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Author Topic: Leaving Evangelicalism for Orthodoxy/Leaving Orthodoxy for Evangelicalism  (Read 3003 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: September 07, 2011, 10:11:20 AM »

I received a link to one of these articles and noticed that it's paired with the counterpoint. It's worth the read, and the inevitable subseqent mud-slinging.

Why I Left Evangelicalism for Eastern Orthodoxy:

http://trevinwax.com/2006/11/08/therons-story-why-i-left-evangelicalism-for-eastern-orthodoxy/

Why I Left Eastern Orthodoxy for Evangelicalism

http://trevinwax.com/2006/11/09/johns-story-why-i-left-eastern-orthodoxy-for-evangelicalism/
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 12:39:48 PM »

I'm saddened to read of this individual having mistaken his own limited experience of a nominalist, post-communist Orthodoxy he had seen in Romania for the whole of Orthodoxy. If he had been properly catechized and formed in a stronger church by priests who actually know what Orthodoxy believes and teaches, I'm not sure he would have found evangelicalism so attractive.
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 01:38:16 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I'm saddened to read of this individual having mistaken his own limited experience of a nominalist, post-communist Orthodoxy he had seen in Romania for the whole of Orthodoxy. If he had been properly catechized and formed in a stronger church by priests who actually know what Orthodoxy believes and teaches, I'm not sure he would have found evangelicalism so attractive.

See the Protestants in Ethiopia thread to find out that across the post-Communist, Orthodox world, we share a common enemy of highly politicized rhetoric combined with the lingering effects of poverty and economic decline, really I'd dare say that the spread of protestantism in the Orthodox world has been a kind of nostalgic throwback to past glory.  Perhaps some folks feel they can get back their previous status by integrating with the Christianity of the current Western world?

But that is the fundamental flaw, the West has its own problems.  While Communism created one problem-set within Orthodox, the American experience has created another.  Orthodox when they come to America tend to adopt the same sentiments of idealism, individualism, and anti-authoritarianism which is typically American and of course tends also to be rather contrary to Orthodox theology of conforming to the Will of God, Church community, and respect of all authority as God-sent.  This is why Orthodox Churches in the US are increasingly becoming "independent" from Patriarchies and Synods, and this of course is NOT Orthodox, and is a unique problem in and of itself.
When in the history of the world has politics NOT been corrupt? Is there a golden age? No.  This is precisely why God sent us His mother Church to guide us, shelter us, raise us, protect us, and save us from our own sinful, self-serving, and bitterly divisive selves.

So while the aftereffects of Communism are tragic, the opposite side of the coin is no better, which is precisely why we need to stay deeply, firmly, immovably in prayer for the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Orthodox Church of Jesus Christ.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 03:53:09 PM »

I'm saddened to read of this individual having mistaken his own limited experience of a nominalist, post-communist Orthodoxy he had seen in Romania for the whole of Orthodoxy. If he had been properly catechized and formed in a stronger church by priests who actually know what Orthodoxy believes and teaches, I'm not sure he would have found evangelicalism so attractive.
Now that of course has nothing to do with it.  As I am always wont to remind: I had an illiterate, not very devout great-aunt who, when she met a few evangelical propagandists cut them off thus :"i want to be buried like a human, not like a dog." The best apologetics I have ever heard.
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 03:55:24 PM »

I'm saddened to read of this individual having mistaken his own limited experience of a nominalist, post-communist Orthodoxy he had seen in Romania for the whole of Orthodoxy. If he had been properly catechized and formed in a stronger church by priests who actually know what Orthodoxy believes and teaches, I'm not sure he would have found evangelicalism so attractive.
Now that of course has nothing to do with it.  As I am always wont to remind: I had an illiterate, not very devout great-aunt who, when she met a few evangelical propagandists cut them off thus :"i want to be buried like a human, not like a dog." The best apologetics I have ever heard.
Wonderful.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 04:42:44 PM »

 My experience with older, quasi-illiterate folks in a place where Orthodoxy met Catholicism and even Protestantism, and where differences in religion usually were matched with differences in class and ethnicity, with the Orthodox being, until quite recently the bottom of the social ladder,  is that after a life full of deprivations, hardship and oftentimes humiliations, they intuited that the Orthodox church as they knew it gave their lives a bit of human dignity that they found lacking in other faiths. Maybe is what Lawrence Durrell says "... the blazing crockery of the orthodox God/make it a fearful pomp for peasants..." .
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2011, 04:49:31 PM »

I'm saddened to read of this individual having mistaken his own limited experience of a nominalist, post-communist Orthodoxy he had seen in Romania for the whole of Orthodoxy. If he had been properly catechized and formed in a stronger church by priests who actually know what Orthodoxy believes and teaches, I'm not sure he would have found evangelicalism so attractive.
Now that of course has nothing to do with it.
Maybe not for the people you know. I can speak from my own experience, however, as to how important proper catechism is to keeping some in the Church.
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2011, 10:44:44 PM »

Now that of course has nothing to do with it.  As I am always wont to remind: I had an illiterate, not very devout great-aunt who, when she met a few evangelical propagandists cut them off thus :"i want to be buried like a human, not like a dog." The best apologetics I have ever heard.

