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Author Topic: "are you born again?"  (Read 2739 times) Average Rating: 0
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Victoria
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« on: August 25, 2011, 04:40:07 PM »

how do you respond if you are asked if you are "born again"? This comes after I had to hear my mother in law talk about how some members of her evangelical church used to be catholic became "born again". I'm not sure how to respond if someone asks me that "are you born again christian?
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 04:44:37 PM »

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


One must be born again to be in Christ. Smiley Correct me if I'm wrong... We are born again in baptism.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 04:46:36 PM »

Quote
Priest: (inaudibly) Let us pray to the Lord. O compassionate and merciful God, Who tries the heart and reigns, and Who alone knows the secrets of men, for no deed is secret in Your sight, but all things are exposed and naked in Your eyesight: do You Yourself, Who perceives that which concerns me, neither turn away Your face from me, but overlook my offenses in this hour, O You that overlook the sins of men that they repent.

Wash away the defilement of my body and the stain of my soul. Sanctify me wholly by Your all-effectual, invisible might, and by Your spiritual right hand, lest, by preaching liberty to others, and offering this in the perfect faith of Your unspeakable love for humankind, I may be condemned as a servant of sin. Nay, Sovereign Master that alone are good and loving, let me not be turned away humbled and shamed, but send forth to me power from on high, and strengthen me for the ministration of this Your present, great, and most heavenly Mystery.

Form the Image of Your Christ in him (her) who is about to be born again through my humility. Build him (her) on the foundation of Your Apostles and Prophets. Cast him (her) not down, but plant him (her) as a plant of truth in Your Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Pluck him (her) not out, that, by) his (her) advancing in piety, by the same may be glorified 1 Your Most Holy Name, of Father, and of Son, and of Holy  Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

From the The Service of Holy Baptism

We're born again in baptism. That's how Orthodox interpret John 3:5, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 04:51:52 PM »

Once was traumatizing enough for me.  I have no desire to be born again.
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 05:00:33 PM »

well, what I'm trying to find out how to respond if evangelicals ask me that question-the response seem to be"yes, I'm born again. All of us become born again through baptism". Is that correct?
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 05:18:06 PM »

Or if it's a litmus test, maybe just say "yes".  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 05:23:42 PM »

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


One must be born again to be in Christ. Smiley Correct me if I'm wrong... We are born again in baptism.

And constantly being renewed through repentance.
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 05:29:35 PM »

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


One must be born again to be in Christ. Smiley Correct me if I'm wrong... We are born again in baptism.

And constantly being renewed through repentance.

Amen!
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2011, 05:47:41 PM »

If you want interesting conversation say something like, "And what exactly do you mean by that?", or "Yes I am, I am an Orthodox Christian."   Grin
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2011, 06:54:18 PM »

If you want interesting conversation say something like, "And what exactly do you mean by that?", or "Yes I am, I am an Orthodox Christian."   Grin

LOL.

Yes, in my experience, that's an interesting way to take things! Another one of my favs is "Are you saved?" My usual answer? "I'm working on it!"

Usually this line of questioning is hinting at the person being a believer in decision theology. That is, one must make a one-time decision for Christ, usually involving the "sinner's prayer" in which one acknowledges their sinful state and Christ's death (and sometimes resurrection, but definitely death) and pronounces that they are deciding to accept Him as their "personal Lord and Savior" and that through this decision they are "assured" of their salvation.

I'm sure you're aware of this type of Protestant theology, and of course, this is unOrthodox. However, we believe, as has already been stated, that we are born again ["...of water and the spirit" (Jn. 3)] through baptism and chrismation. So, on the surface, our answer is "Yes." But, of course, we don't mean it like they do!

So, either just say "Yes." Or, if you'd like to start a "conversation" (possibly read "debate" or "argument") you can try something more like what is suggested above!  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 07:41:15 PM »

how do you respond if you are asked if you are "born again"? This comes after I had to hear my mother in law talk about how some members of her evangelical church used to be catholic became "born again". I'm not sure how to respond if someone asks me that "are you born again christian?

Really, honestly?

