above. The emphasis and wording were very different, naturally, but I don't see any inconsistency with what he said in the interview and what he told me (which I posted here only to give some assurance to those who were scandalised by what they thought was said in the interview).
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« Reply #58 on: May 10, 2010, 11:42:19 AM »



Given the utter ignorance of the average English-speaker in regards to Orthodoxy or even Christianity in general, I do think it rather difficult for us to condemn all those who earnestly seek God but have not received our preaching because we have never preached.  The problem is what to do with all those heretics (like the Anglicans).  Do we confine them all to hell in the Name of the Merciful Father?


Dear Father and John,

Of course we do not confine them to Hell.  Here are the words of the holy Metropolitan Philaret who was the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad when I was a young man and a very conservative theologian.  What he is saying has been said in many varied ways by Saints and theologians.

"It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman
Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox
confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who
knowingly pervert the truth... They have been born and raised and are
living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do
the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not
been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The
Lord, "Who will have all men to be saved" (I Tim. 2:4) and "Who
enlightens every man born into the world" (Jn. 1.43), undoubtedly is
leading them also towards salvation In His own way."


N.B:  "The Lord...undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation
In His own way."


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« Reply #59 on: May 10, 2010, 11:47:28 AM »

It would be ‘bad manners’ for him to condemn the Anglicans after being invited to observe their activities, which may have caused him even further perambulations around what he really thinks, because we all know that what we really think is usually far beyond the pale of good manners.  The difficulty arises when there appears to be a conflict between good manners and the convictions we hold dear.  
God have mercy on us all.


Dear Father,

Let me offer what I said elswhere....

We saw at Lambeth that  Met. Kallistos made a dreadfully wimpy speech to please and appease the Anglicans whereas the Roman Catholic Cardinal Kasper made a staunch speech telling the Anglicans where they are going wrong.  It was Kasper who earned the applause and respect of the Anglicans at Lambeth, not Met. Kallistos.
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« Reply #60 on: May 10, 2010, 12:10:43 PM »

Met Kallistos is known for being very diplomatic.  He is very well known among English speaking Orthodox, and as one who is somewhat familiar with him, his past writings, and various initiatives and committees he has participated in, I was not surprised that the thoughts expressed in the interview were his, only that he expressed them so boldly and publically.  Whether or not one agrees with Irish Hermit that Met Kallistos intentionally said one thing to the Anglican so as not to cause him offense, and another thing to Orthodox11 to not cause him offense, or whether or not the Anglican reporter accurately phrased Met Kallistos’ responses or included them in their entirety; no distinction between the Orthodox Church, Anglicanism, and Roman Catholicism was expressed in the interview, whereas such a distinction was made to Orthodox11.  The interview and Met Kallistos’ comments to Orthodox11 express very different ideas for sure.

Now regarding FatherGiryus’ comments, why entertain such dangerous and baseless speculations?  Isn’t it enough to affirm what St. Cyprian and others have said, that God has established the Church as the body of Christ for the salvation of man; that there is no other name by which man can be saved except the name of Jesus; that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church through which the salvation of mankind is accomplished; that outside of the Orthodox Church are schisms, heresies, and confusion?  Is this not true?  Does this imply that all Non-Orthodox will be condemned?  No, of course not.  I have certainly not heard this from even the most vehement anti-Ecumenists.  God, in his wisdom, may do whatever he wants and in his mercy may save many Non-Orthodox.  We do not know, however, whether God does in fact save many or any among them, so why must we speculate about this, only to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and have to give an account for keeping the Non-Orthodox away from the Ark of Salvation through such false hope? 

The Roman Catholic theory of transubstantiation is quite dangerous because it uses human speculation to explain an action of God which we know occurs but whose mechanism has not been revealed, that is the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  Such speculation about how the Non-Orthodox are somehow saved outside of the Orthodox Church is much more dangerous, because it introduces human speculation into an action of God that may not occur, or whose occurrence is itself a matter of no great certainty.  Why not say with the Fathers that the Orthodox Church alone is the Ark of Salvation, and leave the rest to God? 
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« Reply #61 on: May 10, 2010, 12:38:19 PM »

<snip>
Now regarding FatherGiryus’ comments, why entertain such dangerous and baseless speculations? 

