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Author Topic: ESV Study Bible's take on Eastern Orthodoxy  (Read 3340 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dnarmist
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« on: December 04, 2010, 07:56:41 AM »

Eastern Orthodoxy

Historical Background of Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodoxy consists of a family of churches, largely in countries to the east of Rome, that rejected the authority of the pope and separated from the Roman Catholic Church in a.d. 1054. The most prominent Orthodox churches are the Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox, but Orthodoxy also includes other groups such as Syrian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, and Coptic Orthodox.

The division in 1054 was prompted by objections to the pope's endorsement of the addition of the Latin clause filioque (“and the Son”) to the Nicene Creed, so that it said that “the Holy Spirit … proceedeth from the Father and the Son” (a reference to the eternal relations between the Son and the Holy Spirit). But issues of ecclesiastical authority were probably more significant than the specific doctrinal issue. Orthodox churches include about 218 million adherents today, compared to 1.1 billion Roman Catholics and about 830 million Protestants.

Orthodoxy comprises a range of autocephalous and autonomous churches, the Russian and Greek being the most prominent. (Autocephalous churches are federations of local churches over which no outside jurisdiction can claim authority. They are autonomous churches in that they have authority over their own internal matters, though they require the approval of another church for such things as the appointment of a chief hierarch, or church leader.)

During the first millennium the predominantly Latin-speaking West and the predominantly Greek-speaking East drifted apart linguistically, culturally, and theologically. Rome's claims to universal jurisdiction and its addition of the filioque clause led to severed relations. Following this, many countries in the East, overrun by the Muslims, had limited freedom, both politically and ecclesiastically. Constantinople, or Byzantium (modern Istanbul), the capital of the Christian East, was conquered in 1453. In the twentieth century, Orthodoxy in Russia and Eastern Europe lived under Communist rule, suffering intense persecution.

Orthodoxy's doctrinal basis is the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils (between a.d. 325 and 787), with reference especially to the Trinity and Christology. Evangelicals agree with most of these dogmatic decisions.

Orthodoxy is highly visual, with icons dominating its churches. Its ancient liturgy, rooted in the fourth century, is central to its theology and life.

Positive Elements of Orthodoxy That Evangelicals Can Learn From

The Trinity
The Orthodox liturgy is full of Trinitarian prayers, hymns, and doxologies; the Trinity is a vital part of belief and worship, whereas in the West it often appears as little more than an arcane mathematical riddle. Paul describes our relationship with God in Trinitarian terms: “through [Christ] we … have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18).

Union with Christ and God
Crucial to Orthodox theology is “deification,” in which humans (while remaining humans) are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, transformed by divine grace, and in this sense become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). Though talk of deification sounds alarming to many evangelicals, the difference is largely one of emphasis. Orthodoxy has maintained a focus on the union of the three persons in God, the union of deity and humanity in Christ, the union of Christ and the church (central in the NT, e.g., John 14:18–24; 17:20–23; Eph. 1:3–14), and the union of the Holy Spirit and the saints. In contrast, the West has often emphasized the juridical aspects of doctrine, such as the doctrines of atonement and justification.

Freedom from Concerns Raised by the Enlightenment
Due to its historical avoidance of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century (with its emphasis on the primacy of reason), Orthodox theology never became preoccupied with unbelieving critical challenges to and revisions of the faith, which in the West have often bred a detached, academic approach to theology divorced from the life of the church. This is evident in Orthodoxy's firm belief in heaven, hell, and the return of Christ—topics that many in the West (esp. among more liberal Protestant groups) have sidelined due to possible embarrassment. There is strong commonality here between evangelicals and the Orthodox.

Unity of Theology and Piety
In Orthodoxy, the knowledge of God is received and cultivated by prayer and meditation aided by the Holy Spirit, in battle against the forces of spiritual darkness. Therefore, asceticism and monasticism have had a contemplative character in Orthodoxy. By contrast, since the Enlightenment, Western theology has centered in academic institutions, many of them unconnected to the church. Orthodoxy has profoundly integrated liturgy, piety, and doctrine.

Agreements between Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy

The ecumenical councils' declarations on the Trinity and Christ show the extensive agreement between Orthodoxy and evangelicalism, despite their disagreement on the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed. Although they have different emphases, Orthodoxy and evangelicalism agree on the Bible's authority, on sin, and on the fall (however, the Orthodox do not accept the specific Augustinian doctrine of original sin). They also agree on Christ's death and resurrection (although the Orthodox regard the atonement more as conquest of death than payment for the penalty of sin), the Holy Spirit, the return of Christ, the final judgment, heaven, and hell.