Along the lines of my brother in wit vamrat, I usually say:

Born again are you? Twice too often it seems.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 07:48:16 PM »

I was working in Target a few years ago, and it was the time of the "Can you say 'Merry Christmas'" controversy. A man walked up to the counter and said to me, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? He's the only way." I was flustered and I just said, "Thank you." I wished I'd had my baptismal pictures with me. I could have said, "Yeah, in 1973, see?"  angel
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 07:52:22 PM »

Let me tell you, as someone who asked that question to others a few years ago, I cannot WAIT to be asked. I am still working on my answer, but I assure you, it will be EPIC.
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 07:54:59 PM »

Let me tell you, as someone who asked that question to others a few years ago, I cannot WAIT to be asked. I am still working on my answer, but I assure you, it will be EPIC.

You've really asked someone that before?

Wow.

That wasn't the sales pitch at my church.
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2011, 07:58:16 PM »

Once was traumatizing enough for me.  I have no desire to be born again.

Dude, I bodily fluid you not, when I say I was breech with the cord around my neck.

First attempt at suicide. I was no fool. Those 9.213 some odds months I knew were the height of things to come.
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2011, 08:03:34 PM »

how do you respond if you are asked if you are "born again"?

"I figure I came out ok the first time."
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2011, 08:04:30 PM »

I was working in Target a few years ago, and it was the time of the "Can you say 'Merry Christmas'" controversy. A man walked up to the counter and said to me, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? He's the only way." I was flustered and I just said, "Thank you." I wished I'd had my baptismal pictures with me. I could have said, "Yeah, in 1973, see?"  angel
Not to generalize, but I will, those type of people who will ask such questions in public are the types that say "Merry Christmas" like it's a threat. I always am tempted to pretend I'm an atheist and I want to lecture them about tolerance and religion in the public sphere and blah blah blah. Not that I believe that people shouldn't say it, but I'm tired of people using a holiday greeting as a soapbox for their usually incoherent ramblings.

And yes, orthonorm, I have asked that question. Only to select people and only a few times. I felt cheesy as [expletive] saying that, and all of the other lines that church members used on a daily basis, but I felt like a "bad Christian" for thinking that, so I went along with them and preached the Gospel in a way that completely alienated my family and some friends. I still can't get over that.
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2011, 08:15:25 PM »

And yes, orthonorm, I have asked that question. Only to select people and only a few times. I felt cheesy as [expletive] saying that, and all of the other lines that church members used on a daily basis, but I felt like a "bad Christian" for thinking that, so I went along with them and preached the Gospel in a way that completely alienated my family and some friends. I still can't get over that.

Wer ah come from, we'd ask: If ya died tonight, do ya know whether ya'd be in heaven or hell?
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2011, 08:16:53 PM »

And yes, orthonorm, I have asked that question. Only to select people and only a few times. I felt cheesy as [expletive] saying that, and all of the other lines that church members used on a daily basis, but I felt like a "bad Christian" for thinking that, so I went along with them and preached the Gospel in a way that completely alienated my family and some friends. I still can't get over that.

Wer ah come from, we'd ask: If ya died tonight, do ya know whether ya'd be in heaven or hell?
I would answer well there can only be a heaven...
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2011, 08:17:25 PM »

Well, that was the Baptist church next door. Grin

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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2011, 08:19:10 PM »

Or better yet saying "Purgatory" would stir up a better conversation.
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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2011, 08:22:15 PM »

And yes, orthonorm, I have asked that question. Only to select people and only a few times. I felt cheesy as [expletive] saying that, and all of the other lines that church members used on a daily basis, but I felt like a "bad Christian" for thinking that, so I went along with them and preached the Gospel in a way that completely alienated my family and some friends. I still can't get over that.

Wer ah come from, we'd ask: If ya died tonight, do ya know whether ya'd be in heaven or hell?
I would answer well there can only be a heaven...

That wouldn't go over well . . . seriously.

Hilarious anecdote about it. For another thread of the chat room or my memoirs.
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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2011, 08:23:21 PM »

Or better yet saying "Purgatory" would stir up a better conversation.

That would not have computed and thought to be an insult and gotten you in nearly as bad shape as the other answer.
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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2011, 08:26:07 PM »

Or better yet saying "Purgatory" would stir up a better conversation.

That would not have computed and thought to be an insult and gotten you in nearly as bad shape as the other answer.
Well I do have a prayer rope for safety...
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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2011, 08:29:35 PM »

Or better yet saying "Purgatory" would stir up a better conversation.

