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Author Topic: Not sure how I feel about this...  (Read 1124 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ninjaly Awesome
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« on: September 05, 2011, 12:41:42 PM »

When I was a Protestant I was involved in a campus ministry. Now the leader of that ministry is taking a mission trip to Russia.

I have mixed feelings. I don't want him to convert Orthodox people out of the faith. At the same time, I know it's an opportunity for Orthodox Christians to share the ancient faith with him. Also, I'm not sure how I would talk to him about it. Yes, I would want to know what he did and where he went. At the same time, I would feel like it might be awkward (especially since I have asperger's). Has anyone else had a similar situation?
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 01:25:33 PM »

I wouldn't worry too much.  I know at least one person who, as a Protestant, went to visit Russia, and ended up converting to Orthodoxy because of what he saw.  He is now a graduate of an Orthodox seminary.
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 01:36:51 PM »


Ninjaly, I know how you feel.

One of my bosses is a Lutheran, and his church regularly send their youth groups to do missionary work in Russia.

It really disturbs me.  How is it considered "spreading the Word", when you are going to already Christian lands?

I refused to support his group or offer donations.

However, as SakranMM stated, many missionaries to Orthodox lands alter convert to Orthodoxy.  There is hope.  God works in mysterious ways.
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 09:43:48 PM »

I grew up in the Lutheran church. Those trips to "spread the gospel" were usually mostly works centered. Helping rebuild schools/churches, serve in soup kitchens, and help in donation distributions.  I never remember deep theological stuff coming up. Usually, the most we did was tell children Bible stories...I would assume that's probably the same in this case. Hope that eases your mind.
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2011, 11:39:10 PM »

I grew up in the Lutheran church. Those trips to "spread the gospel" were usually mostly works centered. Helping rebuild schools/churches, serve in soup kitchens, and help in donation distributions.  I never remember deep theological stuff coming up. Usually, the most we did was tell children Bible stories...I would assume that's probably the same in this case. Hope that eases your mind.


Yeah but lets not forget the infamous Witnessing to People of Eastern Orthodox Background. They are certainly not all harmless.
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2011, 12:34:02 AM »

Dear Ninjaly,

My priest and his whole family were evangelical missionaries to Ukraine.  They ALL converted, and he met his wife there!  They are the most devout family I know!

God works in mysterious ways!

It does worry me, though, when CBN airs this (insert swear word here).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc2tFKhB8-0
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 11:43:57 AM »

It does worry me, though, when CBN airs this (insert swear word here).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc2tFKhB8-0

Quote
He worries that the Orthodox Church's influence is coming at the expense of religious freedom, especially for minority groups like Christians...

Yeah... he didn't say "other Christian denominations" or something along lines of acknowledging Orthodoxy as being Christian.
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 11:30:24 AM »

Hey Ninjaly. I was actually a Baptist missionary to Eastern Europe for 2 summers with Word of Life Ministries. We went to Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Romania followed by Spain and Portugal the next year. I must say now that I am converting to Orthodoxy, I do feel a sense of guilt about converting them.

HOWEVER....It was my first taste of Orthodoxy which stayed with me until the present day. When I started questioning my beliefs, I rememberd my adventures there and what I learned about Orthodoxy in my training. I was taught how they claimed (correctly as it turns out lol) to be the first church handed down from the Apostles. This led me to investigate further into it almost 15 years after my trips.

All in all, the Holy Spirit used my experiences back then to bring me to the Orthodox Church today. I would advise you to let the Holy Spirit work. I also dont think it would hurt to mention in passing about Orthodoxy, the Church's history, and your faith to your friend.

I know in my training we were basically taught that Orthodoxy wasn't truly Christian at all. A correction might be in order if your friend thinks this as well.

Most of all, to everyone on this board remember these missionaries seeking to convert people from Orthodoxy (or Catholicism or whatever) are doing this out of love and concern. These people do not need to be attacked or ridiculed, but educated, advised, and prayed for fervently.

I hope it works out Ninjaly.

PP
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 11:47:50 AM »

Well, honestly, I feel GREAT about Protestants going to mission trips to post-Soviet countries. These countries aren't Orthodox and they have never been truly Orthodox - they have been Pagan for many centuries, and largely remain Pagan. So it's very good that our sisters and brothers Protestants are doing what we all are commanded to do in Matthew 28:19. Maybe this will make the Orthodox clergy in these lands think a little and jump on the Matt. 28:19 bandwagon, rather than preaching how bad are the evil West, Jews, Free Masons, NATO, globalization, Catholics, "schismatics," personal identification numbers, vaccination of the children and what not.