Historically the justification controversy of the Reformation was not an issue in the Eastern church, but there is generally an underlying consensus between the East and several Reformation doctrines in the West. Eastern patristic writers occasionally spoke of salvation as a gift of God's grace, and of faith as a gift of God; the famous Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) attests to Orthodoxy's rejection of good works contributing to justification. In a similar way, there are echoes in the West of something like the Orthodox doctrine of “deification”—which is no more incompatible with justification by faith than are the doctrines of sanctification and glorification.

Additionally, the Orthodox doctrine of the church resonates with many evangelical concerns. Orthodox opposition to Rome is underlined by Cyprian's stress on the unity of the church, the parity of bishops, and the equality of all church members—a model of the church close to post-Reformation Anglicanism.

Significant Misunderstandings

Evangelical Misunderstandings of Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy's use of icons (visual representations of Christ and the saints) has bothered evangelicals, who argue that it can easily tend toward idolatry and worship of images of God. However, the Second Council of Nicea (a.d. 787) emphatically denied that icons are worshiped. Following John of Damascus, it distinguished between honor (Gk. proskynēsis) given to saints and icons, and worship (Gk. latreia) owed to the indivisible Trinity alone. Icons are regarded as windows to the spiritual realm, betokening in the church's worship on earth the presence of the saints in heaven. Moreover, the idea of image (Gk. eikon) is prominent in the Bible. The whole creation reveals the glory of God (Ps. 19:1 ff.; Rom. 1:18–20).

On Scripture and tradition (the teaching of the church), both sides appeal to both sources. There is an overwhelming biblical emphasis in Orthodox liturgy—the Bible has been translated into the local vernacular wherever Orthodox missionaries have gone—while the Reformation did not ignore tradition but had a high view of the teaching of the church. The issue is not the Bible alone vs. tradition; it is which has the decisive voice, the last word over the other? For evangelicalism, the Bible is unequivocally the Word of God (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16), while all human councils may err, and therefore the Bible must finally judge the tradition that seeks to expound it. For Orthodoxy, however, the decisions of the early church councils and church fathers often function in practice as equal to the Bible in authority.

Orthodox Misunderstandings of Evangelicalism
The Orthodox confuse the Protestant doctrine of predestination with Islamic fatalism. But the Bible teaches both the absolute sovereignty of God and the full responsibility of man, since God's decrees also take into account the free actions of secondary causes. The Orthodox mistakenly believe that the doctrine of predestination is monothelitism (the heresy that Christ had only his divine will but no human will). The idea that predestination short-circuits the human will is misplaced.

Many Orthodox polemicists accuse evangelicals of ignoring the church's part in salvation. However, the classic Protestant confessions attest that the church is integral to the process of salvation, the Christian faith being found in the Bible and taught by the church. Orthodoxy at this point confuses classic Protestantism with the view of later individualist views.

Substantive Disagreement

The Eastern Tendency to Downplay the Preaching of God's Word
Largely due to historical events (the depredations of Islam) and despite Orthodoxy's heritage of superlative preaching (Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen), worship in the East is more visual than worship in evangelical churches. Sermons are part of the liturgy, but the focus is as much on the icons and the symbolic movements of the clergy. Gregory of Nyssa stressed God's visible revelation in creation, along with the ambiguity and inadequacy of language.

The way Calvin resolved this question was to understand the knowledge of God in auditory terms: God's Word must be heard by us in faith. For Calvin, God reveals himself in his Word by the Holy Spirit. In the Word read and proclaimed, God addresses us personally. We cannot see him but we hear him. His verbal revelation is true and reliable, and the preaching, teaching, and meditative study of it comprise the prime channel of God's grace.

The Relationship between Scripture and Tradition
For Orthodoxy, tradition is a living, dynamic movement, the Bible existing within it and not apart from it. Orthodoxy also believes in biblical authority but as part of a larger whole. Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority.

The Palamite Doctrine of the Trinity
The influential archbishop of Thessalonica, Gregory Palamas (1296–1359), promoted a distinction, later widely accepted in Orthodoxy, between the unknowable essence (being) of God and his “energies.” But this view has driven a wedge between God in himself and God as he has revealed himself, threatening our knowledge of God with profound agnosticism, since we have no way of knowing whether God is as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. This formulation defies rational discourse, since it tells us that we cannot say anything definitive about who God is, with the result that the Christian life is reduced to noncognitive mystical contemplation. It introduces into God a division, not a distinction.

