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Author Topic: How to View the Non-Orthodox (Father Seraphim Rose)  (Read 5081 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: March 14, 2011, 07:29:36 PM »

THE PROPER VIEW OF NON-ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS

By Father Seraphim Rose

I firmly believe that this is indeed what Orthodoxy teaches about our attitude towards non-Orthodox Christians:

1. Orthodoxy is the Church founded by Christ for the salvation of mankind, and therefore we should guard with our life the purity of its teaching and our own faithfulness to it. In the Orthodox Church alone is grace given through the sacraments (most other churches don’t even claim to have the sacraments in any serious sense). The Orthodox Church alone is the Body of Christ, and if salvation is difficult enough within the Orthodox Church, how much more difficult must it be outside the Church!

2. However, it is not for us to define the state of those who are outside the Orthodox Church. If God wishes to grant salvation to some who are Christians in the best way they know, but without ever knowing the Orthodox Church – that is up to Him, not us. But when He does this, it is outside the normal way that He established for salvation – which is the Church, as part o f the Body of Christ. I myself can accept the experience of Protestants being “born-again” in Christ; I have met people who have changed their lives entirely through meeting Christ, and I cannot deny their experience just because they are not Orthodox. I call these people “subjective” or “beginning” Christians. But until they are united to the Orthodox Church they cannot have the fullness of Christianity, they cannot be objectively Christian as belonging to the Body of Christ and receiving the grace of the sacraments. I think this is why there are so many sects among them- they begin the Christian life with a genuine conversion to Christ, but they cannot continue the Christian life in the right way until they are untied to the Orthodox Church, and they therefore substitute their own opinions and subjective experiences for the Church’s teaching and sacraments.
   
About those Christians who are outside the Orthodox Church, therefore, I would say: they do not yet have the full truth. Perhaps it just hasn’t been revealed to them yet, or perhaps it is our fault for not living and teaching the Orthodox Faith in a way they can understand. With such people we cannot be one in the Faith, but there is no reason why we should regard them as totally estranged or as equal to pagans (although we should not be hostile to pagans either- they also haven’t yet seen the truth!). It is true that many of the non-Orthodox hymns contain a teaching or at least an emphasis that is wrong- especially the idea that when one is “saved” he does not need to do anything more because Christ has done it all. This idea prevents people from seeing the truth of Orthodoxy which emphasizes the idea of struggling for one’s salvation even after Christ has given it to us, as St. Paul says: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” [Philippians 2:12] But almost all of the religious Christmas carols are all right, and they are sung by Orthodox Christians in America (some of them even in the strictest monasteries!).

The word “heretic” is indeed used too frequently nowadays. It has a definitive meaning and function, to distinguish new teachings form Orthodox teaching; but few of the non-Orthodox Christians today are consciously “heretics,” and it really does no good to call them that. Among Western converts to Orthodoxy there is indeed a temptation to speak too freely of “heresy” and “heretics,” and to make the errors of the non-Orthodox an excuse for a certain pharisaic smugness about our own Orthodoxy. Even when it is worded in a theologically correct manner, this attitude is spiritually wrong and helps to drive away from the Orthodox Church many who would otherwise be attracted to it.

In the end, we should view the non-Orthodox as people to whom Orthodoxy has not yet been revealed, as people who are potentially Orthodox (if only we ourselves would give them a better example!). There is no reason why we cannot call them Christians and be on good terms with them, recognizing that at least we have our faith in Christ in common, and live in peace especially with our own families. A harsh, polemical attitude is called for only when the non-Orthodox are trying to take away our flocks or change our teaching.


                                           Father Seraphim Rose



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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2011, 07:35:38 PM »

Holy Father Seraphim, pray for us sinners!
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 07:55:53 PM »

Fr. Seraphim of Platina.

Again, with all the corrections made around here regarding appropriate reference to titles and the like, why do so many here refer to a monastic by his last name and are not corrected?

Am I wrong that monastics are not to be referred to by their last name (outside of obvious circumstances) or use their last name after being tonsured?

Thanks.
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 07:57:05 PM »

To the post, nice.

Thanks Gebre!
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 09:15:49 PM »

absolutely amazing Sad these words warm my heart
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 09:25:28 PM »

Thank you for this loving post.

It absolutely just made my day.
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 10:54:58 PM »

This is wonderful, thanks for posting it.

Father Seraphim, pray for us. +
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 10:55:22 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2011, 10:59:06 PM »

oh no, not that crazy foaming at the mouth fundamentalist Fr. Seraphim aaaaaah!!!!!!
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 03:10:31 AM »

Source, please.
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 12:26:09 PM »

Source, please.

Seems to come from "To Barry", The Life of Seraphim Rose.

By googling: "THE PROPER VIEW OF NON-ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS" seraphim, I got a few hits. One of which sourced part of the text above:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/fsr_84.aspx
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 10:27:58 PM »

Source, please.

I copied it from pages 809-811 in Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works


Selam
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Holy Father Seraphim, Pray to God for us!


« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 11:49:05 PM »

Holy Father Seraphim Pray for us!+
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2011, 07:29:07 AM »

oh no, not that crazy foaming at the mouth fundamentalist Fr. Seraphim aaaaaah!!!!!!

