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Author Topic: Orthodox versus Catholic versus Protestant versus the Gospel  (Read 3017 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 05, 2011, 03:46:14 PM »

What EXACTLY is the gospel?  What is NECESSARY for salvation?  What is the SIMPLEST statement of Christianity?

Do you HAVE to have the Eucharist?

Do you HAVE to believe in the perpetual viriginity of Mary?

Do you HAVE to have sacraments?

Do you HAVE to have 7 sacarements?

Do you HAVE to be an Eastern Orthodox Church member?

Can a person be saved without the Church (whatever Church means)?


I have attended a few Divine Liturgies and had lunch with an Orthodox priest but I am having problems with what I see as the triumphalism of some Orthodox and how this can be reconciled with the other 25000 Christian denominations.  I, for one, cannot fathom how anybody can be so CERTAIN about a GOD that is beyond human reason. . .

I have gone to some "Cathecumen Classes" and it is more like a Protestant Recovery group than an actual class with educational material and learning involved.  90% of the time is spent bashing Protestants and their music and their lack of incense and lack of history.  It is VERY discouraging . . .

I would like to read and study the Bible more but now I distrust the Bible as it seems all the translations are based on the translators Church affiliations.   And the Eastern Orthodox Church, from what I have gleaned, does not have a very high opinion of Western Christianity, especially Protestants.



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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 04:01:56 PM »

A few things... if at all possible, I would find another parish, if it's really causing that much harm/problems in your spiritual journey. As for what is necessary for salvation, whether you need sacraments and all that, I'd look at it this way. You're deathly (spiritually) ill. You can choose to go to your next door neighbor, who is an RN (Baptist), and might be able to help. Or you can go to the hospital (Orthodox), who have specialists, special equipment, etc. It's your choice. Could you live by just going to your neighbor? Possibly. But why would you take the chance if you know the hospital can do a better job? Might the doctors at the hospital be rude? Yes. Might you have to wait longer than you'd like, or fill out a bunch of annoying paperwork? Possibly. Still, when your life is on the line, I'd go with the best option available. I also find the triumphalism a bit much at times, especially since I'm generally skeptical. On the other hand, I would rather people be forthright with what they believe, that be vague and sugar coat things. Also, fwiw, the Bible I almost always use is a Protestant one (KJV). If I'm told that it translates something poorly or gives the wrong idea, then I explore that possibility. But for the most part it works great for me.
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 04:12:58 PM »

...I'd look at it this way. You're deathly (spiritually) ill. You can choose to go to your next door neighbor, who is an RN (Baptist), and might be able to help. Or you can go to the hospital (Orthodox), who have specialists, special equipment, etc. It's your choice. Could you live by just going to your neighbor? Possibly. But why would you take the chance if you know the hospital can do a better job? Might the doctors at the hospital be rude? Yes. Might you have to wait longer than you'd like, or fill out a bunch of annoying paperwork? Possibly. Still, when your life is on the line, I'd go with the best option available.

I love this analogy, Asteriktos.  Thank you. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 04:46:47 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


but I am having problems with what I see as the triumphalism of some Orthodox and how this can be reconciled with the other 25000 Christian denominations. 