The Veneration of Mary and the Saints
Orthodoxy considers it possible, legitimate, and desirable for Christians to ask Mary and other departed saints to intercede with God on their behalf. But neither Jesus nor Paul ever suggest that this is possible or acceptable.

The point is not that request for prayer is made to saints as such, for all Christians ask living saints to intercede with God for them. What evangelicals object to is the belief that departed saints can receive our prayers and so intercede on our behalf. The Bible does not encourage us to put our hope in the prayers of departed saints; it directs our hope to Christ, his return, and the resurrection, not to contact with saints departed (1 Thess. 4:13–18; cf. 1 Samuel 28; 1 Chron. 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:5).

Orthodoxy insists that the incarnation mandates icons of Christ, since God has chosen to reveal himself in human form. Evangelicals are equally emphatic that the second commandment prohibits the use of images in worship, and many think that using icons of Christ as aids to worship oversteps acceptable boundaries in that regard. Both sides claim the other is heretical; Orthodoxy considers evangelicals guilty of Manicheeism, entailing a deficient view of matter, while evangelicals argue that icons of Christ imply a Nestorian abstraction of Christ's humanity. (Manicheeism holds that there are two coequal realities, spirit and matter, which are respectively good and evil. Nestorianism is a heresy that separated Christ's divine and human natures.)

Synergism in Salvation
The East has a vigorous doctrine of free will and an implacable opposition to the Reformed teaching on predestination and the sovereignty of God's grace in Christ. In this aspect, Orthodoxy is farther away from the Reformation than is Rome. The difference in respective weighting of grace and the human will is far-reaching. It entails differing understandings of the extent of human sin and the nature of Christ's work.

Compared with Rome, How Far Away from Protestantism Is Orthodoxy?

There are ways in which Orthodoxy is closer to classic Protestantism than is Rome. Both were forced into separation from the Roman Church, and both agree in their opposition to the claims of the papacy. The structure of Orthodox churches is much closer to that of Reformed churches, especially the Anglican church. The Orthodox recognition of the parity of all believers, and the autonomy and autocephalous nature of local churches, is far closer to Reformed polity than is the Roman hierarchy. Hence, Orthodoxy does not have the same accumulation of authoritative dogmas as Rome. Moreover, the Orthodox stress on the Bible opens up a large commonality of approach.

There are, however, ways in which Orthodoxy is further removed from evangelicalism than is Rome. Protestantism shares the Roman Catholic understanding of the Trinity. Orthodoxy's stance on the filioque controversy, and its distinction between the essence of God and the divine energies, produce a different form of piety. Western faith is centered in Christ; the East's is more focused on the Holy Spirit. As Orthodox theologian Kallistos Ware put it, Rome and Protestantism share the same questions, but supply different answers; with Orthodoxy, the questions themselves are different.
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 09:33:03 AM »

Yeah, that's dumb. Also: "Western faith is centered in Christ; the East's is more focused on the Holy Spirit."

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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2010, 01:58:26 PM »

Eastern Orthodoxy

Historical Background of Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodoxy consists of a family of churches, largely in countries to the east of Rome, that rejected the authority of the pope and separated from the Roman Catholic Church in a.d. 1054.

That could be taken in the context that we were one Church and then divided (which is true), or it could be taken in the sense that we were rightfully under Rome's authority and simply rebelled causing division (which is false).

Quote
The most prominent Orthodox churches are the Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox, but Orthodoxy also includes other groups such as Syrian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, and Coptic Orthodox.

The division in the Church with the Syrians and Copts did not happen in the year 1054.

Quote
The division in 1054 was prompted by objections to the pope's endorsement of the addition of the Latin clause filioque (“and the Son”) to the Nicene Creed, so that it said that “the Holy Spirit … proceedeth from the Father and the Son” (a reference to the eternal relations between the Son and the Holy Spirit).


This does nothing to explain the language difference between greek and latin, the different theological expressions that came about as a result of language differences, and the original context of the creed and intent with which it was written.

Quote
But issues of ecclesiastical authority were probably more significant than the specific doctrinal issue.

I think there might be some truth to this.

Quote
Orthodoxy comprises a range of autocephalous and autonomous churches, the Russian and Greek being the most prominent. (Autocephalous churches are federations of local churches over which no outside jurisdiction can claim authority. They are autonomous churches in that they have authority over their own internal matters, though they require the approval of another church for such things as the appointment of a chief hierarch, or church leader.)

In think this is fairly accurate.