<snip>

Dear Jah777,

Nice rhetorical flourish, but it leaves me confused.  Who's 'baseless speculations,'... mine or Met. Kallistos'?    Cheesy
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« Reply #62 on: May 10, 2010, 12:47:58 PM »

It would be ‘bad manners’ for him to condemn the Anglicans after being invited to observe their activities, which may have caused him even further perambulations around what he really thinks, because we all know that what we really think is usually far beyond the pale of good manners.

Again, to suggest that the alternative to Met Kallistos saying “we are all part of the body of Christ” would have been so say, “you Anglicans are going to hell if you don’t enter the Orthodox Church” is a false dichotomy.  Met Kallistos could have said something like,

“It is with great sadness and grief that we witness the continued decay which is occurring in Anglicanism and the further departure from the common faith that was held in both the East and the West during the first 1,000 years of Christendom.  We sincerely pray for the Anglicans in this time of great difficulty for them, yet we as Orthodox cannot help but see all of this as the sad consequence of a steady and continuous departure from the faith and spiritual standards of the Church which began with the Great Schism of 1054.  We recall with fondness the past history of our relations with Anglicans, particularly at the turn of the 20th century when it appeared to us that Anglicans desired to unite with the Orthodox Church by again affirming the common faith that we shared in the first millennium of Christianity.  Unfortunately this hoped for union was not accomplished then, and since this time the Anglican Communion has drifted further and further away from the faith and standards that were once shared with us and the whole Christian world.  Nevertheless, as a bishop of the Orthodox Church, I extend my hand in love to all who are troubled by these developments and wish to seek refuge in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which, together with our Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Met Kallistos, if he wished to speak as bishop of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, could have said something similar to this above, yet he no doubt would have expressed himself so much more effectively using the gifts of intelligence and speech which God has blessed him with and which I lack.  What a rare opportunity, and yet what a loss.  Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #63 on: May 10, 2010, 12:57:22 PM »

It would be ‘bad manners’ for him to condemn the Anglicans after being invited to observe their activities, which may have caused him even further perambulations around what he really thinks, because we all know that what we really think is usually far beyond the pale of good manners.

Again, to suggest that the alternative to Met Kallistos saying “we are all part of the body of Christ” would have been so say, “you Anglicans are going to hell if you don’t enter the Orthodox Church” is a false dichotomy.  Met Kallistos could have said something like,

“It is with great sadness and grief that we witness the continued decay which is occurring in Anglicanism and the further departure from the common faith that was held in both the East and the West during the first 1,000 years of Christendom.  We sincerely pray for the Anglicans in this time of great difficulty for them, yet we as Orthodox cannot help but see all of this as the sad consequence of a steady and continuous departure from the faith and spiritual standards of the Church which began with the Great Schism of 1054.  We recall with fondness the past history of our relations with Anglicans, particularly at the turn of the 20th century when it appeared to us that Anglicans desired to unite with the Orthodox Church by again affirming the common faith that we shared in the first millennium of Christianity.  Unfortunately this hoped for union was not accomplished then, and since this time the Anglican Communion has drifted further and further away from the faith and standards that were once shared with us and the whole Christian world.  Nevertheless, as a bishop of the Orthodox Church, I extend my hand in love to all who are troubled by these developments and wish to seek refuge in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which, together with our Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Met Kallistos, if he wished to speak as bishop of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, could have said something similar to this above, yet he no doubt would have expressed himself so much more effectively using the gifts of intelligence and speech which God has blessed him with and which I lack.  What a rare opportunity, and yet what a loss.  Lord have mercy!


Dear Jah 777,

I suggest you write him a letter and offer your services as his Communications Director.
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« Reply #64 on: May 10, 2010, 01:07:00 PM »

Who's 'baseless speculations,'... mine or Met. Kallistos'?

Forgive me, FatherGiryus, but I didn't see any speculation in Met. Kallistos but rather a clear affirmation that Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox are all part of the Body of Christ.  I was referring to explanations such as you gave as to how we can develop a theory by which we can explain how Non-Orthodox are saved as part of the body of Christ while never belonging to the Orthodox Church.  For instance, the idea that

all men become Orthodox in the end, either in this life or at death, because Orthodox teachings are the truth and the truth is what we encounter at death.  Some love it, some hate it, but all confess it when the excuses are removed.  Those who repent find Orthodoxy to be the fullness of God’s love, while others find it utter hell to reject their old ways.

