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Author Topic: How do Orthodox Christians evangalize Protestants?  (Read 1676 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 22, 2011, 03:27:59 PM »

After watching that "I'm a Pentecostal" video, I think the biggest hurdle to get back to the true faith is pride. What would be some Orthodox ways to show people the ancient tradition? Do we prove that the Bible is not infallible? I'm not sure how to approach this or do Orthodox not bother prostelyzing other people?
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2011, 03:34:45 PM »

I wouldn't say that we believe the Bible is not infallible. I would say that we believe that some passages of the Bible are intended by God to be read allegorically. Otherwise, they will instantly think we are theological liberals (think Bishop Spong).

I am not sure I have figured out the "formula" but what I have been doing is meeting as many Protestant church planters as possible for coffee or preferably beer (the younger ones are usually not teetotalers) and I am trying to establish one-on-one relationships.  I let them do most of the talking, but make occasional comparisons. We'll see where the Holy Spirit takes us.  I'll report back in 3-5 years with the results Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 06:13:14 PM »

Being a former Protestant myself, the biggest thing for me was finally addressing history. Because once you see what the earliest Christians believed you can't remain a Protestant for much longer.

The Protestant viewpoint is inverted, meaning they start from today and work backwards rather than starting from "ground zero" (e.g. Pentecost) and moving from there to today. From their view, it's only natural to be a Sola Scripturist, because they don't have an historically rooted understanding of their faith. They approach Christianity as a belief system, a set of doctrines and theoretical positions, rather than a mystical communion with Christ in His Church. This affects everything. And thus, this false foundation is what has to be addressed first.

Ask questions like, "Have you ever read or studied the beliefs and teachings of the earliest Christians?" Or, "Have you ever examined the claims of the Orthodox Church to be the living Church as described in the New Testament?"

My advice is to get a firm understanding of the early Church's situation, what they believed, what they taught, how they prayed and worshipped, etc. Find a way to tell this in a compelling way so that they can see why Orthodoxy makes the most sense out of the historical story of Christianity. Even have them try to do it. Say something like, "So, tell me the story of the Church, as you understand it, from Pentecost to today." Then you can tell the Orthodox story.

Chances are, many of them haven't studied it much and aren't aware of the Orthodox self-understanding. Giving them the true historical story of the Church will be the best thing you can do.
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 06:55:25 PM »

Sleeper, wise post and it's appreciated. I must ask you is it wrong to say that Orthodoxy is nothing less but having a relationship with God?

But yes you are right, as soon as you start going back into history especially the question: "well if the Bible wasn't formed until 300+ years after Christ's death, how did the early questions worship then since they had no Bible to rely on?" it's vital I think. I have a pretty good grasp on the historicity of the early Church, I think it's easy to bring an overview to someone.

One of the hardest aspects I think for protestants is having the term "priest" and "confession" used, because since they don't really like the Catholic approach it will be a turn off to them. So I think it's important the role of Orthodoxy regarding priests and confession, the Eucharist, etc. How the sacraments work as a theurapuetic system.

Like you said once you stumble upon what the early Christians believe, you really can't be a Protestant anymore. I know I couldn't.
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 07:06:25 PM »

After watching that "I'm a Pentecostal" video, I think the biggest hurdle to get back to the true faith is pride. What would be some Orthodox ways to show people the ancient tradition? Do we prove that the Bible is not infallible? I'm not sure how to approach this or do Orthodox not bother prostelyzing other people?

Let the fruits of the spirit shine through you.
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 08:38:33 PM »


I wouldn't say that we believe the Bible is not infallible. I would say that we believe that some passages of the Bible are intended by God to be read allegorically. Otherwise, they will instantly think we are theological liberals (think Bishop Spong).

I am not sure I have figured out the "formula" but what I have been doing is meeting as many Protestant church planters as possible for coffee or preferably beer (the younger ones are usually not teetotalers) and I am trying to establish one-on-one relationships.  I let them do most of the talking, but make occasional comparisons. We'll see where the Holy Spirit takes us.  I'll report back in 3-5 years with the results Smiley

I agree with this approach Father. I will pray for your efforts to bear fruit. I'm sure they will!