Quote
During the first millennium the predominantly Latin-speaking West and the predominantly Greek-speaking East drifted apart linguistically, culturally, and theologically. Rome's claims to universal jurisdiction and its addition of the filioque clause led to severed relations. Following this, many countries in the East, overrun by the Muslims, had limited freedom, both politically and ecclesiastically. Constantinople, or Byzantium (modern Istanbul), the capital of the Christian East, was conquered in 1453. In the twentieth century, Orthodoxy in Russia and Eastern Europe lived under Communist rule, suffering intense persecution.

Brief, very general, but accurate.

Quote
Orthodoxy's doctrinal basis is the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils (between a.d. 325 and 787), with reference especially to the Trinity and Christology. Evangelicals agree with most of these dogmatic decisions.

In the councils, Orthodoxy sees the Holy Spirit guiding the Church and maintains the continuation of that Spirit led Church, while the Protestant view (please correct me if I'm wrong) is more along the lines of seeing the councils as simply a list of doctrines that may or may not be accurate.

Quote
Orthodoxy is highly visual, with icons dominating its churches. Its ancient liturgy, rooted in the fourth century, is central to its theology and life.

The liturgies most commonly used date back to the fourth century, but the use and form of liturgical worship can be found in the NT as the fulfillment of OT worship.

Quote
Positive Elements of Orthodoxy That Evangelicals Can Learn From

The Trinity
The Orthodox liturgy is full of Trinitarian prayers, hymns, and doxologies; the Trinity is a vital part of belief and worship, whereas in the West it often appears as little more than an arcane mathematical riddle. Paul describes our relationship with God in Trinitarian terms: “through [Christ] we … have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18).

Union with Christ and God
Crucial to Orthodox theology is “deification,” in which humans (while remaining humans) are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, transformed by divine grace, and in this sense become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). Though talk of deification sounds alarming to many evangelicals, the difference is largely one of emphasis. Orthodoxy has maintained a focus on the union of the three persons in God, the union of deity and humanity in Christ, the union of Christ and the church (central in the NT, e.g., John 14:18–24; 17:20–23; Eph. 1:3–14), and the union of the Holy Spirit and the saints. In contrast, the West has often emphasized the juridical aspects of doctrine, such as the doctrines of atonement and justification.

This seems pretty accurate.

Quote
Freedom from Concerns Raised by the Enlightenment
Due to its historical avoidance of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century (with its emphasis on the primacy of reason), Orthodox theology never became preoccupied with unbelieving critical challenges to and revisions of the faith, which in the West have often bred a detached, academic approach to theology divorced from the life of the church. This is evident in Orthodoxy's firm belief in heaven, hell, and the return of Christ—topics that many in the West (esp. among more liberal Protestant groups) have sidelined due to possible embarrassment. There is strong commonality here between evangelicals and the Orthodox.

Exactly.

Quote
Unity of Theology and Piety
In Orthodoxy, the knowledge of God is received and cultivated by prayer and meditation aided by the Holy Spirit, in battle against the forces of spiritual darkness. Therefore, asceticism and monasticism have had a contemplative character in Orthodoxy. By contrast, since the Enlightenment, Western theology has centered in academic institutions, many of them unconnected to the church. Orthodoxy has profoundly integrated liturgy, piety, and doctrine.

I think this much is accurate.

Quote
Agreements between Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy

The ecumenical councils' declarations on the Trinity and Christ show the extensive agreement between Orthodoxy and evangelicalism, despite their disagreement on the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed. Although they have different emphases, Orthodoxy and evangelicalism agree on the Bible's authority, on sin, and on the fall (however, the Orthodox do not accept the specific Augustinian doctrine of original sin). They also agree on Christ's death and resurrection (although the Orthodox regard the atonement more as conquest of death than payment for the penalty of sin), the Holy Spirit, the return of Christ, the final judgment, heaven, and hell.

I think this is a fairly accurate statement on some of the basic beliefs that we share.

Quote
Historically the justification controversy of the Reformation was not an issue in the Eastern church, but there is generally an underlying consensus between the East and several Reformation doctrines in the West. Eastern patristic writers occasionally spoke of salvation as a gift of God's grace, and of faith as a gift of God; the famous Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) attests to Orthodoxy's rejection of good works contributing to justification. In a similar way, there are echoes in the West of something like the Orthodox doctrine of “deification”—which is no more incompatible with justification by faith than are the doctrines of sanctification and glorification.

