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Author Topic: How to address Protestant Questions regarding the Orthodox Church?  (Read 6728 times) Average Rating: 0
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prodromas
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« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2009, 08:38:38 AM »

I have not included the matter of our emphasis on the death of Christ contrasted with yours on his resurrection... I think we both believe more or less the same on these matters, and that it is our emphases that are different not our formal dogmas.

God cannot reconcile himself with sin; nor can He forgive sin, sparing it His wrath. But the God who became man offers to God His own human essence in a sacrifice of propitiation and redemption: He offers His most holy soul, which tasted spiritual death from the weight of sins, as well as His most pure body, which experienced death on the cross.

Those wonderful thoughts are not in my words, but in the words of Sergius Bulgakov in his "Reflections before the Holy Plashchanitsa Icon". I found them in "Churchly Joy: Orthodox Reflections for the Church Year." They are what I might say any Sunday from any pulpit where I preach, and be warmly appreciated.

Now of course Bulgakov shares with his fellow Orthodox your emphasis on Christ's Resurrection, which is perhaps more central to your devotion (or spirituality, or piety, or religious meditations - whatever the correct word is), whilst the Passion takes that place in our devotion. But I still think that it is our emphases that are different. If we and you both set out our formal dogmas regarding the death and the resurrection of the Saviour, I believe they would be almost indistinguishably similar.

Now, whilst I agree with various people's posts that we Evangelicals need to redress the balance of our piety, not losing our appreciation of the Passion of Christ, but building in a greater emphasis also on his Resurrection, so I suggest that it would be a very wholesome blessing for you if Orthodox believers also adjusted the balance, so that without losing any appreciation at all of the victorious Resurrection, you would draw more comfort, assurance and nourishment from the death of Christ.


Oh don't worry David. When you have 2000 years of tradition and worship under your belt we ourselves don't have to "adjust" the "balance" of our worship.
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The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
David Young
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« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2009, 09:27:31 AM »

Oh don't worry David. When you have 2000 years of tradition and worship under your belt we ourselves don't have to "adjust" the "balance" of our worship.

I'm not worried - I just want you to be blessed!
 Smiley
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"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
prodromas
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« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2009, 09:34:51 AM »

Oh don't worry David. When you have 2000 years of tradition and worship under your belt we ourselves don't have to "adjust" the "balance" of our worship.

I'm not worried - I just want you to be blessed!
 Smiley

We are blessed Cheesy I hope you could be blessed having a liturgy written by very pious people who truly loved the lord their God.
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The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
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« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2009, 11:41:02 AM »

Now, whilst I agree with various people's posts that we Evangelicals need to redress the balance of our piety, not losing our appreciation of the Passion of Christ, but building in a greater emphasis also on his Resurrection, so I suggest that it would be a very wholesome blessing for you if Orthodox believers also adjusted the balance, so that without losing any appreciation at all of the victorious Resurrection, you would draw more comfort, assurance and nourishment from the death of Christ.

May I just ask... have you ever experienced Lent in the Orthodox Church?  More specifically, have you ever experienced Holy Week, especially the Holy Thursday and Holy Friday services?  It is hard for me to imagine that, if you had the full 40 day experience within the Orthodox Church, climaxing in Holy Week and then Pascha, that you would still say this.  Smiley
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prodromas
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« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2009, 11:47:39 AM »

Now, whilst I agree with various people's posts that we Evangelicals need to redress the balance of our piety, not losing our appreciation of the Passion of Christ, but building in a greater emphasis also on his Resurrection, so I suggest that it would be a very wholesome blessing for you if Orthodox believers also adjusted the balance, so that without losing any appreciation at all of the victorious Resurrection, you would draw more comfort, assurance and nourishment from the death of Christ.

May I just ask... have you ever experienced Lent in the Orthodox Church?  More specifically, have you ever experienced Holy Week, especially the Holy Thursday and Holy Friday services?  It is hard for me to imagine that, if you had the full 40 day experience within the Orthodox Church, climaxing in Holy Week and then Pascha, that you would still say this.  Smiley

Are you crazy presbytera i'm sure that the one week devotional services in the evangelical church are more then the 40 day lent that we have Cheesy (note for sarcasm). David I honestly think you don't understand because you are analyzing this as an outsider and purely looking at it structurally. Presbytera Mari is right, for 40 days you are focusing on Christ's ministry and life and in the climactic last week are living the days before Christs crucifixtion and feeling it every step of the way until Pascha when you feel gladness and peace as Christ is risen, He is Truly Risen.
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The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
David Young
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« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2009, 12:24:17 PM »

David I honestly think you don't understand because you are analyzing this as an outsider ... living the days before Christs crucifixtion and feeling it every step of the way until Pascha when you feel gladness and peace as Christ is risen, He is Truly Risen.
Interesting you should both say that sort of thing.

I have tried to get to an Orthodox service, but when I was free, either the church was miles away up in a mountain village with an early morning service (Albania), or it was in the village where I was, but they only had a service one Sunday in four because of a shortage of priests (Crete). I was in Corfu one Easter, but worshipped at the Evangelical church in Iakovou Polila street and was invited thence to a Greek-style Easter dinner (lamb on spit, home-made wine, etc etc). I intend to visit our nearest Orthodox church one Sunday morning - some 12 miles away in a cemetery - but I am waiting till a suitable date when I am not preaching anywhere, and when we have a service at our Baptist church which I don't mind missing. I have been in touch with them by e-mail.