The simple answer, they can't be.  Protestantism/Pentecostalism (and I say this having been raised a sincere and active Missionary Baptism and all the baggage it implies) is by definition a self-directed, splinter movement, which inherently is centrifugal rather than unifying.  It is not us, its them.  Orthodox is not the one making divisions and continual distinctions, we follow ONE form of Christian tradition uniformly across 2000 years with very little change or evolution aside from what is pragmatic.  Our Christianity is not an obstacle it is simply a continuation of the original Christianity.  Protestantism on the other hand, is not guided by adherence to continuity or tradition more so individualism and the power of personalities.  It is by this nature sectarian and divisive, as human personalities are fickle and changing.  This is precisely why Jesus Christ did not found the Church on personalities of the Apostles, but of the Apostolic work itself (ie, the Seven Sacraments and the Holy Tradition).  The Church changes Christians, Christians do not necessarily have any need to change the Church.  This is why there is an irreconcilable gulf between the endless groups of denominational Christianity and with Orthodox.
This should not discredit the sincerity of many Protestants, and we Orthodox have a lot to learn about charity, social service, and community outreach from our Protestant brothers and sisters, but from an Orthodox perspective, Protestantism is doomed to failure because it rejects the Divine Institution of the Seven Sacraments/Mysteries and so is not [part of the New Covenant relationship with God the Father which is through found at its highest form in participation of the Mysteries.  The way the Apostle Paul explains it, the luncheons, charitable works, and good spirited fellowship of the Protestants are sufficient disciplines for "an expression of wisdom in a willful ritual, humility and asceticism, but are not of any value toward the surfeiting of the flesh." (Colossians 2:23)  That is, the spiritual activities of the Protestant churches are great opportunities for voluntary service (willful ritual), charitable living (humility), and self controlled behavior (asceticism) but these things of and by themselves can do absolutely nothing for saving the flesh from sin, which is salvation in Christ Jesus.  Orthodox teaches that these things are all good for humanity, but true salvation and real life can only be found through the Seven Sacraments/Mysteries combined with these kinds of living.  Then, can humanity find real salvation, and only then.  This is the inreconciable gap, because most Protestant churches by definition reject the Divinity of the Sacraments instead claiming them as mere symbols and almost empty rituals, thus they openly reject their salvation (what a shame in my heart and tears this brings me to meditate on Sad )
Quote
I have gone to some "Cathecumen Classes" and it is more like a Protestant Recovery group than an actual class with educational material and learning involved.  90% of the time is spent bashing Protestants and their music and their lack of incense and lack of history.  It is VERY discouraging . . .

That is unfortunate really, and I think the best advice has already been given here, that you should seek another Orthodox parish that is centered on different circumstances and will be more friendly to your own needs.  God has many parishes in the world, because we humans have many different needs, and the Church can fulfill them all, its just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  It is prayer and faith and accepting God's open-door opportunities that bring us to these right places and times where and whenever they are. That being said:

Quote

I would like to read and study the Bible more but now I distrust the Bible as it seems all the translations are based on the translators Church affiliations. 

Please Please Please by all means necessary, keep reading the Bible, particularly the Gospel.  In fact, if you feel this way, ignore the historical and cultural baggage of linguistics and doctrines and theologies and canons and rules and laws and blah blah woof woof.

Just read the Gospels in any translation or version that sings to your heart, and read those red-letter words of Jesus with the sincerity of spirit as if Jesus Christ was there in the room speaking to you.  Don't use your mental imagination as if you were reading a novel, instead, read the Gospels alone with your heart as if your were looking through a dear family photo album..

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 04:57:33 PM »

The simplest statement about what is necessary for salvation? Well, the simplest statement I suppose is, "God." God is necessary for salvation.  

From what I have learned of Orthodoxy thus far, the answer as to what it means to be a Christian is "Theosis." This truth is contained within scripture, but those who do not understand the purpose of tradition (which is not to control men but to protect the true message of LOVE from perversion) do away with that tradition and the context with which we can understand the truth contained within scripture.

At what point does scripture become meaningless words on a page? When the understanding of what those words mean is lost, that's when.

You are right that Orthodoxy is a kind of recovery. Many people describe it as a hospital. Even in the Orthodox Church, people sin. Sin is not a debt to be paid but a sickness that needs healing from God. We are not called to judge sinners but to love them and have compassion. Please do not be discouraged when you see Orthodox people who are not acting out of love. Such behavior is not Orthodoxy. Such behavior is the struggle we all face to achieve theosis.

God bless you. May God guide you in your search for Him.

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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 04:59:26 PM »

I appreciate the responses.

I live in a small town and there is only 1 parish.   My wife goes to the Southern Baptist Church so all of the Protestant bashing is hurtful to me.

I wish the Priest was more like Tom Hopko who speaks often of the mercy of God rather than condemning Catholics and Protestants.

It is terribly disconcerting that there are so many divisions in the Church and I wonder why, if the Eastern Orthodox is THE CHURCH, why they don’t shout this from the rooftops?  

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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 05:18:59 PM »

I'm sorry that the Protestant bashing is hurtful to you. I can understand your feelings, as all of my family members (except my husband, who is agnostic!) are Protestant. Please understand that those who are doing any bashing are themselves likely hurting as well. I myself am guilty of being disrespectful to Protestants at times. It is not easy to let Christ live within us. It is a constant struggle. But I believe there is a way to make a judgment against something, even against Protestantism, out of love.