I am not saying that such a theory is wrong.  You may be very correct in what you said, but is such speculation profitable?  I have heard such speculation before, often when a Non-Orthodox person asks a direct question about how Orthodox consider Non-Orthodox.  They may ask something like, “so, does this mean everyone who is not part of the Orthodox Church is going to hell?”  To which the Orthodox respondent, clearly not wanting to support such a reprehensible idea, starts off with, “Well, I like to think of it like this…,” and goes on with his “personal theory” on how Non-Orthodox are saved.  Wouldn’t it be better to say “the Church has taught from the time of the apostles….,” followed by, “As Christians we must be faithful to how the Spirit has instructed the Church from its very foundation, but it is God’s business if He wishes to act in a way that He has not revealed to the Church.”  If someone is begging for the bread of truth, why give him a stone in the form of personal theories?   
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« Reply #65 on: May 10, 2010, 01:28:21 PM »


I am not saying that such a theory is wrong.  You may be very correct in what you said, but is such speculation profitable?  I have heard such speculation before, often when a Non-Orthodox person asks a direct question about how Orthodox consider Non-Orthodox.  They may ask something like, “so, does this mean everyone who is not part of the Orthodox Church is going to hell?”  To which the Orthodox respondent, clearly not wanting to support such a reprehensible idea, starts off with, “Well, I like to think of it like this…,” and goes on with his “personal theory” on how Non-Orthodox are saved.  Wouldn’t it be better to say “the Church has taught from the time of the apostles….,” followed by, “As Christians we must be faithful to how the Spirit has instructed the Church from its very foundation, but it is God’s business if He wishes to act in a way that He has not revealed to the Church.”  If someone is begging for the bread of truth, why give him a stone in the form of personal theories?   


Dear Jah777,

I don't know if you are married, or even a man or a woman, but I will give you a lesson that us married men have to learn the hard way.

Your wife comes to you and says, 'does this dress make me look fat?'

When someone asks you a question, sometimes the asnwer is best given in a parable, especially if they are asking a question to which they really don't want the answer.  Our Lord gave lots of parables, and they are an indirect way of saying what is often too hard for another person to hear.

Your approach, direct and to the point, will leave you always correct and very much alone, because human beings don't always do well with a direct assault with the truth.  Your wife will not appreciate hearing that you see her as 'fat,' but if you answer her question in a direct manner, that's what she will come away with.

If you are going to share the Gospel, you must become 'all things to all men.'  In my opinion, that does not mean being squishy, but it means understnding the listener and what he is capable of hearing at that stage.  For some people, the truth is more than they can take.  I imagine that if we told the Anglicans, in unvarnished words, what we think of them, Parliament would have us banned from the UK.  However, with a little good sense, you can get the point across without compromising your Faith or their dignity.

I think His Eminence's remarks were unfortunate, but we all say unfortunate things at times, and one who has lived an exceptional life therefore has more opportunities to fall.  If you can do a better job, why not offer to help him?

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« Reply #66 on: May 10, 2010, 02:26:35 PM »

So Met Kallistos says that we can acknowledge that "grace is in some way present in heterodox churches."  Can we really acknowledge that?  On what basis?  

I think Irish Hermit's quote from Metropolitan Philaret is probably a good explanation.

That aside, I would guess that Met. Kallistos (like Met. Hilarion) might say he does so on the basis of the Church's recognition of the validity of heterodox sacraments in canons and pan-Orthodox conciliar decisions like I Nicea 8, Laodicea 7, I Constantinople 7, Trullo 95, Constantinople 1484, Moscow 1667, etc.

Trullo 95 allows Non-Chalcedonians, 241 years after Chalcedon, to enter the Church with nothing other than a Confession of Faith -- no baptism or chrismation necessary. Constantinople 1484 allows Roman Catholics to enter by Confession of Faith and a penitential anointing.

Starting in the 19th century, some (Russian) theologians tried to rationalize reception without baptism by claiming that Orthodox chrismation "rectified" or "made whole" a previously empty form. This explanation is not found in any contemporary source. In fact, those who disagreed with the canons and/or conciliar decisions cited above were much more consistent. They simply said: No grace outside the Church, therefore no sacraments, therefore everybody must be baptized. Such was the position, off and on, of various Synods, especially in the Greek churches.