Historically, the reformation didn't happen from within the context of Orthodoxy. In the council of Jerusalem and the exchange of letters between the Lutherans at Tubingen and the Patriarch Jeremias, Orthodoxy did defend traditional teaching against any heterodox teaching as contact was made.

Quote
Additionally, the Orthodox doctrine of the church resonates with many evangelical concerns. Orthodox opposition to Rome is underlined by Cyprian's stress on the unity of the church, the parity of bishops, and the equality of all church members—a model of the church close to post-Reformation Anglicanism.

Quote
Significant Misunderstandings

Evangelical Misunderstandings of Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy's use of icons (visual representations of Christ and the saints) has bothered evangelicals, who argue that it can easily tend toward idolatry and worship of images of God. However, the Second Council of Nicea (a.d. 787) emphatically denied that icons are worshiped. Following John of Damascus, it distinguished between honor (Gk. proskynēsis) given to saints and icons, and worship (Gk. latreia) owed to the indivisible Trinity alone. Icons are regarded as windows to the spiritual realm, betokening in the church's worship on earth the presence of the saints in heaven. Moreover, the idea of image (Gk. eikon) is prominent in the Bible. The whole creation reveals the glory of God (Ps. 19:1 ff.; Rom. 1:18–20).

It's nice to see someone acknowledge this.

Quote
On Scripture and tradition (the teaching of the church), both sides appeal to both sources. There is an overwhelming biblical emphasis in Orthodox liturgy—the Bible has been translated into the local vernacular wherever Orthodox missionaries have gone—while the Reformation did not ignore tradition but had a high view of the teaching of the church. The issue is not the Bible alone vs. tradition; it is which has the decisive voice, the last word over the other? For evangelicalism, the Bible is unequivocally the Word of God (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16), while all human councils may err, and therefore the Bible must finally judge the tradition that seeks to expound it. For Orthodoxy, however, the decisions of the early church councils and church fathers often function in practice as equal to the Bible in authority.

No. It's more of a question of the role the Holy Spirit plays in guiding the Church, and how faithful the Church has been to handing down the faith as it was received.

I also have a hard time accepting the statement "The issue is not the Bible alone vs. tradition" followed by "it is which has the decisive voice, the last word over the other?", which seems to imply a "vs" relationship.

Quote
Orthodox Misunderstandings of Evangelicalism
The Orthodox confuse the Protestant doctrine of predestination with Islamic fatalism. But the Bible teaches both the absolute sovereignty of God and the full responsibility of man, since God's decrees also take into account the free actions of secondary causes. The Orthodox mistakenly believe that the doctrine of predestination is monothelitism (the heresy that Christ had only his divine will but no human will). The idea that predestination short-circuits the human will is misplaced.

Considering that some (not all) Protestants only accept the doctrines expressed in the councils up to Chalcedon, I think there is a real and in some cases major difference with some groups. Total depravity denies our ability to freely respond to God in a positive way. Irresistable grace denies our ability to freely reject God. Limited atonement denies the ability of some to even be saved. I know these doctrines are not held by all Protestants, but they are held by some and seen by others as not necessarily incompatible with the message of the Gospel.

Quote
Many Orthodox polemicists accuse evangelicals of ignoring the church's part in salvation. However, the classic Protestant confessions attest that the church is integral to the process of salvation, the Christian faith being found in the Bible and taught by the church. Orthodoxy at this point confuses classic Protestantism with the view of later individualist views.

Some do ignore, and some just de-emphasize the role that the Church has.

Quote
Substantive Disagreement

The Eastern Tendency to Downplay the Preaching of God's Word
Largely due to historical events (the depredations of Islam) and despite Orthodoxy's heritage of superlative preaching (Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen), worship in the East is more visual than worship in evangelical churches. Sermons are part of the liturgy, but the focus is as much on the icons and the symbolic movements of the clergy. Gregory of Nyssa stressed God's visible revelation in creation, along with the ambiguity and inadequacy of language.

In the Liturgy, the prayers alone that are said on a weekly basis include the all the basic elements of the Gospel. Combine this with the yearly cycle of feasts, fasts, epistle and gospel readings, commemorated saints and events, and of course sermons covering that day or weeks readings and commemorations, there isn't any room for anything to be left out. Also, the stronger focus on prayer and Communion actually promote more interaction and unity with God.

Quote
The way Calvin resolved this question was to understand the knowledge of God in auditory terms: God's Word must be heard by us in faith. For Calvin, God reveals himself in his Word by the Holy Spirit. In the Word read and proclaimed, God addresses us personally. We cannot see him but we hear him. His verbal revelation is true and reliable, and the preaching, teaching, and meditative study of it comprise the prime channel of God's grace.