As for why the Eastern Orthodox doesn't shout from the rooftops, "This is THE CHURCH," I cannot say for sure. But I ask you, did Jesus shout from the rooftops, "I AM GOD"?

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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 05:21:42 PM »

What EXACTLY is the gospel?

The Good News that is the faith of the Apostles carried down through the fundamental doctrine (dogma) and practice of the Orthodox Church.

What is NECESSARY for salvation?

What is necessary for Christian redemption? The Orthodox Faith, essentially. The dogma of the Apostles and the Fathers has to be continued as does their Sacramental life, the fundamental aspects of their prayer/mystical life, and the fundamental aspects of their ethical life.

What is the SIMPLEST statement of Christianity?

It sort of depends on the context. You could say "Christ is Risen", but if that doctrine is being misunderstood and perverted, the simplest statement has to become more elaborate to protect from heresy.

Do you HAVE to have the Eucharist?

Yes, absolutely.

Do you HAVE to believe in the perpetual viriginity of Mary?

Personally, I don't see why anything more than Jesus' conception being virgin should be necessary for our salvation, but I'm sure there are those who would disagree with me.

Do you HAVE to have sacraments?

Yes.

Do you HAVE to have 7 sacarements?

Not necessarily all individuals need all of the 7. For instance, if a child died in infancy, obviously they were never in need of Confession. But the whole body of the Church taken into consideration, yes, all 7 have proven necessary, as perhaps have more than that.

Do you HAVE to be an Eastern Orthodox Church member?

This site is not exclusively EO, so that's a bit of a tricky question.

IMO, to receive Christian redemption, you actually have to be a member of the Oriental Orthodox Church.

Can a person be saved without the Church (whatever Church means)?

Well, first of all, someone can certainly be judged by God as one of His beloved righteous and consequentially restored by Him without having been a member of the Church. But in terms of Christian redemption in this life, no, I do not believe that can be received outside the Church.

but I am having problems with what I see as the triumphalism of some Orthodox

A strict ecclesiology isn't necessarily triumphalism. This mistake is made all too often.
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 05:21:58 PM »

I have gone to some "Cathecumen Classes" and it is more like a Protestant Recovery group than an actual class with educational material and learning involved.  90% of the time is spent bashing Protestants and their music and their lack of incense and lack of history.  It is VERY discouraging . . .

It is a shame that Orthodoxy is often presented this way, but the Church's hand is often forced. So many people, in our Anglophone culture, come to Orthodoxy heavily inculturated and indoctrinated by white-anglo-saxon-protestantism. It can take a lot of work to help these people unlearn what they think they know so that they can be receptive to Orthodoxy.

If, for instance, a Buddhist asked me for a summary of my faith, I'd have no problem into launching into a discussion of theosis and noetic worship. If an evangelical protestant asked me, I'd have to be careful not to offend their sensitivities. This is not in order to manipulate the person -- it is to avoid triggering their "idolatry/paganism/works-righteousness!" radar.

If the catachumen's class doesn't work for you, that's okay. There are other ways of encountering the Orthodox faith. Despite growing up in a cradle Orthodox family, I learnt the basics of the faith from books. Of course, the experience became so much fuller once I became immersed in the liturgical life of the Church.
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 05:25:20 PM »

I live in a small town and there is only 1 parish.   My wife goes to the Southern Baptist Church so all of the Protestant bashing is hurtful to me.

What exactly qualifies as "bashing", in your book? I have heard this claim many times and quite often people are just being oversensitive.

It is terribly disconcerting that there are so many divisions in the Church

That's not how the Orthodox view it. They are not in the Church, so the division from them is not a division in the Church.

and I wonder why, if the Eastern Orthodox is THE CHURCH, why they don’t shout this from the rooftops?  

Because that's a ridiculous manner of evangelism that pretty much no one would pay attention to.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 05:29:41 PM »

I just wish the Orthodox people at the Cathecumen "class" would be silent about other demoninations and Christians.  As my mother says, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

It is certainly not very loving to bad-mouth Protestants espcially when one of the attendee's has a Protestant spouse that is certainly NOT very interested in attending a Church that thinks of her so poorly.