Andrei V. Psarev presented those two strains -- and the theological conclusions that flow from them -- quite well in an article on this topic. He says:

Quote
Clearly oikonomia is not a mystery of the Church, but one of her instruments: it can be applied only to something that exists, and does not have the magic power to create ex nihilo. Thus it cannot transform an unbaptized person into a baptized one... In sum, baptism outside the Orthodox Church is either accepted as an entry into some kind of Christian life, one that requires a further rite of reconciliation with the Church, or it is not recognized at all, in which case the one seeking to join the Orthodox Church would be received by baptism.
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« Reply #67 on: May 10, 2010, 03:12:05 PM »

Forgive me, FatherGiryus, but I do not understand what fault you find with the scenario I presented, depicting an inquirer and an Orthodox respondent.  I don’t see the relationship between the scenario I presented and a question from my wife as to whether she looks fat.  In my particular case, when my wife suggests that she looks fat, I make fun of her and tell her how ridiculous she is and how she had better make sure that she never suggests in public that she is fat, since in truth she is far from it and almost all of her friends have more extra weight than her.  If she were to say such a thing around her friends, they would grow depressed and resent her.  This affirmation is effective and tends to lighten her spirits.  I understand what you are saying, that a wife who asks if she is fat really wants reassurance that her husband loves her, accepts her, and embraces her just as she is.  With the heterodox, as I said before, we need not be blunt so as to say “yeah, Paradise for you is wishful thinking, you heretic!”  But can we not be honest about where salvation is to be found, and that the Orthodox Church is the body of Christ and Ark of Salvation?  Why give the heterodox such assurance that they are fine just as they are?  Met Kallistos was not speaking in parables, neither is one speaking in parables when speculating on how one can be saved outside of the Orthodox Church, so I still fail to understand you.  I am not very smart, though, so don’t feel that you need to convince me.

You indicated that in speaking the truth one would be left alone, but why would anyone leave Anglicanism for the Orthodox Church if they were already part of the Body of Christ as Anglicans?  Truth with love is what I am advocating, not cruel condemnations or false hope.
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« Reply #68 on: May 10, 2010, 03:55:18 PM »

Forgive me, FatherGiryus, but I do not understand what fault you find with the scenario I presented, depicting an inquirer and an Orthodox respondent.  I don’t see the relationship between the scenario I presented and a question from my wife as to whether she looks fat.  In my particular case, when my wife suggests that she looks fat, I make fun of her and tell her how ridiculous she is and how she had better make sure that she never suggests in public that she is fat, since in truth she is far from it and almost all of her friends have more extra weight than her.  If she were to say such a thing around her friends, they would grow depressed and resent her.  This affirmation is effective and tends to lighten her spirits.  I understand what you are saying, that a wife who asks if she is fat really wants reassurance that her husband loves her, accepts her, and embraces her just as she is.  With the heterodox, as I said before, we need not be blunt so as to say “yeah, Paradise for you is wishful thinking, you heretic!”  But can we not be honest about where salvation is to be found, and that the Orthodox Church is the body of Christ and Ark of Salvation?  Why give the heterodox such assurance that they are fine just as they are?  Met Kallistos was not speaking in parables, neither is one speaking in parables when speculating on how one can be saved outside of the Orthodox Church, so I still fail to understand you.  I am not very smart, though, so don’t feel that you need to convince me.

You indicated that in speaking the truth one would be left alone, but why would anyone leave Anglicanism for the Orthodox Church if they were already part of the Body of Christ as Anglicans?  Truth with love is what I am advocating, not cruel condemnations or false hope.


Dear Jah777,

I never said not to speak the truth, I said that one ought to be careful about being "direct and to the point," which are my exact words.

For example, I could say, "You are correct about saying you are not very smart, because you missed my very obvious point."  Or, I could say, "Perhaps you need to reread what I wrote to see that I was not speaking of hiding the truth, but rather examining how it is communicated, and that, in fact, our Lord also used indirect methods to communicate the Truth."  One is harsh, the other is more palatable.  And, by using the phrase 'could say,' I am distancing myself from both statements, which makes the implication even less clear as to what I presently think of you.  Not that it matters in the least, because what I think of you has little to do with the issue at hand.  See how this operates?

At this point, I think the conversation is pretty much over, because I think my style is not getting across my point to you.  So sorry.
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« Reply #69 on: May 10, 2010, 05:19:39 PM »

Dear Pensateomnia, you said:

I would guess that Met. Kallistos (like Met. Hilarion) might say [that grace is in some way present in heterodox churches] on the basis of the Church's recognition of the validity of heterodox sacraments in canons and pan-Orthodox conciliar decisions like I Nicea 8, Laodicea 7, I Constantinople 7, Trullo 95, Constantinople 1484, Moscow 1667, etc.