A lot of the same people that express the importance of a "personal relationship" with God and "knowing of God and not just about God" are the same people that prefer a stronger focus on the sermon (hearing about God) to a service focused (not just including but focused) on prayer and Communion (offering ourselves to and receiving of God).

Quote
The Relationship between Scripture and Tradition
For Orthodoxy, tradition is a living, dynamic movement, the Bible existing within it and not apart from it. Orthodoxy also believes in biblical authority but as part of a larger whole. Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority.

Basic but accurate.

Quote
The Palamite Doctrine of the Trinity
The influential archbishop of Thessalonica, Gregory Palamas (1296–1359), promoted a distinction, later widely accepted in Orthodoxy, between the unknowable essence (being) of God and his “energies.” But this view has driven a wedge between God in himself and God as he has revealed himself, threatening our knowledge of God with profound agnosticism, since we have no way of knowing whether God is as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. This formulation defies rational discourse, since it tells us that we cannot say anything definitive about who God is, with the result that the Christian life is reduced to noncognitive mystical contemplation. It introduces into God a division, not a distinction.

This is not very accurate.

Quote
The Veneration of Mary and the Saints
Orthodoxy considers it possible, legitimate, and desirable for Christians to ask Mary and other departed saints to intercede with God on their behalf. But neither Jesus nor Paul ever suggest that this is possible or acceptable.

The point is not that request for prayer is made to saints as such, for all Christians ask living saints to intercede with God for them. What evangelicals object to is the belief that departed saints can receive our prayers and so intercede on our behalf. The Bible does not encourage us to put our hope in the prayers of departed saints; it directs our hope to Christ, his return, and the resurrection, not to contact with saints departed (1 Thess. 4:13–18; cf. 1 Samuel 28; 1 Chron. 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:5).

Rev 5:8

Quote
Orthodoxy insists that the incarnation mandates icons of Christ, since God has chosen to reveal himself in human form. Evangelicals are equally emphatic that the second commandment prohibits the use of images in worship, and many think that using icons of Christ as aids to worship oversteps acceptable boundaries in that regard. Both sides claim the other is heretical; Orthodoxy considers evangelicals guilty of Manicheeism, entailing a deficient view of matter, while evangelicals argue that icons of Christ imply a Nestorian abstraction of Christ's humanity. (Manicheeism holds that there are two coequal realities, spirit and matter, which are respectively good and evil. Nestorianism is a heresy that separated Christ's divine and human natures.)

The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Quote
Synergism in Salvation
The East has a vigorous doctrine of free will and an implacable opposition to the Reformed teaching on predestination and the sovereignty of God's grace in Christ. In this aspect, Orthodoxy is farther away from the Reformation than is Rome. The difference in respective weighting of grace and the human will is far-reaching. It entails differing understandings of the extent of human sin and the nature of Christ's work.

The two are  mutually excusive.

Quote
Compared with Rome, How Far Away from Protestantism Is Orthodoxy?

There are ways in which Orthodoxy is closer to classic Protestantism than is Rome. Both were forced into separation from the Roman Church, and both agree in their opposition to the claims of the papacy.

Rome claimed and insisted on exerting authority that was not there over the other patriarchs. I'm not sure, but I think this has been the source of every schism that has happened between east and west.

The Protestants were not "forced" into seperation, they freely left Rome (who rightfully had authority over them). I will add that Luther personally intended reform from within, and not to cause division, even though it happened.

Quote
The structure of Orthodox churches is much closer to that of Reformed churches, especially the Anglican church. The Orthodox recognition of the parity of all believers, and the autonomy and autocephalous nature of local churches, is far closer to Reformed polity than is the Roman hierarchy. Hence, Orthodoxy does not have the same accumulation of authoritative dogmas as Rome. Moreover, the Orthodox stress on the Bible opens up a large commonality of approach.

I don't really see this as being too accurate.

Quote
There are, however, ways in which Orthodoxy is further removed from evangelicalism than is Rome. Protestantism shares the Roman Catholic understanding of the Trinity. Orthodoxy's stance on the filioque controversy, and its distinction between the essence of God and the divine energies, produce a different form of piety.

There is some truth and some misunderstanding here.

Quote
Western faith is centered in Christ; the East's is more focused on the Holy Spirit.

"Glory to Thee, O Christ our God and our Hope, glory to Thee."

"Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us."

