I feel if you really loved them - you would tell them they are making a huge mistake! What greater love is there than concern for someone's immortal soul? Would you rather if I politely allowed you to die... or 'rudely' saved your life?
Exactly how do you expect to "rudely" save a non Christian's life to begin with? Do you not realize that many reject Christianity precisely because of all the bible/church father/canon thumping about burning in hell if you don't pass God's cosmic theology exam?
Then you have the other group of non Christians who genuinely just do not believe. They aren't rebelling against anything they just don't believe in the Christian message. Exactly how is threatening them with everlasting torture and torment going to convince them of the truth of Christ's message? (when in fact they A.) may believe another faith, or B.) may not believe in hell at all)
Hmmm. Well I agree we should pray that everyone to come to salvation in Christ - but aren't we also called first to be witnesses to the truth?
It's all in HOW one witnesses to that truth. Everyone is in a different place on their spiritual path. To assume every single person on the planet will come to Christ by the exact same method of witnessing is frankly not Christian at all. Jesus used many different methods to reach many different people. We should do the same, and realize that most people in our day and age just do not respond to the whole fire insurance version of Christianity. And in the end, is that even a good reason to become a Christian? To follow Christ just out of fear that one might go to hell if they don't? With that reckoning should we follow the religion that has the worst version of hell and join that faith, just in case we're wrong?
At the risk of offending someone else... I think once your belief becomes truly & fully Orthodox - you will know that the 'Evangelical Lutheran church' is in fact no Church at all! As long as you're outside of the Orthodox Church - you're already 'churchless'.
truly and fully Orthodox? But which Orthodox? OO? EO? Which EO? New Calendar, Old Calendar? What of the rare Old Calendar Eastern Orthodox, who believes that only their
branch of Russian Orthodoxy is "truly Orthodox" while the Greek Old Calendar Churches are slightly less Orthodox than everyone else? Such people do exist.
As far as the ELCA not being a "real" Church? Who told you this? Only God can know such things. Did God call you on your cell phone and tell you this?
I'm not trying to argue with you exactly. I know what it is that you are trying to say. But the way you say it does come off as a bit harsh. Even though I realize you're not meaning it to come off like that.
In the end, it has been my understanding that the Orthodox teaching is that we know where the Church is, but we do NOT know where it is not. So if this is true, we cannot possibly say the ELCA is not "any church at all", because that is just beyond any sort of human knowledge. Besides telling millions of Christians that they in fact are not part of a "real" Church, and may not be Christians at all is just not the best way of witnessing to people.
Put in more personal terms, I did not become a Christian because someone threatened me with hell, or because they bible thumped and tried to sell me cosmic fire insurance, I became a Christian because people showed me love and respect for who I was as a person. I became Orthodox not because I feared going to hell if I did not become Orthodox, but I became Orthodox because I was searching for truth, and because I believed it was the true Church. I have remained Orthodox, despite my own personal doubts, skepticisms, and other problems, NOT because someone told me if I leave I'll be tortured for all eternity if I leave, (in fact it is that line of reasoning that causes me more doubts than just about anything) but because of the Truth within the Church that still touches my inner being. Often this truth is revealed through the LOVE of others. That is my personal experience anyways. My experience is not everyone's experience. But that's the point I'm trying to make. Not everyone, responds to the methods that might have worked for you. Not to put down what does work for you, but Orthodox spirituality I don't believe is one size fits all. Which is part of it's beauty IMO.
Anyways, not trying to argue, just giving my POV. I hope there is no hard feelings.
edited to clarify and add personal testimony of sorts!