I like this quote I found by an Orthodox Priest:


"It must be admitted that the exclusive claims regarding Christ and the Church are insufferable when proclaimed by haughty souls who would not recognize the virtue of humility if they fell over it. No Orthodox Christian is justified in boasting or presuming that his or her visible membership in the Church is a guarantee of a place at the marriage supper of the Lamb. As much damage to sensitive souls is probably done by presumptuous arrogance on the part of Orthodox believers as is done by all the anti-Christian postmodernist academicians combined.

It must be remembered that it is Jesus Christ alone that judges who is or is not saved. The Bible teaches that not all those in the Church will be saved, but some who are never visibly in the Church are nevertheless near and dear to the Lord. (How many times did Samaritan heretics exhibit saving faith in the Gospels?) Jesus is the exclusive Judge of all. On the last and great day, all human beings who have ever lived will be brought before the Lord for the final Judgment. The Creed of Nicea-Constantinople adequately summarizes the entire Tradition when it says of Jesus, He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead."



I can very much understand that!




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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 05:33:19 PM »

I just wish the Orthodox people at the Cathecumen "class" would be silent about other demoninations and Christians.[/i]
Can you give us a quote or paraphrase so we can understand what you mean?
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 05:36:28 PM »

Different Orthodox Parishes and jurisdictions approach conversion differently. When my family became orthodox we were taught the basics and then placed in a teaching position with very small children and gradually progressed to intermediate and high school church school classes where we had to read the material and present it---it was a great way to deprogram us from our former baggage from the Mormon Church and learn orthodox (true) doctrine. Other priests do it differently but this was most effective for me, my wife,  and my family.

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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2011, 05:43:37 PM »

I like this quote I found by an Orthodox Priest:


"It must be admitted that the exclusive claims regarding Christ and the Church are insufferable when proclaimed by haughty souls who would not recognize the virtue of humility if they fell over it. No Orthodox Christian is justified in boasting or presuming that his or her visible membership in the Church is a guarantee of a place at the marriage supper of the Lamb. As much damage to sensitive souls is probably done by presumptuous arrogance on the part of Orthodox believers as is done by all the anti-Christian postmodernist academicians combined.

It must be remembered that it is Jesus Christ alone that judges who is or is not saved. The Bible teaches that not all those in the Church will be saved, but some who are never visibly in the Church are nevertheless near and dear to the Lord. (How many times did Samaritan heretics exhibit saving faith in the Gospels?) Jesus is the exclusive Judge of all. On the last and great day, all human beings who have ever lived will be brought before the Lord for the final Judgment. The Creed of Nicea-Constantinople adequately summarizes the entire Tradition when it says of Jesus, He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead."



I can very much understand that!

IMO, this quote is full of truth. However it does not justify this

I just wish the Orthodox people at the Cathecumen "class" would be silent about other demoninations and Christians.

statement, because the Orthodox faithful must nonetheless proclaim, in humility, that those outside of their visible confines are not within the Church of Christ.

And beyond that, given that what you are perceiving as uncharitable has not even really been described yet, it's not clear whether they are truly being uncharitable or whether you, like many other who encounter Orthodoxy, are erroneously perceiving Her conservative ecclesiology as "triumphalism". You may be correct in your judgment. You may not. We can't know yet.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2011, 05:47:29 PM »

I go to a Cathecumen class to learn about the Orthodox Faith.

I do not go to a class to hear about the deficiencies is the Protestant Faith.

The funniest part of this all is that I am NOT Protestant; I was a former Roman Catholic . . .
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2011, 05:50:32 PM »

I go to a Cathecumen class to learn about the Orthodox Faith.

I do not go to a class to hear about the deficiencies is the Protestant Faith.

The funniest part of this all is that I am NOT Protestant; I was a former Roman Catholic . . .
Sounds like somebody needs a chill pill. Outrage is never righteous, it's a pleasurable emotional/mental state, like the kind you get from narcotics.
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2011, 05:50:59 PM »

I go to a Cathecumen class to learn about the Orthodox Faith.

I do not go to a class to hear about the deficiencies is the Protestant Faith.

