Author Topic: Convert to a "Group" rather than God  (Read 1149 times)

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Offline sprtslvr1973

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Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« on: October 30, 2010, 07:34:06 AM »
This has been the accusation made by some evangelicals about converting to Orthodoxy. That rather than personally converting to Christ, one is simply changing teams or parties. Is this a legitimate accusation, if not why not?
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Offline Father Peter

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 07:39:29 AM »
People in all religious groups are joining for a variety of reasons. One of these, in all situations, not even all Christian situations, is certainly to be part of a crowd. It is necessary for the priest to help a person see that in the end their decision to join the Church must be rooted in a desire to be united with Christ.

But since no-one tends to have entirely pure (in the sense of simple) motives, it is the case that a person seeking Christ will also often join a particular Church because they are friendly, they are a family, or more negatively, because they are a tight knit group resisting the world.

I would not say that most converts become Orthodox because of a group mentality. I would say that it is generally much too costly for that to be the prime motivation. And as a lasting motivation it is problematic because people will always let us down. I would probably want to say that it was more relevant a motivation in the case of modern non-denominational protestant groups, especially those shading into cults.

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Offline Punch

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2010, 09:40:43 AM »
This has been the accusation made by some evangelicals about converting to Orthodoxy. That rather than personally converting to Christ, one is simply changing teams or parties. Is this a legitimate accusation, if not why not?

That is because most evangelicals do not recognize the Orthodox Church as the one true Body of Christ.  If they did, they would realize that converting to Orthodoxy IS personally converting to Christ.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline biro

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2010, 10:57:07 AM »
How can they say this, since their churches consist of groups of people also? Who made up this distinction of 'personal' and 'impersonal,' since these terms are not in Scripture?  :D  ???
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 11:05:51 AM »
Yes, I can understand their point. If done correctly, one would be turning towards Christ when they join the Church He founded. However, some are simply looking for another group because the last one didn't tickle their fancy any more. Or maybe they like Orthodoxy because it seems exotic or different from what they're used to, or maybe they like the solemnity of Orthodox worship, or the mysticism of certain Orthodox writers, or they might just convert because their getting married to someone who is Orthodox... the point is, they might be converting to the Orthodox Church as an institution more than the theanthropic body of Christ. Also, some people might just be passing through--Orthodoxy might just be the newest in a string of religious faiths the person is trying out.

Offline Punch

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 12:01:33 PM »
Yes, I can understand their point. If done correctly, one would be turning towards Christ when they join the Church He founded. However, some are simply looking for another group because the last one didn't tickle their fancy any more. Or maybe they like Orthodoxy because it seems exotic or different from what they're used to, or maybe they like the solemnity of Orthodox worship, or the mysticism of certain Orthodox writers, or they might just convert because their getting married to someone who is Orthodox... the point is, they might be converting to the Orthodox Church as an institution more than the theanthropic body of Christ. Also, some people might just be passing through--Orthodoxy might just be the newest in a string of religious faiths the person is trying out.

This is a little different than the way that I took your first post.  In the first post, it took it that the Evangelicals were making a blanket statement.  In your post above, it seems you are talking about the various motivations of individuals.  I believe that SOME (and possibly many) people "convert" to Orthodoxy for exactly the reasons that you point out.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 12:07:35 PM »
This is a little different than the way that I took your first post.  In the first post, it took it that the Evangelicals were making a blanket statement.  In your post above, it seems you are talking about the various motivations of individuals.  I believe that SOME (and possibly many) people "convert" to Orthodoxy for exactly the reasons that you point out.

Yeah, as I read the OP again I see what you mean. I think when I was reading the OP, for whatever reason, the word "some" migrated so that instead of this...

"This has been the accusation made by some evangelicals about converting to Orthodoxy"

I was responding as though he had said this...

"This has been the accusation made by evangelicals about some converting to Orthodoxy"
« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 12:07:51 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2010, 12:28:09 PM »
This has been the accusation made by some evangelicals about converting to Orthodoxy. That rather than personally converting to Christ, one is simply changing teams or parties. Is this a legitimate accusation, if not why not?
Well, they should be consistent and make up their own personal canon of the Gospels and stop using ours.

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2010, 01:15:34 PM »
This has been the accusation made by some evangelicals about converting to Orthodoxy. That rather than personally converting to Christ, one is simply changing teams or parties. Is this a legitimate accusation, if not why not?

That is because most evangelicals do not recognize the Orthodox Church as the one true Body of Christ.  If they did, they would realize that converting to Orthodoxy IS personally converting to Christ.

I agree completely. Joining the TRUE and Orthodox Church IS a full conversion to Christ.

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Offline Dart

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2010, 10:41:52 PM »
So when someone says "I believe in Christ but am against organized religion, hypocritical church people, and faith as a business" how do we respond?


Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2010, 12:47:41 AM »
So when someone says "I believe in Christ but am against organized religion, hypocritical church people, and faith as a business" how do we respond?

I would start by finding out whether they're a nominal sort of "I believe in Christ" person, or a "Bible Believing" kind. If the latter, I think a solid case can be made for Christ founding a Church using New Testament Scripture. Now, identifying that Church as Orthodoxy is a whole other matter, but one step at a time...

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2010, 02:15:20 AM »
So when someone says "I believe in Christ but am against organized religion, hypocritical church people, and faith as a business" how do we respond?

I'd ask them for a donation, but then again I can be a real jerk.

Offline Dart

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2010, 02:06:42 PM »
So when someone says "I believe in Christ but am against organized religion, hypocritical church people, and faith as a business" how do we respond?

I'd ask them for a donation, but then again I can be a real jerk.

Interesting comment. I had mentioned this because it happened to me a few days ago. The people saying this are part of a small group which raises several thousand dollars each year for the local children's hospital. Although Philoptochos and other church clubs do similar good work, I am hard pressed to find many good works commisioned by the church itself. These were the type of people which would have donated a few thousand to IOCC or OCMC but would not donate a dime to the church itself.

I remember seeing Arbishop Iakovas on the cover of time promoting civil rights. Anybody know of any clergy making the news for some exceptional charitable achievement recently. Any denomination at all that is.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Convert to a "Group" rather than God
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2010, 09:45:59 PM »
So when someone says "I believe in Christ but am against organized religion, hypocritical church people, and faith as a business" how do we respond?

Another thing you might say would be: "That sounds like an awfully organized set of principles you have there."