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Quote
As Orthodox theologian Kallistos Ware put it, Rome and Protestantism share the same questions, but supply different answers; with Orthodoxy, the questions themselves are different.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 02:06:17 PM »

Well...... I think this is a good effort. Someone at least tried to do their homework, which is an improvement.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2010, 05:22:21 PM »

Dnarmist,


As far as the part you highlighted, I would say that Reformed protestants, if not most protestants in general would take the Roman Catholic position. Meaning, they would see us as the ones splitting with Rome instead of Rome being the one that split from us. If they said that Rome split from us then that would automatically make protestantism null and void.

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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2010, 06:10:05 PM »

Eastern Orthodoxy

Historical Background of Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodoxy consists of a family of churches, largely in countries to the east of Rome, that rejected the authority of the pope and separated from the Roman Catholic Church in a.d. 1054.

That could be taken in the context that we were one Church and then divided (which is true)....
Can the Church ever be divided? Is that an Orthodox position?
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2010, 06:13:27 PM »

Eastern Orthodoxy

Historical Background of Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodoxy consists of a family of churches, largely in countries to the east of Rome, that rejected the authority of the pope and separated from the Roman Catholic Church in a.d. 1054.

That could be taken in the context that we were one Church and then divided (which is true)....
Can the Church ever be divided? Is that an Orthodox position?
I meant in the sense that Rome was in communion with the other Patriarchs, and now is not. I did not mean that in the "branch theory" sense.
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 10:31:16 PM »

And how about the fuzzy math?

 It said that there are 218 million Orthodox ( that's a bit low. Most estimates I have seen are closer to 250, but no matter) and there are a whopping 830 million Protestants.. The problem is that Protestants dont all believe the same thing.  The Orthodox do. So in reality, Orthodoxy is the second largest confession of faith and Protestantism is the third.

?
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2010, 09:32:46 PM »

Well...... I think this is a good effort. Someone at least tried to do their homework, which is an improvement.

They didn't do a very good job though...they seem to think that the Coptic Orthodox Church is part of the Eastern Orthodox Communion (and yet don't mention the Ethiopians/Eritreans, Armenians, or Indians).

As for their calculating 830 million Protestants, I have never understand when people talk about there being so many Protestants.  Yes there probably are that many people who qualify as Protestants, but the problem is that no one who is a Protestant has any real right to say to another Protestant that they believe wrongly, given that they believe everyone can interpret the Bible individually.  It is even worse in the non-denominational Protestant churches, one of which I used to go to.  It was a good church, but the fact that I was going there even after I stopped believing in the Trinity (I had become a Sabellian, though no longer am) and could still take communion (it was a non-denominational church that only required you to have accepted Christ as your Lord, to take communion) proves that you CANNOT talk about Protestantism as a united group like they (and so many others) do.
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2010, 11:37:51 PM »

Western faith is centered in Christ; the East's is more focused on the Holy Spirit.

Dude, seriously??  Huh Angry
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2010, 08:19:10 AM »

Western faith is centered in Christ; the East's is more focused on the Holy Spirit.

Dude, seriously??  Huh Angry

I relayed this one of our catechism teachers yesterday. He basically corroborated what Clarke Charlton has stated and I had seen. Protestants, God bless them, put such an emphasis on God the Son that they almost neglect God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
Not only from a Western perspective but an Eastern one as well, it is impossible to overstate the importance of God the Son, without whom there would be no Salvation, period. However the same can be said for the other two persons of the Trinity as well.
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2010, 08:31:13 AM »

And how about the fuzzy math?

 It said that there are 218 million Orthodox ( that's a bit low. Most estimates I have seen are closer to 250, but no matter) and there are a whopping 830 million Protestants.. The problem is that Protestants dont all believe the same thing.  The Orthodox do. So in reality, Orthodoxy is the second largest confession of faith and Protestantism is the third.

?

Seriously. I think this author searched far and wide for the lowest estimate of OC'ians and the highest estimate of Prot's he could find and took those numbers.

I think a reasonable figure for Orthodox is around 250, and protestant somewhere around 500.
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2010, 11:16:36 AM »

The largest figure I've heard for Protestants is around 600 million. I've never heard over 800 million! It's like they would have to be counting Mormons, JWs, etc. in order to get that high.

This is a slippery slope for Protestants to try to use for an argument. As has already been pointed out, they don't all believe the same things. They differ very widely, because they don't have a sense of the visible unity of the Church. I believe the largest Protestant tradition is the Anglican Communion, which numbers around 90 million, IIRC.