Part of learning about what Orthodoxy is, especially for converts, is learning about how it is different from other confessions. That's just a simple fact that you have to deal with, and acknowledge that, if it is treated in compassion and humility, there really is nothing wrong with it.
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2011, 05:52:08 PM »

I just wish the Orthodox people at the Cathecumen "class" would be silent about other demoninations and Christians.  As my mother says, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

It is certainly not very loving to bad-mouth Protestants espcially when one of the attendee's has a Protestant spouse that is certainly NOT very interested in attending a Church that thinks of her so poorly.

I don't think that it's necessarily a good thing to sit around and bash other Christians, but I am glad that I am talking to the priest myself rather than sitting in a class like yours, because you probably wouldn't be able to stand what I say!

I do feel like my meetings with Father are sort of a "Protestant Recovery" class for Mr. Ismi and I, because while we are learning, we are undoing what I consider the years of spiritual damage that I went through as a Protestant. Do I think that there are Protestants who are Christians? Of course.

That doesn't change the fact that I was "tricked" into being saved, that I was basically forced to speak in tongues, that I went through years feeling like a horrible Christian because I did not ultimately agree with the way they interpreted their doctrine. Women would speak about my dress disparagingly and men in the church thought that they could insult my lifestyle choices and consider it a Godly rebuke. I have had so many people tell me "God has laid this on my heart" and tell me to do something that I had never intended to do. They disparaged art and writings by non-Christians and chose what I kindly refer to as "shallow" books and music (God forbid they read anything by Augustine or Aquinas!) -- and criticized MY reading and music choices!

When I walked into the church, the floodgates opened and I cried when I went back home. After years of disparaging icons and refusing to pray to the Theotokos, I saw for myself that those were GOOD things, not wrong, or in some cases EVIL.

I don't want to spend the rest of my life hating that time in my life. It took me years to get over my upbringing in the RCC and it will take me some time to get over this. Some people (like my husband) may have spent their entire lives in such a church. When we get together with the priest, he can't stop talking about it because he needs that -- he needs address the feelings of guilt for disagreeing with his parents' religious beliefs. He needs to know that those beliefs and ideas he held for many years are right. And he's trying to extract that from the very stifling, narrow upbringing he experienced.

It's probably like a big support group for them. They need to know that they were not wrong for believing what they did, and hearing other people from the same tradition helps affirm that.


That said, perhaps that shouldn't take place DURING the classes? I don't know. I've met former Protestants in my church and we've talked about our lives in the various churches for hours.

Just two cents from my side of the aisle.


EDITED TO ADD: Perhaps this talk is hurtful because you don't think that Orthodoxy is "IT" yet? If you think that Orthodoxy is just another good way to live out the Christian faith, than it might be upsetting to hear people criticize other denominations. I don't necessarily think that only Orthodox are going to heaven (does that makes me a future LIBERAL Orthodox?), but I think that Orthodoxy is IT. For me, if it's not an Orthodox Church...I don't know what else it can be.
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2011, 05:55:01 PM »

Outrage?  More like bafflement.


And I would take a "chill pill" if such a pill did exist.  It is over 90 degrees outside.


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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2011, 08:48:47 PM »

What EXACTLY is the gospel?  What is NECESSARY for salvation?  What is the SIMPLEST statement of Christianity?

(face West)

"Do you unite yourself to Christ?  Do you unite yourself to Christ?  Do you unite yourself to Christ?"

(face East)

"Have you united yourself to Christ?  Have you united yourself to Christ?  Have you united yourself to Christ?"

Unity with Christ is the simplest explanation of the Gospel.

The rest of your questions really aren't helpful for this reason -- all of them seek to reduce the Gospel down by removing things that unite us to Christ.  The Eucharist, the Sacraments, even the Perpetual Virginity of Mary are all things the Church does and confesses to unite us to Christ.  I would say you "don't have to have 7 Sacraments."  We talk about 7 Sacraments, but in reality I don't think most Orthodox limit Sacraments to 7.  We aren't really dogmatic about numbering them, we just want to receive them.