That would not have computed and thought to be an insult and gotten you in nearly as bad shape as the other answer.
Well I do have a prayer rope for safety...

We had ropes too, for other purposes . . .

Good ol' tyme religion!

EDIT: The pig roasts were awesome though . . . for real.
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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2011, 08:30:15 PM »

Or better yet saying "Purgatory" would stir up a better conversation.

That would not have computed and thought to be an insult and gotten you in nearly as bad shape as the other answer.
Well I do have a prayer rope for safety...

We had ropes too, for other purposes . . .

Good ol' tyme religion!
But I could use mine for "active" prayer.
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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2011, 08:38:47 PM »

When my family and I moved from Seattle (this durned liberal sronghold...) to small town Mississippy in 1998, we were asked this question many times.

At first, I was confused and tried to evade the answer. Beginning from the time I was finally admitted to the Orthodox Church (February 2007), I inevitably answered, "YES. I was born again when I was baptised."
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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2011, 08:39:39 PM »

When my family and I moved from Seattle (this durned liberal sronghold...) to small town Mississippy in 1998, we were asked this question many times.

At first, I was confused and tried to evade the answer. Beginning from the time I was finally admitted to the Orthodox Church (February 2007), I inevitably answered, "YES. I was born again when I was baptised."
Have you ever posted your conversion story on this board George?
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« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2011, 08:53:42 PM »

hi heorhij,
can i ask u (ideally without derailing the thread entirely and starting major race riots) what it means in your writing next the picture about the ukranian orthodox church not being canonical? is it not in communion with other churches?
coz i have a friend who badly needs orthodoxy (she doesn't know it yet) and the nearest church to her is ukranian. i know nothing about it, just found it on the web. what should i advise her (in the event of her being interested)?

oh, and we are born again in baptism.
just answer that salvation is a life-time process, that is why we should always work on getting closer to God. if we draw near to God, He will also draw near.
 Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2011, 09:12:18 PM »

hi heorhij,
can i ask u (ideally without derailing the thread entirely and starting major race riots) what it means in your writing next the picture about the ukranian orthodox church not being canonical? is it not in communion with other churches?
coz i have a friend who badly needs orthodoxy (she doesn't know it yet) and the nearest church to her is ukranian. i know nothing about it, just found it on the web. what should i advise her (in the event of her being interested)?

Dear Mabsoota,

Right now, there are three major Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine. The first one is called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC); it is, however, generally known as the "UOC-MP," i.e. the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate. It's scizophrenic, in a way, because in it's Statute, it calls itself "autonomous," and yet other paragraphs of the same statute say that it communicates with other Orthodox jurisdictions through the Patriarch of Moscow, and, furthermore, it is a part of the Russian (Rus. "Русская") Orthodox Church. (In the Russian language, there exists a subtle distinction between "Русская" - originating from the ancient Rus, and Российская - i.e. belonging to the present-day state called the Russian Federation; but both adjectives are translated into English, as well as into other languages, as "Russian.") Except for a few clerics (whom I personally know and like and respect), it is rabidly anti-Western, Russian chauvinist, cave anti-American, idiotic and evil organization.

The other two are the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Both are normal, open-minded, pro-Western and anti-Russian organizations; but, unfortunately, because of the overwhelming influence and power of the Patriarch of Moscow over the Orthodox world, they both remain "rogue," un-recognized jurisdictions.

How things will develop in Orthodoxy in Ukraine, God only knows.
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« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2011, 09:16:15 PM »

thanks, i didn't know that.
may God have mercy.
truly the communists did much damage in all the eastern european churches and the scars remain to this day. i know this as it affects me personally via my extended family.
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« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2011, 09:53:43 PM »

hi heorhij,
can i ask u (ideally without derailing the thread entirely and starting major race riots) what it means in your writing next the picture about the ukranian orthodox church not being canonical? is it not in communion with other churches?
coz i have a friend who badly needs orthodoxy (she doesn't know it yet) and the nearest church to her is ukranian. i know nothing about it, just found it on the web. what should i advise her (in the event of her being interested)?