And yes, I, too, know people who went for mission trips to post-Soviet lands and became Orthodox. being influenced by the majestic beauty of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy. We had a wonderful participant of this forum, a woman from Toronto, who converted to Orthodoxy after living in Kyiv, Ukraine for several years. That's great, too. 
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 05:51:15 PM »

Well, honestly, I feel GREAT about Protestants going to mission trips to post-Soviet countries. These countries aren't Orthodox and they have never been truly Orthodox - they have been Pagan for many centuries, and largely remain Pagan. So it's very good that our sisters and brothers Protestants are doing what we all are commanded to do in Matthew 28:19. Maybe this will make the Orthodox clergy in these lands think a little and jump on the Matt. 28:19 bandwagon, rather than preaching how bad are the evil West, Jews, Free Masons, NATO, globalization, Catholics, "schismatics," personal identification numbers, vaccination of the children and what not.

And yes, I, too, know people who went for mission trips to post-Soviet lands and became Orthodox. being influenced by the majestic beauty of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy. We had a wonderful participant of this forum, a woman from Toronto, who converted to Orthodoxy after living in Kyiv, Ukraine for several years. That's great, too. 

I'm sorry but I've got to quite fervently disagree. These people, even some of the clergy, may have some issues (even some major ones) but they are still members of the Orthodox Church and are participating in the Body of Christ. Though some things that are taught/occur are regretable, if they're acting out of sincere ignorance, they need to be corrected by others within the Church, not poached by Protestant missionaries into apostacy.

Even if they become "pious Protestants" they are still Orthodox apostates. Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 06:19:42 PM »

Well, honestly, I feel GREAT about Protestants going to mission trips to post-Soviet countries. These countries aren't Orthodox and they have never been truly Orthodox - they have been Pagan for many centuries, and largely remain Pagan. So it's very good that our sisters and brothers Protestants are doing what we all are commanded to do in Matthew 28:19. Maybe this will make the Orthodox clergy in these lands think a little and jump on the Matt. 28:19 bandwagon, rather than preaching how bad are the evil West, Jews, Free Masons, NATO, globalization, Catholics, "schismatics," personal identification numbers, vaccination of the children and what not.

And yes, I, too, know people who went for mission trips to post-Soviet lands and became Orthodox. being influenced by the majestic beauty of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy. We had a wonderful participant of this forum, a woman from Toronto, who converted to Orthodoxy after living in Kyiv, Ukraine for several years. That's great, too. 

I'm sorry but I've got to quite fervently disagree. These people, even some of the clergy, may have some issues (even some major ones) but they are still members of the Orthodox Church and are participating in the Body of Christ. Though some things that are taught/occur are regretable, if they're acting out of sincere ignorance, they need to be corrected by others within the Church, not poached by Protestant missionaries into apostacy.

Even if they become "pious Protestants" they are still Orthodox apostates. Lord, have mercy!

I certainly did not mean that these Orthodox priests should become Protestants. Let them just be "prodded" a little. Let them feel the competition. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 06:26:14 PM »

What kind of ticks me off is when some televangelist-type missionaries say they're going to a country, say Russia or Lithuania, and they say, "These people have never heard the Gospel before, have never head the name of Jesus before."  Huh  Sad Yes they have! Doggone it!! Oh well, I pray the missionaries will duck into an Orthodox church to see what it's like, and the light will be dazzling coming off all the icons, and the choir will be singing, and they'll just get swept off their feet.   Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 10:39:58 AM »

Surely they arent going to try to convert the Orthodox.  As someone who grew up Protestant in the U.S. and went on several evangelical mission trips, (mainly in the Americas) I would say they may not even know that Russia is an Orthodox country.  I knew NOTHING about Orthodoxy until the last couple years.  And as 'Casisthename' said, these types of things are usually works based.

Honestly, I dont know too much about Russia other than basic common history and the fact that it is HUGE!! Maybe there are still some areas where people arent too familiar with the Gospel.  Would you say its better for someone to hear the Gospel from a Protestant than not hear it at all?  (No, really... Im asking.  Im fairly new to Orthodoxy and would like to know!)

I just cant imagine an evangelical trying to convert Christians to Christianity, when surely there are greater needs.
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 10:57:52 AM »

Surely they arent going to try to convert the Orthodox.  As someone who grew up Protestant in the U.S. and went on several evangelical mission trips, (mainly in the Americas) I would say they may not even know that Russia is an Orthodox country.  I knew NOTHING about Orthodoxy until the last couple years.  And as 'Casisthename' said, these types of things are usually works based.