What's wrong with the passage?  Huh
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2011, 04:30:53 PM »

^ Your sarcasmeter must have been turned off  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2011, 09:41:52 PM »

Good golly! Something from Fr. Rose I can agree with!
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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2011, 01:21:05 AM »

^ Your sarcasmeter must have been turned off  Wink

oh...haha....i think i get it now  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 10:34:48 AM »

Great article Smiley

Almost all my Christian friends are non-orthodox. I need to share my faith with Anglicans and Catholics on a daily basis. If I was too stubborn and dogmatic they would think that Orthodoxy was a bad thing, but if I share my faith with love, patience and kindness they listen.
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2011, 11:43:13 AM »

oh no, not that crazy foaming at the mouth fundamentalist Fr. Seraphim aaaaaah!!!!!!

What's wrong with the passage?  Huh
It's pro-Darwinism. Wink
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2011, 04:03:52 PM »

oh no, not that crazy foaming at the mouth fundamentalist Fr. Seraphim aaaaaah!!!!!!

What's wrong with the passage?  Huh
It's pro-Darwinism. Wink
I see what you did there! Grin
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2011, 06:27:33 AM »

St. Seraphim, pray for me a sinner (even though I am Roman.)

All Christians, because of sin, possess an incomplete knowledge of faith.  While the Roman Church and Orthodoxy are still at loggerheads over who is the Church of Christ, we are all sinners despite the anathemas.

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« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2011, 07:06:41 AM »

He wrote a fabulous book "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future" which deals with a lot of dangerous "New Age" stuff
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« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2011, 10:21:30 PM »

I love this article.  This brings me to a question I have had for some time. 

Recently some lovely women have been visiting me.  Guess who they are?  Jehovah's Witnesses...  I say lovely, because they are intelligent (one, a retired college professor, the other a young engineer), kind women, doing what they truly believe is right.  I have had discussions with them and pointed out the differences between their faith and true Christianity -- first of all, their lack of belief in the true divinity of Christ our Savior, and in the Trinity. 

I have noticed that now, they drive to my home, which is at the top of a hill, and they do not visit any of my neighbors.  I know this is because they have tried to speak to them and have been given the boot!  

Somehow, I feel called to talk to them and to try to interest them in the true Gospel, but I know that they do not wish (at least for now) to be taught anything, but to teach me the "errors" in my beliefs.  By the grace of God, I see their errors very clearly, and it is very scary to see people so dedicated to untruth.  I have done some reading about the Jehovah's Witnesses and have found the "religion" to be of a truly cultic nature and filled with heresies. 

I have gathered some Orthodox materials to give them, and I think this writing by Father Seraphim Rose would be excellent to give them as well.  I know that they are told not to accept literature from people they speak to, but I will offer it to them anyway.  This may end their visits to me, but at least I will have tried to plant some seed of truth in them. 

The last line of Father Seraphim's essay says, "A harsh, polemical attitude is called for only when the non-Orthodox are trying to take away our flocks or change our teaching."  Obviously, they wish to take me away from our flock.  I do not wish to be polemic with them, but to do what I can to plant some seed so that possibly the Holy Spirit may guide them to the truth.   

Please let me know what you think of this. 

In Christ,
Alicia
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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2011, 08:54:43 PM »

Alicia,

I would do what you're doing only if I was grounded in my faith and have a good enough knowledge of apologetics.  Not saying that I don't know what I believe, because I do.  However, many people are easily led astray by such groups especially when they have not been properly catechized.
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2011, 10:01:31 PM »


I love this article.  This brings me to a question I have had for some time. 

Recently some lovely women have been visiting me.  Guess who they are?  Jehovah's Witnesses...  I say lovely, because they are intelligent (one, a retired college professor, the other a young engineer), kind women, doing what they truly believe is right.  I have had discussions with them and pointed out the differences between their faith and true Christianity -- first of all, their lack of belief in the true divinity of Christ our Savior, and in the Trinity. 

I have noticed that now, they drive to my home, which is at the top of a hill, and they do not visit any of my neighbors.  I know this is because they have tried to speak to them and have been given the boot!  

Somehow, I feel called to talk to them and to try to interest them in the true Gospel, but I know that they do not wish (at least for now) to be taught anything, but to teach me the "errors" in my beliefs.  By the grace of God, I see their errors very clearly, and it is very scary to see people so dedicated to untruth.  I have done some reading about the Jehovah's Witnesses and have found the "religion" to be of a truly cultic nature and filled with heresies. 

I have gathered some Orthodox materials to give them, and I think this writing by Father Seraphim Rose would be excellent to give them as well.  I know that they are told not to accept literature from people they speak to, but I will offer it to them anyway.  This may end their visits to me, but at least I will have tried to plant some seed of truth in them. 

The last line of Father Seraphim's essay says, "A harsh, polemical attitude is called for only when the non-Orthodox are trying to take away our flocks or change our teaching."  Obviously, they wish to take me away from our flock.  I do not wish to be polemic with them, but to do what I can to plant some seed so that possibly the Holy Spirit may guide them to the truth.   

Please let me know what you think of this. 

In Christ,
Alicia

I think this is a good idea. Offer them literature with words from the Fathers and information about the true apostolic Faith. If they refuse to take the literature, then politely but firmly tell them that there is really nothing more to talk about. Tell them you will pray for them, and that if they ever wish to learn about Orthodoxy, you will be glad to offer them more information. And of course, invite them to your Church.

Selam
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"If we are unwilling to accept any truth that we have not first discovered and declared ourselves, we demonstrate that we are interested not in the truth so much as in being right." ~ Thomas Merton ~
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