As for the troubles you are having, first my apologies.  There is no place for triumphalism in the Church.  Have you considered speaking to the Priest and letting him know you are offended by what you perceive as Protestant bashing?  It may be that he doesn't realize how this is coming across to you.  Our Priest taught us about essence and energies, person and nature, etc. early on.  In a very fundamental way, but very early on.  He taught us why the Church's piety confesses what we believe, the Liturgy, the Sacraments, the Ecumenical Councils, etc.  Are you getting any of this?
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2011, 09:23:55 PM »

As a Serbian Orthodox Christian ,I never heard, cradle orthodox bashing the Protestants, only there Mother ,The Roman Catholic Church That Got the Bashing [guilty] Grin, Why would we Bash the Offspring, Most if not all had Very Good reason to Flee and reject there Wayword Mother ........ Grin  Can't speak for the converts from protestantism to Orthodox or Catholic to Orthodoxy in bashing the Offspring of Catholicism and even Catholicisim itself.... police
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2011, 03:20:06 AM »


"That doesn't change the fact that I was "tricked" into being saved, that I was basically forced to speak in tongues, (...)"


If you don't mind my asking, do you mean that you were just pretending to be 'speaking in tongues' in order to fit in?

I've always wondered about these people which claim that anyone who doesn't go into a semi-trance and vociferate gobbledy-gook is therefore demonstrably void of the Holy Spirit.

If I were a member of that group and I faked 'talking in tongues' - I think I would feel like part of a huge fraud and that I was living a lie. The effect of this scenario is people driven away from the true Gospel.

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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 10:49:51 AM »

I do not go to a class to hear about the deficiencies is the Protestant Faith.

My observation & experience, FWIW, is that even here, in the Bible Belt, where religion is often default Baptist, an astonishing number of folks have only the vaguest idea of what their particular denomination professes.

(Not having a Baptist or evangelical background myself, I was often quite clueless when it came to their beliefs, which most people seem to think are "normative" for Christianity.)
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 11:02:06 AM »


"That doesn't change the fact that I was "tricked" into being saved, that I was basically forced to speak in tongues, (...)"


If you don't mind my asking, do you mean that you were just pretending to be 'speaking in tongues' in order to fit in?

I've always wondered about these people which claim that anyone who doesn't go into a semi-trance and vociferate gobbledy-gook is therefore demonstrably void of the Holy Spirit.

If I were a member of that group and I faked 'talking in tongues' - I think I would feel like part of a huge fraud and that I was living a lie. The effect of this scenario is people driven away from the true Gospel.

Thanks,

†IC XC†
†NI KA†

Let me put it this way -- I THOUGHT I was speaking in tongues at the time. Today, I don't believe I was. The minute I left the charismatic church and joined a more conservative evangelical church, the tongues stopped -- except for one or two times out of 3 years. Why?

I don't quite know what happened, but I am pretty horrified about it. Part of me attributes it to wanting to fit in. I was in a retreat and everyone started speaking in tongues around me, and suddenly it just started to happen. But I'm not sure. I DO know that fellow members would have a "prayer session" for those who did not speak in tongues and pray over them until the person started to speak in tongues or, more likely, the person PRETENDED to speak in tongues.

Scary stuff.
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2011, 11:09:04 AM »

I do not go to a class to hear about the deficiencies is the Protestant Faith.

My observation & experience, FWIW, is that even here, in the Bible Belt, where religion is often default Baptist, an astonishing number of folks have only the vaguest idea of what their particular denomination professes.
My experience is that in the rural areas, denominational labels only really serve to tell you which mission board your money will be supporting. Otherwise, the religion is more or less the same thing from church to church, with some debate about eternal security. Pentecostals, OTOH, know what they teach, and are not very quiet about their differences.

As for the OP's original concerns, Orthodox triumphalism is why I dropped out of several Orthodox discussion groups. I don't care to hear about how wrong Protestants are anymore. I would like to think that my faith is a little deeper than just feeling better than everyone else. It's probably not, but I would like to think it.
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2011, 11:13:29 AM »

Otherwise, the religion is more or less the same thing from church to church, with some debate about eternal security.

Exactly.
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2011, 05:10:20 PM »

When I left the Protestant world I felt like some "bashing" was going on. But after a while I understood how alien some of the things were to the Orthodox. Now that I look back I have to admit that there is some pretty crazy stuff in the Protestant world. When you were part of it you would do all kinds of things to justify why it was the right way to do things. But once you are no longer immersed in it you kind of see things differently. But for a while I did not want to admit how wrong I was.