Honestly, I dont know too much about Russia other than basic common history and the fact that it is HUGE!! Maybe there are still some areas where people arent too familiar with the Gospel.  Would you say its better for someone to hear the Gospel from a Protestant than not hear it at all?  (No, really... Im asking.  Im fairly new to Orthodoxy and would like to know!)

I just cant imagine an evangelical trying to convert Christians to Christianity, when surely there are greater needs.


Thats the problem. The fundie churches and groups dont think RC's or Orthodox are Christians. In fact, a great host of them consider churches here that DO consider RC's and Orthodox Christians as rampant "liberals".

In fact, during my training we were specifically told that the Orthodox do not know the gospel and worship saints and believe good works get them saved. We took it at face value because we didn't know any better. In fact most still believe this.

PP
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 11:13:41 AM »

What kind of ticks me off is when some televangelist-type missionaries say they're going to a country, say Russia or Lithuania, and they say, "These people have never heard the Gospel before, have never head the name of Jesus before."  Huh  Sad Yes they have! Doggone it!! Oh well, I pray the missionaries will duck into an Orthodox church to see what it's like, and the light will be dazzling coming off all the icons, and the choir will be singing, and they'll just get swept off their feet.   Smiley

The sad thing is, however, that very many (the overwhelming majority) of the people in post-Soviet countries indeed never heard the Gospel. I know it for a fact because I was born and raised in Ukraine and I travel there often. Yes, they might attend a church service sometimes (usually on big holidays), but they are like tourists there, not like partakers. What many of them believe is that if you cross yourself many times and lite a few candles, this will bring you luck, relieve some pain etc. But they have absolutely no clue, and no desire to find out, just what is going on in the altar, just what is this priest or deacon chanting, etc. They do not have Bibles at home, often they never even saw a closed Bible. My own sister-in-law, who lives in Northwestern Ukraine, considers herself "deeply religious Orthodox," but the never in her entire life read even one line in the Bible, and she does not know any prayers (a few years ago, she was stunned when she found out that I can say the Lord's prayer, and she asked me to teach it to her, but when I just started, she ran out of patience and said, 'ah, that's too hard for me"). If you ask her, or some 99% or so of her friends, relatives, compatriots questions like what's the Trinity, or is Christ man, or what does the Eucharist mean, or why are people baptised, or what's the Ten Commandments, or what do the Beautitudes say - these people for sure will not give you any rational answer.

My recently deceased dear mother-in-law also identified herself as a "believer, Orthodox," and even had icons at home, and loved to enter a church and to kiss an icon. But she, too, never attended a Divine Liturgy from the beginning to the end, never read anything from the Bible and had no idea about our Church dogmatics or structure. I remember how one time, when we visited the grave of her late husband, I mentioned something about the resurrection of the body, and she looked at me with these wide open eyes and wide open mouth, and said, "what, BODY will resurrect? But that's NONSENSE. Aren't you Christian? If you are a Christian, you perhaps should know that only SOULS resurrect."

My friends from among the UOC priests, like Fr. Andriy Dudchenko from Kyiv, Fr. Vitaliy Eismont from Korosten', Fr. Joan Shandra from Khust and other, keep saying that the level of catechization in Ukraine, as well as in Russia, is ABYSMAL. Something really needs to be done, and Protestant missionaries, with their good working knowledge of Scripture and Christian dogmatics, may be extremely helpful in this situation.
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 11:14:18 AM »

Quote


Thats the problem. The fundie churches and groups dont think RC's or Orthodox are Christians. In fact, a great host of them consider churches here that DO consider RC's and Orthodox Christians as rampant "liberals".

In fact, during my training we were specifically told that the Orthodox do not know the gospel and worship saints and believe good works get them saved. We took it at face value because we didn't know any better. In fact most still believe this.

PP

Ive definitely heard things like that about the RC church.  Maybe is just where I am or my circle of friends, but no one seems to know about Orthodoxy.  I never even heard of it when I was young in Church.  I had friends who would say that the RC worshipped saints, mainly Mary, and believed that their works sent them to heaven.  I knew that couldnt be true, so I did the research.  I started studying Catholicism, and found my way to Orthodoxy.  Turns out, none of that stuff is true. Ha.

Its definitely sad that people think that.  If one would spend two minutes on google, they could find out so many of their misconceptions are wrong.  

But back to the original post, hopefully hes not trying to convert the Orthodox, but rather help people in need.  Maybe try to convert non-Christians to some sort of Christianity.  I guess thats better than nothing...  Undecided
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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2011, 11:20:47 AM »

Quote


Thats the problem. The fundie churches and groups dont think RC's or Orthodox are Christians. In fact, a great host of them consider churches here that DO consider RC's and Orthodox Christians as rampant "liberals".