Trullo 95 allows Non-Chalcedonians, 241 years after Chalcedon, to enter the Church with nothing other than a Confession of Faith -- no baptism or chrismation necessary. Constantinople 1484 allows Roman Catholics to enter by Confession of Faith and a penitential anointing.

Is there any indication that Non-Orthodox have been received into the Orthodox Church by a rite other than baptism for the reason that "grace is in some way present in heterodox churches," rather than on account of the use of valid forms by Non-Orthodox?  I ask this because the term "valid orders" is used by the Orthodox Church to indicate a that the form was correct and does not require repetition when a person baptized or ordained using this form is later received into the Orthodox Church.  In such a case, reception into the Church fills the empty form with grace.  This explanation is in no way an affirmation of grace being in the mysteries of Non-Orthodox.  I'm not sure why you imply that such an explanation is a 19th century Russian innovation.  Foundations of Orthodoxy, such as Optina in Russia and Mt Athos off Greece, have always baptized Roman Catholics and other Non-Orthodox even through the periods of stong Latin influence.  The canons you refer to do not mention grace, nor have I read any commentaries on these canons which explain that the Non-Orthodox referred to had "some measure of grace" before being received into the Orthodox Church.  Furthermore, when the statement is made that grace exists outside of the Orthodox Church, this is accurately meant in the general sense in which the Holy Spirit is "everywhere present and fillest all things" or which is "above all, through all, and in all" and not in the sense of the mysteries/sacraments of the Church.  So, can you find any indication that the Church, in not repeating certain forms performed by the Non-Orthodox, has stated that some measure of grace is found in their "Mysteries?"
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« Reply #70 on: May 10, 2010, 08:29:26 PM »

Quote
LAMBETH: Interview with the Most Rev. Kallistos Ware, Archbishop of Gt. Britain for the Ecumenical Patriarchate

GW - Bishop Kallistos, may I ask you how you understand the role of the ecumenical observers here at the Conference?

KW - Well, most obviously it signifies that we are conscious that we are all members of one Body in Christ. There are visible divisions separating Christians, but we know that on a deeper lever we do share, in a real sense, membership in one Body. Its expression is incomplete, imperfect, but it is nonetheless a genuine reality.

Therefore, I can as an Orthodox, worship with my sisters and brothers who share with me belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour. But I would go further than that. I think of the words of St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, when one member of the body suffers, all the other members suffer with it; when one member rejoices, all the other members rejoice. As fellow Christians we share one another's joys and sorrows. For me, as an Orthodox, coming to the Lambeth Conference is an opportunity to do precisely that - to share in your joys and your sorrows...

I recently started a thread about the invisible and visible ties of the Church, but it didn't get much in the way of responses. And then tonight I ran across this interview (and I hope this hasn't already been covered). What do you think of the words of Met. Kallistos, especially in the first couple paragraphs of the interview?

It sounds erroneous.
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« Reply #71 on: May 11, 2010, 10:40:57 AM »

I am no absolutist about what God can and may do; any cyclical reading of the lives of the Saints along with the Scriptures should break that kind of thinking into dust. 

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus; this I have received and this I have believed.

But we are discussing HOW the OUT gets IN...not the unknowable unknown of God's Omniscience...that's outa my head.

Being as simplistic as I can:

The OUT most specifically is... well, I may as well say it...OUT!

If we have doubt as to what that OUT means we should go to the first OUT wherein is the root of all other OUTS which have subsequently followed it OUT.  There is a guard to keep OUT and Servants to cast OUT and proper attire is essential if you don't want to be cast OUT....

And in like manner the IN.

When did Cornelius enter IN to communion with CHRIST?  BEFORE or AFTER he and those with him were received into the Apostolic Church?  His praysers were already being heard by God so why did he need to come IN?  If he had chosen to remain OUTside, would he have still been IN Christ?   Even the Apostle Peter saw their must be a line of demarcation between IN and OUT; And the Jerusalem Council was about IN and OUT...and subsequently the Ecumenical Councils have been about IN and OUT. 

One of the many Protestant heresies is they don't allow for an OUT and their ecclessiological necessities require that all doors only be marked enter.  Many are compelled to come IN; but some are assisted OUT and soe choose to remain OUT; shall we now declare them them IN? 

The middle ground is slippery with spittle from all those who have entered in and turned back only to spew.