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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2011, 03:21:15 AM »

Well Agent, I can understand what you're going through, but you also have to understand that MANY of us have been immensely damaged by Protestantism. I am still learning about Orthodoxy, and I have found the internet and books to be invaluable for information gathering. If you could find an OCA Church, I would think you would find exactly what you need. The first OCA I found (in Birmingham, AL) was very knowledgeable concerning the heresies of Protestantism, but were very loving and sensitive as well; they were also very concerned with preserving the ancient forms of worship from the earliest times of Christianity. Since I moved back to the North, I have found a very similar OCA Church with the same seriousness to serve our Lord and put this into action through love, prayer, and knowledge - praise be to God!

Quote
Let me put it this way -- I THOUGHT I was speaking in tongues at the time. Today, I don't believe I was. The minute I left the charismatic church and joined a more conservative evangelical church, the tongues stopped -- except for one or two times out of 3 years. Why?

I don't quite know what happened, but I am pretty horrified about it. Part of me attributes it to wanting to fit in. I was in a retreat and everyone started speaking in tongues around me, and suddenly it just started to happen. But I'm not sure. I DO know that fellow members would have a "prayer session" for those who did not speak in tongues and pray over them until the person started to speak in tongues or, more likely, the person PRETENDED to speak in tongues.

Scary stuff.

I actually went through a similar experience as you. "Speaking in tongues" is really communing with daemons and you're opening yourself to demonic influences. It's a severe mockery of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I believe, without a doubt, that the "Pentecostals" are praying to an anti-christ (instead of Chirst) demonic force. When you participate in demonism, you open yourself up to the corrupting powers of the Evil One.

When I was living in Australia, I discovered the Bible, thank God, as well as counterfeit Christianity by "evangelical" missionaries. I won't get into all the details, but there were demonic manifestations in my life left over from Islam; my friends thought I needed to be delivered from the spiritual powers of Islam (which I did, but not by them). Without knowing what was coming, they took me to a prayer group and proceeded to pray over me in "tongues". My eyes turned completely black, and I can't describe how I felt really - just that I felt like something foreign entered me- they said that was the "Holy Spirit". I found out they didn't actually exorcise any demons from me, but actually implanted more of them, or made the influence that much worse in my life.

I don't know if this is something I should bring up to a priest or not though. I've pleaded to Christ to directly to remove any outside influences from me, and I have noticed changes since. Although, I know without Orthodox Baptism and the sacraments, I am very vulnerable to to powers of the enemy and the sins of the flesh. So i'm praying and hoping my Priest will Baptize me sooner than later.

I hope I didn't take this thread off-topic, but I just wanted to share an example of why some Orthodox Christians and Catechumens might be strongly against protestantism. Some protestants are victims of false-teachers and shepards, and I pray and hope they will be delivered and lead to the only true Church. Perhaps you should pray for the Orthodox in your parish, and pray that the Holy Spirit will give them, and yourself, a greater love and sensitivity for one another.
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« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2011, 04:20:45 AM »

Steel*Faith, I think you should talk to your priest about this. As far as I know the prayers of exorcism are available to catechumens. The prayers are quite simple and would not make a good hollywood movie.
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« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2011, 09:17:12 AM »

When I left the Protestant world I felt like some "bashing" was going on. But after a while I understood how alien some of the things were to the Orthodox. Now that I look back I have to admit that there is some pretty crazy stuff in the Protestant world. When you were part of it you would do all kinds of things to justify why it was the right way to do things. But once you are no longer immersed in it you kind of see things differently. But for a while I did not want to admit how wrong I was.

Good point.
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2011, 09:41:11 AM »

Steel Faith,

Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum! I hope you will find this a safe forum to get answers, with resources, to help you as you continue your growth in the Holy Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2011, 02:43:43 AM »

What EXACTLY is the gospel?  What is NECESSARY for salvation?  What is the SIMPLEST statement of Christianity?  

    Orthodoxy doesn't work that way.  I guess the Gospel in Orthodoxy is not much different from how the Gospel would be articulated in mainline Protestant denominations or Catholicism- The Kingdom of God, a new way of authentic life, revealed and empowerd through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  The whole emphasis on what is necessary assumes a medieval western view of God as a judge who is looking to punish sinners, thus a formula of things must be done to measure up and slide through (Catholic rigorists or Protestant Scholastics would come to mind here).  Orthodoxy is focused on salvation as healing.  Its not so much a question of "how little must one do to be saved" at all, because salvation means something very different here- salvation is a change in the person away from spiritual death to life.

