Author Topic: Is an orthodox understanding of God necessary for worshiping Him?  (Read 489 times)

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Offline Wyatt

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This is a question raised in my mind because of the comments made most recently in the Orthodox Apparitions thread. It was asserted that Catholics (Churches in Full Communion with Rome) worship a different God than the Eastern Orthodox because of our different understanding of the Trinity. My question is, is having the proper understanding of God actually required for being able to worship the true God, or is it the intent of the believer that determines this? As a Roman Rite Catholic, I may strongly disagree with Oneness Pentecostals for choosing Oneness theology over the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, yet I would not deny they are worshiping the True God even though their understanding of Him may be way, way, way off base.

What is the Eastern (or Oriental) Orthodox take on this? Is proper understanding absolutely necessary for being able to worship the True God? Do those who have a false understanding of God not have the ability to worship Him? Are the prayers of Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Catholics etc. not heard because we are not Eastern (or Oriental) Orthodox?
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 01:26:46 PM by Wyatt »

Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Is an orthodox understanding of God necessary for worshiping Him?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 01:34:29 PM »
I've always understood it as being a case where, if you do not know about the definitions of faith and such that came out of the Ecumenical Councils, and just do something like recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed in simplicity and sincerity, then you're fine. And likewise, if you decide to search into all the pronouncements of the Ecumenical Councils, and understand Orthodox theology in more depth, and hold to it, then you're fine. You're only in danger of drowning if you dive into the deep end of the theological pool and then decide to side against orthodoxy. Regarding those who innocently hold to something incorrect, I think of the statement of St. Gregory the Theologian that we should: "not overmuch dread the purification. For our success is always judged by comparison with our place in life by our just and merciful Judge" (Oration 40, 19)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 01:35:15 PM by Asteriktos »
"In order to fulfill the commandments of Christ, you must know them! Read the Holy Gospel, penetrate its spirit, and make it the rule of your life." - St. Nikon of Optina

Offline tomowapig

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Re: Is an orthodox understanding of God necessary for worshiping Him?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 02:14:07 PM »
I *believe* though I do not *know* that God hears all of our prayers.   He is the Creator of us all, not just the Orthodox or the Catholics or the Baptists or the Muslims or whoever.  And as such, because He is a loving God, He loves *all* of us, no matter what we do or do not do, no matter where we worship Him or do not worship Him.  Really, how could it be otherwise?

And if we do not worship Him in a way that He would prefer, could He love us less?  If so, how??  He doesn't want us to sin, but still loves us in spite of our sins, does He not?  I think that anyone who might claim otherwise is missing the point that God is Love.

How many of any of us really have "proper understanding", anyway? 

Heck, as far as worship is concerned, Roman Catholics actually welcome Orthodox Christians to worship with them *and* partake of the sacraments.  I know, I know--we Orthodox, in our "infinite wisdom" (HA!) do not reciprocate in the partaking of the sacraments part, even though I am told by Orthodox priests that Catholic sacraments are "valid".  Now, that's interesting!  Wonder what God thinks of that?

Offline tuesdayschild

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Re: Is an orthodox understanding of God necessary for worshiping Him?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 02:54:44 PM »
With infants as full members of the Church in mind, I think it is important that the bishop by whose hand or by whose authority you receive communion has an Orthodox understanding of God.  Beyond that, it is necessary that your own understanding of God is as Orthodox as you can manage.