Lord have mercy!

Christ is Risen!

john








 



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« Reply #72 on: May 17, 2010, 01:05:51 PM »

Bishop Kallistos is a grace-filled man for whom I have the greatest respect.
On the issue of who is the Church one should avoid allowing the Protestant idea of a personalised faith to dominate rather than the corporate membership of the sacramental life of Christ's Body. If we cannot know who belongs to that body because some people may inwardly be disposed to certain beliefs(the demons believe and tremble) then we have accepted the protestant notion of salvation through personal faith. Of course, afaith is important and necessary, a gift from God, but the life of the Church and its healing ministry through the sacraments is absolutely necessary ("Unless you eat of my flesh...").
God's life is poured into all creation (logos spermadicos), all humanity is able to enjoy beauty, show kindness and love. However, these signs of God's grace are evidence of His mercy and love, not of membership of His Body.
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« Reply #73 on: May 17, 2010, 02:46:57 PM »

Dear Punch, Alveus Lacuna and Princess Mommy,

If I were in your shoes, I would be also upset. However, please consider the following.

1. If you read Metropolitan Kallistos' interview carefully, you will see that he limits his words to non-Orthodox Christians, to individual brothers and sisters in Christ who "share with me belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour."

2. There are many Fathers of the Church who reject a black-and-white approach to non-Orthodox people. They, and we, do not maintain that the non-Orthodox will go to hell and that the Orthodox will go to heaven. We only maintain that we have the "fullness of faith."

3. Yesterday after Liturgy, a young lady, who had been attending our Church as an inquirer, asked Father if he would start her catechumenate next Sunday (Glory to God!). When the answer was in the affirmative, she was elated and related to me that, more than anything else, she yearned to be in the Communion line with the rest of us, with her arms crossed across her chest. In my casual talks with converts to Holy Orthodoxy, I consistently came across with the affirmation that the one thing that they found in our Church was true worship. Some of these converts had been Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist, and even couple of atheists and one Muslim. I guess what I am driving here is that "the fullness of faith" is indeed a treasure that has been bestowed on us, cradle and convert alike, and that it dos not matter if non-Orthodox Christians are also seen as members of the Body. No, they are not 100% wrong and no one should be sorry that they gave up a non-100% Church for the 100% Church.

What are your thoughts of the "branch theory"? Because this is pretty much what you are saying. You know, we don't always have to agree with every statement a hierarch makes. We don't believe our hierarchs to be infallible.







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« Reply #74 on: May 17, 2010, 06:45:12 PM »

What are your thoughts of the "branch theory"?

That may or may not be a proper terminology. If I remember correctly, branch theory was originally of the Oxford Movement and referred only to the Canterburian, Roman, and Byzantine communions as the branches.
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« Reply #75 on: May 17, 2010, 07:24:11 PM »

What are your thoughts of the "branch theory"?

That may or may not be a proper terminology. If I remember correctly, branch theory was originally of the Oxford Movement and referred only to the Canterburian, Roman, and Byzantine communions as the branches.

True! Which is why I asked him what his thoughts were of it. There are alot of protestant and Roman Catholic ideas invading Orthodoxy. I think it's good to know where such ideas come from.



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« Reply #76 on: May 17, 2010, 11:35:07 PM »

What are your thoughts of the "branch theory"?

That may or may not be a proper terminology. If I remember correctly, branch theory was originally of the Oxford Movement and referred only to the Canterburian, Roman, and Byzantine communions as the branches.

True! Which is why I asked him what his thoughts were of it. There are alot of protestant and Roman Catholic ideas invading Orthodoxy. I think it's good to know where such ideas come from.





Well, my point was that the theory being espoused seems to be going further in including those groups even more Protestant than the Anglican Communion, and thus isn't technically the original branch theory.
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« Reply #77 on: May 17, 2010, 11:49:39 PM »

I'm wondering if a Revised Branch Theory would include the Nestorians and Non-Chaldeconians? What about the Mandaeans?
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« Reply #78 on: May 17, 2010, 11:55:41 PM »

I'm wondering if a Revised Branch Theory would include the Nestorians and Non-Chaldeconians? What about the Mandaeans?

I think current adherents of the branch theory who have retained essentially the same substance as the original theory would now include the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Oriental Orthodox Church. The Mandaeans would probably be ruled out on the basis of lacking both the historic episcopate and the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation.
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