Reading Bulgakov's "Orthodox Devotions for the Church Year" I had thoughts very similar to those you express in the two previous posts: that one way you Orthodox excel us is in your re-enacting or commemorating the events of Christ's life. We have no real concept of a 'church year' beyond Christmas and Easter, and maybe Whitsun, and I agree we are impoverished. I also agree with the post which says we would benefit from more liturgical prayers, some of which are of great age, beauty, strength and truth. Some other people feel the same, as we have even begun to have the occasional 'prayer from a book', but I have not been bold enough to get the congregation to pray them aloud in unison. I feel such an innovation is the right of the pastor (who agrees with me). Change can be a very slow thing. Many churches, sadly, are either becoming increasingly entertainment-based, or are withdrawing into a hard-line ghetto mentality as they see the world and the churches go into accelerating decline. (I feel that some Orthodox people suffer from a similar minority, ghetto mentality.)

Some of Bulgakov's homilies come across as extremely weird to an outsider; others are most heart-warming and edifying, like the one I quoted above. It is only now (as far as I know) that a tiny trickle of Orthodox books are being imported from America and sold here, as people leave the Anglican Church in disgust at the ordination of women, at tolerance of sodomy, etc, and so the Orthodox Church is one of the few that are growing, and perhaps as we open our doors to more and more immigrants from Orthodox countries.

When I got drawn into this forum, one thing I posted very early on was the hope that (as I have learnt and benefited from various writers of denominations, even the mediæval West), I might learn and benefit also from the Orthodox Church. Some of the posts that appear are very winsome; others are as off-putting as the worst I have encountered among the narrower and more clamant Protestant wings.
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« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2009, 03:53:28 PM »

When I got drawn into this forum, one thing I posted very early on was the hope that (as I have learnt and benefited from various writers of denominations, even the mediæval West), I might learn and benefit also from the Orthodox Church. Some of the posts that appear are very winsome; others are as off-putting as the worst I have encountered among the narrower and more clamant Protestant wings.

Hi David,

Sorry for quoting the last bit only, but I think there's an important distinction that you've probably hit on yourself already. I actually really dislike forums in general (and instant messaging, email, text messaging etc.), not because I'm old and set in my ways (I'm almost 30, is that old thesedays? I dunno ;-) ) but because text in a short paragraph is such a frustratingly limited means of communication and sometimes it's hard to guage the emotion/intent behind some people's postings.

What I'm waffling about is this:- There is a whole lot of difference in attending the Divine Liturgy and having a friendly chat to parishoners/priests over coffee afterward and attending meetings etc. than reading about people's opinions of Orthodoxy on an internet forum and I really hope you don't get put off by some of the things you read here. Sometimes people's first visit to an Orthodox church is a great one, they feel right at home etc., but sometimes people feel a bit bemused, ignored afterwards by the congregation and sometimes slightly unwelcome. Such is nature of people, alas. However, please don't feel put off by a bad experience of either the forums, people's comments or a visit to a service that didn't necessarily hit the spot. There are quite a few Orthodox parishes popping up in the UK so it's worth attending different parishes to see what they are like.

I've particularly enjoyed your postings here. I guess that's because I come from a Anglican (family are now Baptist) background and you tend to ask the same questions that I do!  Wink
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« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2010, 08:53:03 AM »

if he has ever looked into the Orthodox Church of Albania because his last name is Albanese.

The name sounds Italian. There are twenty or so Albanian-speaking villages in southern Italy, especially Calabria. The people are known as Arbëresh, but I believe the Italians call them Albanesi, and one or two of their villages are named Such-and-Such degli Albanesi.

I forget what branch of the church they traditionally belong to, but I seem to recall it was one of those half-Greek, half-Latin churches (Uniate?) which exist in that part of the world. It would be easy to look up: there is a fair amount written about them.

Their history also can easily be looked up, but from my faulty memory I seem to recall that they fled from Albania at the time of the Ottoman advance, probably after the defeat of Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbe - i.e. 15th century.

Another guess is this: that his comment on the sort of church he likes makes him sound (to me) like one of these Charismatic groups which have sprung up over the past 30-40 years.

...Unless of course he means he's a Baptist!  Smiley

My niece's last name is also Albanese. We did a bit of research and the Albanese in Calabria, Italy are indeed descended from Albanians who fled the Turks and settled in the nearest region of Italy they could find. Almost all belong to the Roman Catholic Church now but some do practice the Eastern rite within the Roman Church.

A great piece of advice for anyone interested or curious about Orthodoxy is "Come and see!"

My childhood religious upbringing was in a protestant church that was very "sola scriptura" (Assemblies of God type churches.) I had a ton of objections to lot's of thing when I first encountered Orthodoxy but over time I was able to learn how and why these practices are not in contradiction to the scriptures.

Finally, the worst thing would be to pressure someone who is not ready to look into Orthodoxy yet. If they express interest again in the future I would give some of the explanations and try some of the ideas posted above. Pray for your friend and amazing things can happen Smiley
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 08:54:09 AM by mattymoo » Logged
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