Dear Mabsoota,

Right now, there are three major Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine. The first one is called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC); it is, however, generally known as the "UOC-MP," i.e. the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate. It's scizophrenic, in a way, because in it's Statute, it calls itself "autonomous," and yet other paragraphs of the same statute say that it communicates with other Orthodox jurisdictions through the Patriarch of Moscow, and, furthermore, it is a part of the Russian (Rus. "Русская") Orthodox Church. (In the Russian language, there exists a subtle distinction between "Русская" - originating from the ancient Rus, and Российская - i.e. belonging to the present-day state called the Russian Federation; but both adjectives are translated into English, as well as into other languages, as "Russian.") Except for a few clerics (whom I personally know and like and respect), it is rabidly anti-Western, Russian chauvinist, cave anti-American, idiotic and evil organization.

The other two are the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Both are normal, open-minded, pro-Western and anti-Russian organizations; but, unfortunately, because of the overwhelming influence and power of the Patriarch of Moscow over the Orthodox world, they both remain "rogue," un-recognized jurisdictions.

How things will develop in Orthodoxy in Ukraine, God only knows.

I would be careful with some of those descriptions. I would prefer an anti-American, pro-Russian church over a pro-American, anti-Russian church any day. Rus' has been Orthodox for a thousand years. the West, especially embodied in American culture, is full of nihilism and death. The default American culture is anti-Christian. The Russian one is not. I wouldn't state that just because the UOC-MP is connected to the Russian church that they are inherently "evil" and that a pro-western independent church is therefore obviously "normal." While I'm a proud member of the Orthodox Church in America and proudly identify as an "American Orthodox Christian," I have to remember that the broader American culture is antithetical to my faith.

Now, I understand the ethnic tensions between Ukraine and Russia, and I ultimately believe that, as Ukraine is its own nation, it should also have its own autocephalous church (this is an ancient tradition). However, it is important to remember that Filaret resigned his position willfully (allegations of "pressure" notwithstanding) and then led a schism away from canonical Orthodoxy (which in Ukraine was and is the Church of Russia). There are ways (though frustrating they may be) to work towards the goal of an autocephalous church without breaking formal communion with the Church. Perhaps one day Ukraine will have its own canonical, national church. I hope that is so, as they are rightfully deserving of it. However, the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine to this day is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Let's not paint our canonical, Orthodox brethen as "evil" while actively supporting those who lead many away from the Church, even if we believe in what they are trying to accomplish for Ukraine, they have left the Church. Maybe it will work out in the long run and the schism healed. It's happened before. However, that's not something with which I'm willing to gamble.
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« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2011, 10:21:04 PM »

how do you respond if you are asked if you are "born again"? This comes after I had to hear my mother in law talk about how some members of her evangelical church used to be catholic became "born again". I'm not sure how to respond if someone asks me that "are you born again christian?

I would say:

"Sounds messy. Did they boil water?"

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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2011, 09:42:48 AM »

If you want interesting conversation say something like, "And what exactly do you mean by that?", or "Yes I am, I am an Orthodox Christian."   Grin

Whenever I'm asked questions like this, I just purely love to say "what do you mean by that?" and stand back and watch the fun.
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« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2011, 10:17:32 AM »

If you want interesting conversation say something like, "And what exactly do you mean by that?", or "Yes I am, I am an Orthodox Christian."   Grin

Whenever I'm asked questions like this, I just purely love to say "what do you mean by that?" and stand back and watch the fun.

"I don't know. I'll have to ask my priest."
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« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2011, 10:45:44 AM »

thanks, i didn't know that.
may God have mercy.
truly the communists did much damage in all the eastern european churches and the scars remain to this day. i know this as it affects me personally via my extended family.
in some instances they had it coming as they were instruments of repression and exploitation. Where such was the case there was POPULAR anger directed at church/church institutions/clergy. Where the Church was closer to the common folks etc, those didn't exist and church life continued relatively undisturbed.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2011, 10:51:09 AM »

If you want interesting conversation say something like, "And what exactly do you mean by that?", or "Yes I am, I am an Orthodox Christian."   Grin

Whenever I'm asked questions like this, I just purely love to say "what do you mean by that?" and stand back and watch the fun.

"I don't know. I'll have to ask my priest."

Even better!! Grin
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 St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2011, 11:21:07 AM »

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


One must be born again to be in Christ. Smiley Correct me if I'm wrong... We are born again in baptism.