In fact, during my training we were specifically told that the Orthodox do not know the gospel and worship saints and believe good works get them saved. We took it at face value because we didn't know any better. In fact most still believe this.

PP

Ive definitely heard things like that about the RC church.  Maybe is just where I am or my circle of friends, but no one seems to know about Orthodoxy.  I never even heard of it when I was young in Church.  I had friends who would say that the RC worshipped saints, mainly Mary, and believed that their works sent them to heaven.  I knew that couldnt be true, so I did the research.  I started studying Catholicism, and found my way to Orthodoxy.  Turns out, none of that stuff is true. Ha.

Its definitely sad that people think that.  If one would spend two minutes on google, they could find out so many of their misconceptions are wrong.  

But back to the original post, hopefully hes not trying to convert the Orthodox, but rather help people in need.  Maybe try to convert non-Christians to some sort of Christianity.  I guess thats better than nothing...  Undecided

Yeah. most folks over here just take what they hear and run with it. They're either too lazy, compacent, or ignorant to check for themselves. As for the missionary I hope you're right but more than likely they're going there to convert Orthodox.

PP
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2011, 02:02:12 PM »

Would you say its better for someone to hear the Gospel from a Protestant than not hear it at all?  (No, really... Im asking.  Im fairly new to Orthodoxy and would like to know!)

Yes as someone can notice how the Protestants misinterpret the Gospel and find about the Church.
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« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2011, 02:26:22 PM »

From my limited experience with missionary work in Ukraine with an evangelical family, Orthodox just don't count. To them, everyone was either their brand of Christianity or they were "lost." Even Orthodox Christians.

I remember walking in the fields with the girls one night, and we came to an Orthodox church. They all shuddered. One of them said, "Doesn't that look evil, dark, oppressive?" At the moment, it did.

I never thought to ask any of the converts who were at the church or the "atheists" that we were evangelizing to whether they were Orthodox. I just assumed that they weren't Christian.

I was so isolated that sad to say, being in an Orthodox country had no influence whatsoever on my desire to convert. But being there with the people running the mission was one of the times where I realized that something was really wrong with what I was calling Christianity.

I agree we should pray that they DO get exposed to what Orthodoxy really is -- at the very least get their biases out of the way and realize that they are true Christians.
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2011, 02:28:03 PM »

It's only fair I think that you provide your friend with some reading material to learn about the Orthodox Faith.

Mp. Kallisto's The Orthodox Church and the Way would be a good place to start! Wink
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« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2011, 02:55:07 PM »

I remember walking in the fields with the girls one night, and we came to an Orthodox church. They all shuddered. One of them said, "Doesn't that look evil, dark, oppressive?" At the moment, it did.

When I was a postdoc in Seattle back in the 1990-s, I was in touch with a group of students from Seattle Pacific University (a Free Methodist school). In summer 1997, they went to Kyiv, to live with Ukrainian families and, of course, to evangelize. They visited an Orthodox church (I believe it was Holy Resurrection church in the Demiyivs'ka district, near the bus station), being accompanied by one family that hosted them. The kids' impression was terrible. First of all, they immediately said that this cannot be a church because it's dark and stuffy and smells bad, and there are "pictures." Then one girl fainted and hit the floor. That was it.

But the kids were ultimately happy to visit a local Protestant community, and some of them were even given the podium to preach (through an interpreter). I think it had a positive impression on the families that hosted these students. Also, they impressed their hosts because they, being in their late teens or early 20-s, did not smoke, did not drink alcohol and did not fornicate. THAT must have made a huge impression. Delegates from this evil, rotten, decadent West, you know... laugh

I agree we should pray that they DO get exposed to what Orthodoxy really is -- at the very least get their biases out of the way and realize that they are true Christians.

I would also pray for those nominal "Orthodox" people in Ukraine, Russia and other parts of the former Russian Empire / Soviet Union who never opened the Bible and who believe that opening a church door stimulates delivery of a baby. Maybe, God willing, some day THEY get exposed to what Orthodoxy really is.
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« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2011, 02:56:14 PM »


I agree we should pray that they DO get exposed to what Orthodoxy really is -- at the very least get their biases out of the way and realize that they are true Christians.

I would also pray for those nominal "Orthodox" people in Ukraine, Russia and other parts of the former Russian Empire / Soviet Union who never opened the Bible and who believe that opening a church door stimulates delivery of a baby. Maybe, God willing, some day THEY get exposed to what Orthodoxy really is.
Oh yes, I'm sure that's where they get their impressions from -- the culturally but not really spiritually Orthodox.
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