As a former Evangelical, I tend to try to "fight fire with fire." In other words, since the Evangelicals consider prosyletizing such a huge part of their "relationship with God," then I think it is good to show them that we are not timid, afraid, or ashamed to proclaim the TRUE Christian Faith. Of course we should strive to be humble and loving in our efforts, but we shouldn't let them think that we aren't able to defend our Faith. In fact, apologetics is huge part of the Evangelical movement; so if we are able to articulate the authenticity of the Apostolic Faith then we can persuade them. Also, I think all Orthodox Christians should strive to be more well-versed in the Scriptures than the Evangelicals. And of course, one of the primary arguments should always be the issue of Christian Authority. There really is no way around the fact that apart from the guidance of the Church, all biblical interpretation is ulitmately subjective and individualistic. The proliferation of Protestant sects and cults is evidence of this.

But most of all, let us be loving and prayerful. And let us never become "Amway salesmen" in our Orthodox evangelistic endeavors.

Selam 
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2011, 10:20:03 AM »

Live a visibly Orthodox life.

Invite them to Liturgy.

That's pretty much all it took to draw us in (over time, of course).   Smiley


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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 05:23:16 PM »

Sleeper, wise post and it's appreciated. I must ask you is it wrong to say that Orthodoxy is nothing less but having a relationship with God?

But yes you are right, as soon as you start going back into history especially the question: "well if the Bible wasn't formed until 300+ years after Christ's death, how did the early questions worship then since they had no Bible to rely on?" it's vital I think. I have a pretty good grasp on the historicity of the early Church, I think it's easy to bring an overview to someone.

One of the hardest aspects I think for protestants is having the term "priest" and "confession" used, because since they don't really like the Catholic approach it will be a turn off to them. So I think it's important the role of Orthodoxy regarding priests and confession, the Eucharist, etc. How the sacraments work as a theurapuetic system.

Like you said once you stumble upon what the early Christians believe, you really can't be a Protestant anymore. I know I couldn't.

Those are some of the questions that got me. When I started "working" from Pentecost and going forward, that was it for me. Protestantism bit the dust, fast and hard. When confronted with the historicity of the Orthodox Church, it's hard to make an argument from my ~500 years of history...and I was a classical Protestant who knew his roots...many Protestant traditions don't even have that long of a history!

That, and of course, the majesty of the Liturgy. Even when I was totally Protestant, I thought the Orthodox knew how to worship...even if they were all wrong. Tongue lol.

As far as terms like "priest" and "confession" are concerned, it's proper to explain the understanding of these terms, as they most likely have a distorted view of what Roman Catholics believe, which menas that don't have a clue what the Orthodox believe! Explain that the term "priest" comes directly from the biblical "presbyter" and that "bishop" comes from the biblical "episcopes." I felt betrayed by my up-bringing when I learned that one!

And then I had no problems with confession when I understood that the confession was made before an icon of Christ, to Christ, and that the priest stood as a witness. I think, for all of these things, the objections come from a misunderstanding of a communion which is outside of Orthodoxy. With a little education, a little history, I think Protestants will usually come around, given enough time and persistence.

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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2011, 05:02:13 AM »

After watching that "I'm a Pentecostal" video, I think the biggest hurdle to get back to the true faith is pride. What would be some Orthodox ways to show people the ancient tradition? Do we prove that the Bible is not infallible? I'm not sure how to approach this or do Orthodox not bother prostelyzing other people?

Just be yourself, and when put on the spot just pray and do the best that you can. And if you don't know just say that you don't know. And if you can try and get back to them once you do know. But just be yourself.

I think for different groups there may be different ways to go about it. But just be you.
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2011, 05:56:45 PM »

After watching that "I'm a Pentecostal" video, I think the biggest hurdle to get back to the true faith is pride. What would be some Orthodox ways to show people the ancient tradition? Do we prove that the Bible is not infallible? I'm not sure how to approach this or do Orthodox not bother prostelyzing other people?

Just be yourself, and when put on the spot just pray and do the best that you can. And if you don't know just say that you don't know. And if you can try and get back to them once you do know. But just be yourself.

I think for different groups there may be different ways to go about it. But just be you.

Unless you're a jerk. Then don't be you, be someone you're not: a nice guy. But no one in this thread seems like a jerk, so it's all good!  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2011, 06:59:58 PM »

After watching that "I'm a Pentecostal" video, I think the biggest hurdle to get back to the true faith is pride. What would be some Orthodox ways to show people the ancient tradition? Do we prove that the Bible is not infallible? I'm not sure how to approach this or do Orthodox not bother prostelyzing other people?

I've tried talking with many Protestants on YouTube about the Orthodox Church, but whenever you try to bring up any kind of Catholic Christianity they always look at the Roman Catholic Church and their heresies.