Quote
 I have gone to some "Cathecumen Classes" and it is more like a Protestant Recovery group than an actual class with educational material and learning involved.  90% of the time is spent bashing Protestants and their music and their lack of incense and lack of history.  It is VERY discouraging . . .  

  If this is true, find another church to go to.  That atmosphere is spiritually toxic. Misrepresentation of what is and is not Protestantism is not honest  (Protestantism is very diverse, there are plenty of protestant churches that have worship styles comparable to Orthodox churches in terms of dignity, or have an apprecation for tradition and early Church Fathers).  In addition, defining yourself by what you are not, is not healthy.  One shouldn't join a church simply because they are running away from what they see as errors. Now, if simple comparisons can be made for the sake of instruction, some forgiveness should be extended for hasty and quick generalizations.  

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« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2011, 10:56:28 AM »

As a Serbian Orthodox Christian ,I never heard, cradle orthodox bashing the Protestants, only there Mother ,The Roman Catholic Church That Got the Bashing [guilty] Grin, Why would we Bash the Offspring, Most if not all had Very Good reason to Flee and reject there Wayword Mother ........ Grin  Can't speak for the converts from protestantism to Orthodox or Catholic to Orthodoxy in bashing the Offspring of Catholicism and even Catholicisim itself.... police

I think I get your logic ... from your point of view, Protestants had very good reasons to break away from the church.

But, if I remember my history correctly, some of the reformers approached the Eastern Orthodox and were rebuffed. How do you explain that?
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« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2011, 11:09:52 AM »

I think I get your logic ... from your point of view, Protestants had very good reasons to break away from the church.

But, if I remember my history correctly, some of the reformers approached the Eastern Orthodox and were rebuffed. How do you explain that?

Aside from natural barriers like language and distance, the Protestant emissaries wanted to believe what they wanted to believe, rather than what the Church had historically taught.
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« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2011, 11:26:01 AM »

Those of us who converted to Orthodoxy from a non-Christian background, at least in the West, are a little bit out of luck when it comes to catechetical materials. Most of the converts are coming from Christian, especially Protestant, backgrounds and there is a tendency to assume that newcomers have been through a bunch of different churches already.
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« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2011, 03:39:48 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


 The whole emphasis on what is necessary assumes a medieval western view of God as a judge who is looking to punish sinners, thus a formula of things must be done to measure up and slide through (Catholic rigorists or Protestant Scholastics would come to mind here).  Orthodoxy is focused on salvation as healing.


Post of the Month.

stay blessed,
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« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2011, 09:19:54 AM »

I appreciate the responses.

I live in a small town and there is only 1 parish.   My wife goes to the Southern Baptist Church so all of the Protestant bashing is hurtful to me.

I wish the Priest was more like Tom Hopko who speaks often of the mercy of God rather than condemning Catholics and Protestants.

It is terribly disconcerting that there are so many divisions in the Church and I wonder why, if the Eastern Orthodox is THE CHURCH, why they don’t shout this from the rooftops?  



Is there another parish in a different town?  Seriously, having a EO parish in your town in a luxury.  Most people travel quite a bit to get to church.  Keep looking if this one isn't working for you.

It  sounds like your priest is a convert...maybe even a fairly new convert.  Perhaps they have been very hurt by their previous experience. Its hard to tell... but  I wouldn't hesitate to say something. It is not good for their souls to be constantly critical of other traditions, however legitimate that may be.  One cannot be Orthodox by being Anti-whatever.
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« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2011, 10:12:38 AM »

As a Serbian Orthodox Christian ,I never heard, cradle orthodox bashing the Protestants, only there Mother ,The Roman Catholic Church That Got the Bashing [guilty] Grin, Why would we Bash the Offspring, Most if not all had Very Good reason to Flee and reject there Wayword Mother ........ Grin  Can't speak for the converts from protestantism to Orthodox or Catholic to Orthodoxy in bashing the Offspring of Catholicism and even Catholicisim itself.... police

I think I get your logic ... from your point of view, Protestants had very good reasons to break away from the church.

But, if I remember my history correctly, some of the reformers approached the Eastern Orthodox and were rebuffed. How do you explain that?

They were rebuffed because they were trying to get the Orthodox to accept their Protestant beliefs.

See: http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/jeremiah.aspx
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