Still, Anglicans disagree on many issues amongst themselves and practice open communion to "all baptized Christians." Other groups that I know of within Protestantism have much less. Southern Baptists claim about 9 million, United Methodists around 7 million, the Prebyterian Church (USA) about 5 million, etc. Of course, these groups have tons of splinter groups (Missionary and Primative Baptists, Free Methodists, Presbyterian Church in America, etc.) with which they disagree and yet also commune. Protestants cannot claim their numbers as the Orthodox (EO and OO) or Roman Catholics can, as they have no sense of the Church as a visible body of believers sacramentally united to each other and to Christ.

I've heard 250-350 million for the Orthodox. The number quoted here does seem a little low. I, as those above, question whether or not that was intentional on behalf of the author.

Also, as a Recovering Calvinist, I used to believe most of what this article says. Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2010, 11:21:32 AM »

Are we sure we are not being prideful and self righteous here? Do we have to demand that a Heterodox Christian agree with everything we say?

I have seen some idiotic criticisms of Orthodox Christianity over the years but I have also some pretty benign, benevolent ones. This appears to be the latter. If you disagree please let me know why.
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2010, 11:16:56 PM »

No doubt they're adding the Anglican communion in those figures of 800mil+. Many anglicans do not even consider themselves as protestants.
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2010, 11:21:07 PM »

Dnarmist,


As far as the part you highlighted, I would say that Reformed protestants, if not most protestants in general would take the Roman Catholic position. Meaning, they would see us as the ones splitting with Rome instead of Rome being the one that split from us. If they said that Rome split from us then that would automatically make protestantism null and void.



Good point. I haven't thought about this before.
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2013, 01:47:06 AM »

Wow, I have to admit, despite a few of the things they got wrong, that was actually pretty level-headed and tolerant compared to some Protestant articles about EO/RC.
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2013, 02:32:41 AM »

At least its better than the answers in genesis article.
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2013, 01:51:27 PM »

Although there are some inaccuracies, the number and severity are significantly lower than I am accustomed to seeing from Evangelical sources.
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2013, 08:03:45 PM »

At least its better than the answers in genesis article.
Which AiG article are you referring to? They had one about the Eastern Orthodox?

Shouldn't they be more concerned about proving dinosaurs in the Bible and getting the funds to build a real Ark?
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2013, 10:10:01 PM »

Which AiG article are you referring to? They had one about the Eastern Orthodox?

Shouldn't they be more concerned about proving dinosaurs in the Bible and getting the funds to build a real Ark?

I'm not sure if this is the one he was referring to, but in the "weak points about the book" section on Fr. Seraphim Rose's book Genesis, Creation, and Early Man:

Quote
The book does not go back quite far enough in history. But since Eastern Orthodoxy was born only in the 4th century (p. 567) and is based on the writings of the eastern ‘Holy Fathers’ since that time, this is not surprising.

[...]

Orthodox beliefs about the Virgin Mary (essentially the same as the Roman Catholic view) being ‘most Holy Mother of God’ and ‘incorruptible’ peek out occasionally (pp. 215, 392, 418). These are contrary to New Testament teaching, and indeed to the teaching of the church leaders in the first few centuries

[...]

in reality EO locates its supreme authority in the writing of the ‘Holy Fathers,’ who were also ‘God-inspired’ (p. 409).

[...]

some of their ideas also led the EOC and RCC away from important doctrines (e. g. the supreme authority of Scripture and justification by faith alone15) and into some very anti-biblical doctrines and practices (e. g. the veneration of icons, saints and Mary), which have kept many in spiritual darkness (as any missionary working in Orthodox countries can attest)
From: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n3/orthodoxy
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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2013, 10:12:42 PM »

You know what is also "anti-biblical", using a single book to build a church on.

And really the 4th century? Hey still older than Protestantism.
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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2013, 10:46:26 PM »

◄  Luke 23:43  ►

New International Version (©1984)
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

It seems to make all the bickering above useless. When we go to judgment , I have faith in no man,dogma or church.They won't be there with me.

Salvation is an unearned gift that no one but God gives. None deserve it.

I am not dismissing the importance of the above as I am saying that we are humbled by God to Grace,Or we are like the other thief who refused his grace.
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2013, 11:02:53 PM »

We should be careful that, in our zeal to promote one idea, we don't cause harm from the other direction, for as Jesus said: "If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea."  

EDIT--I should have addressed this to everyone (myself included)
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2013, 11:11:30 PM »

Yes , I am guilty too, forgive me Lord.

Jesus Christ, son of GOD, HAVE MERCY ON US ALL.
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