The Roman Catholic Church has given any Church of ancient tradition a bad name to the Protestants. It started with Luther, so its like talking with a multitude of Martin Luthers  laugh
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 03:14:09 AM »

After watching that "I'm a Pentecostal" video, I think the biggest hurdle to get back to the true faith is pride. What would be some Orthodox ways to show people the ancient tradition? Do we prove that the Bible is not infallible? I'm not sure how to approach this or do Orthodox not bother prostelyzing other people?

Just be yourself, and when put on the spot just pray and do the best that you can. And if you don't know just say that you don't know. And if you can try and get back to them once you do know. But just be yourself.

I think for different groups there may be different ways to go about it. But just be you.

Unless you're a jerk. Then don't be you, be someone you're not: a nice guy. But no one in this thread seems like a jerk, so it's all good!  Grin


Hey, even if you're a jerk......still be you. Just try and learn from others that you may be a jerk and try and grow out of it if one can, but I found it more natural and easier to just be oneself.......with flaws and all!

I tend to learn better through trial and error, but for someone else it may be different.
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 03:19:32 AM »

Ukrainian women.

Two guys I knew converted to get married.
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 08:04:14 PM »

I think, too, that most non-Orthodox don't understand who the Orthodox are, that it's for the Greeks or Russians. If they knew that it's made up of Americans here they would look into it, especially as they become dissatisfied with their own churches. We need better PR!
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 11:35:54 PM »

If I can speak from my own experience. I am presently a United Methodist pastor, but have felt drawn toward Orthodoxy for many years. I can say that all along the way, in my engagement with priests and laity, what has always been helpful for me is how I have never felt like I was being put down. The Orthodox I have related to have helped me feel at ease. They have been clear about what they believe, have encouraged me to continue to read, to pray, to come to liturgies when I can. I feel I have been treated as a believer who needs a fuller understanding.

But I also have to say that the draw toward Orthodoxy is of the Holy Spirit. This is the originating source. The people I have related to in Orthodoxy have been wonderful vessels. But none of them have "opened my eyes" or played a part in drawing me in. I was already being drawn and I just happened to run into these priests and laity, who have become my friends.
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2011, 05:27:12 AM »

If I can speak from my own experience. I am presently a United Methodist pastor, but have felt drawn toward Orthodoxy for many years. I can say that all along the way, in my engagement with priests and laity, what has always been helpful for me is how I have never felt like I was being put down. The Orthodox I have related to have helped me feel at ease. They have been clear about what they believe, have encouraged me to continue to read, to pray, to come to liturgies when I can. I feel I have been treated as a believer who needs a fuller understanding.

But I also have to say that the draw toward Orthodoxy is of the Holy Spirit. This is the originating source. The people I have related to in Orthodoxy have been wonderful vessels. But none of them have "opened my eyes" or played a part in drawing me in. I was already being drawn and I just happened to run into these priests and laity, who have become my friends.


Thank you brother. I am afraid that I have often failed to be humble and loving in my critiques of Protestantism. Your words encourage me to be more careful in the future.

Pray for me a sinner.

Selam
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2011, 08:40:39 AM »

 I believe we need to focus our evangelistic efforts on the non-Christian (Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Jew). I have no problem ssharing faith among the inquirerers, even those who have decoided before I open my mouth that I will spew lies:

1 Peter 3:
 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 

     So again I will share my testimony with any Protestant who thinks to ask, and pray that I do so well and with love.  That said, why don't we evangelize the heathen (not meant to be a pejorative, just a description) and reserve proselytizing among Protestants to response and church planting?

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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2011, 10:31:20 AM »

Could a basic approach for us in the laity to try to convey a greater hope of salvation for potentially anyone & no one in particular (so as not to assume our own)  but also realizing a greater risk of peril to those outside the church? Conveying the balance of works as our duties within our faith rather than this chicken or egg type debate that seems evident in much of western Christianity? Could not much of this be resolved by scipturally literate laity to at least provide a gateway to the faith and then our clergy can properly reiterate what a layperson may communicate, proceed to particulars like the 7 ecum. coucils, the icons, the saints, etc.?

I really believe that other Christians, non Christians etc. are looking for basic answers & if these can be conveyed then many non Orthodox  may not be ready to be so edgy re icons, the saints, etc. and be receptive to a layperson who can convey the faith in ways familiar to basic western concepts while avoiding rationalism, wreckless eclectic tendencies, compromise etc.  (like St. Paul perhaos?)This is within the scope of America only that I speak.
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