And constantly being renewed through repentance.

Confession/Penance/Reconciliation + Holy Communion + prayer life (personal and corporate), fasting, tithing, alms.
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« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2011, 11:29:54 AM »

If you want interesting conversation say something like, "And what exactly do you mean by that?", or "Yes I am, I am an Orthodox Christian."   Grin

Whenever I'm asked questions like this, I just purely love to say "what do you mean by that?" and stand back and watch the fun.

"I don't know. I'll have to ask my priest."
OOH, NOW I know what I'm going to say! Grin
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« Reply #39 on: August 26, 2011, 01:07:19 PM »

no!
that makes protestants think that orthodox Christians don't think for themselves and don't understand their faith.
which in protestant thinking is similar to 'not really being a Christian'.
it is one of the common things i have to defend from my protestant friends who have received this answer from orthodox Christians.
i know it's a funny answer, but please don't really use it!
 Wink
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« Reply #40 on: August 26, 2011, 01:20:51 PM »

I am speaking in jest, Mabsoota, of course. Smiley

How about this answer: "Yeah, and then I joined the Orthodox Church."  angel
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« Reply #41 on: August 26, 2011, 01:29:43 PM »

It's more fun to tell these sorts that you believe that you have to earn your salvation through a priest and Mary, and that you can only be saved by repetitious prayers and bowing before images.
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #42 on: August 26, 2011, 01:40:16 PM »

Or just pull out a stack of indulgence cards and say "I've got ten thousand days here, and so far I've only sinned up a couple thousand."
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« Reply #43 on: August 26, 2011, 01:45:22 PM »

It's more fun to tell these sorts that you believe that you have to earn your salvation through a priest and Mary, and that you can only be saved by repetitious prayers and bowing before images.
<Sigh.>  In all seriousness, tell them that you have been (if you indeed have), by water in the Spirit, through baptism, "Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God," (John 3), and that God has begun a work of regeneration in you that is far from completed.  If they insist that it is a one-time-only event, they betray their own Scriptural knowledge, for St. Paul says, "He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ."  (Philippians 1:6)  If they are talking about such things with you they probably depend upon the Bible.  Ask them if they can deny that Paul here instructs us about the process of salvation?
Use such questions as a teaching moment, if you can.  Of course, to teach, you must first understand.  Follow the Apostle Peter's advice:  "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is within you."  (1 Peter 3:15)
If someone approaches you to talk about such things, their hearts and minds are already receptive to hear about divine truth.  If they are not receptive, then, of course, you are entitled to shake the dust off your feet and keep going.  (Matthew 10:14)  If you respond lovingly, however, perhaps God will use you to bring someone home to the Holy Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #44 on: August 26, 2011, 01:53:09 PM »

how do you respond if you are asked if you are "born again"? This comes after I had to hear my mother in law talk about how some members of her evangelical church used to be catholic became "born again". I'm not sure how to respond if someone asks me that "are you born again christian?
To say that a Catholic became "born again" by going to a different church demonstrates that someone is not familiar with how the term is used Biblically and historically.  Here, they are using "born again" to mean a zealous conversion from "dead ritual" to emotionalism.  The only conversion necessary is one of repentence of the heart.  The implication here is that a Roman Catholic could not possibly be a Christian, because they do not have emotionalism and zeal in their worship.  I think that's what it boils down to.  It demonstrates a woeful ignorance of church history.  I'd make the explanation of what the term really means, as in the last post, and then I'd advise such people to really study the Second Great Awakening (ca. early 1800s), Charles Finney, etc., and see the roots of their revivalist theology.  While it had its good points in focusing people on Christ, its excesses created an emotionalism-based, individualism-based religion which is far, far divorced from the Christianity of the Bible and the Church.  The Second Great Awakening led to the splinter groups such as the Mormons, the Millerites (by extension the Jehovah's Witnesses), etc.  It was an attempt on the part of some to re-reform the Reformation.  Even such staid traditionalistic groups as the Amish and Mennonites were not immune from its influence.  Then I'd reassure the person that zealous Christianity need not be expressed in terms of a radicalization of the  liturgy, but by radically living the Christian life as we are called to do.  Much more difficult and meaningful.
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