I completely agree.
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2011, 11:49:24 PM »

I'm saddened to read of this individual having mistaken his own limited experience of a nominalist, post-communist Orthodoxy he had seen in Romania for the whole of Orthodoxy. If he had been properly catechized and formed in a stronger church by priests who actually know what Orthodoxy believes and teaches, I'm not sure he would have found evangelicalism so attractive.
Now that of course has nothing to do with it.  As I am always wont to remind: I had an illiterate, not very devout great-aunt who, when she met a few evangelical propagandists cut them off thus :"i want to be buried like a human, not like a dog." The best apologetics I have ever heard.

I love it!  laugh
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 01:26:33 AM »

here's the best quote from the article:

Quote
“I realized that the Bible was the authority, even over the Church. The Bible was true, and the Church with all its traditions and rituals was wrong.”
'

There you have it, folks! Simple as that...  Roll Eyes

Oops, forgot one:

Quote
“An Orthodox Christian that is truly born again would realize that the church is wrong and would turn to evangelicalism.”
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 01:29:18 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 01:46:40 AM »

here's the best quote from the article:

Quote
“I realized that the Bible was the authority, even over the Church. The Bible was true, and the Church with all its traditions and rituals was wrong.”
'

There you have it, folks! Simple as that...  Roll Eyes

Oops, forgot one:

Quote
“An Orthodox Christian that is truly born again would realize that the church is wrong and would turn to evangelicalism.”

My personal favourite is:

Quote from: John from the article
I stopped getting drunk, stopped smoking, stopped cursing [...] I had been born again.
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 02:36:30 AM »

To be fair, there are at least half a dozen equally as impressive one liner's in there.  Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 10:02:28 AM »

Quote from: John from the article
I stopped getting drunk, stopped smoking, stopped cursing [...] I had been born again.

The hallmarks of rebirth; defined in the negative.
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2011, 02:49:51 PM »

Ah yes, that elusive "born again experience". The thing everyone in today's ready-made and instant gratification oriented society is so desperately searching for, they all want to be like Paul walking down the road to Emmaus. They hear about the idea of theosis, and it sounds so tedious, so drawn-out, so difficult. "I want my Jesus, and I want him now! I want my salvation right now!" Just like a kid in a candy store.

If they don't get it, then they question whether they were even  "born again" at all. "Wait, so I asked Jesus into my heart, but nothing miraculous happened. I'm not sure I even felt anything. Does that mean I'm not saved?" Uh oh...better say that prayer again...or better yet, get re-baptized! Ya, that's the ticket...
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2011, 03:55:50 PM »

Uh oh...better say that prayer again...or better yet, get re-baptized! Ya, that's the ticket...

Sadly today's response is generally apostasy, but is it really that wrong to reject a false idea? It's a sad state of affairs when people are rejecting a Christ they never knew, at last not one framed in the proper context.
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« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2011, 04:19:13 PM »

Quote
My understanding had always been that to be saved, you had to do a certain amount of good works
Ok, Im not even a catechumen yet and I know this isnt what Orthodoxy teaches. This guy was brought up in the church and believed that?

Im sorry if this sounds like an insult but to me 1 of 4 things are true about the second article:

1. This individual is very easily influenced by what others tell him
2. This guy had absolutely no clue what Orthodoxy stated to begin with
3. This guy is a fraud or sockpuppet of the author.
4. He had a ton of animosity for his family or church or life and left because he found a way out

Thats the only way I see it.

Quote
If they don't get it, then they question whether they were even  "born again" at all. "Wait, so I asked Jesus into my heart, but nothing miraculous happened. I'm not sure I even felt anything. Does that mean I'm not saved?" Uh oh...better say that prayer again...or better yet, get re-baptized! Ya, that's the ticket

Indeed. I know quite a few folks that have asked Jesus into their hearts a dozen times (I myself have on 5 different occasions). The reason is usually because they doubted their salvation because they didnt feel saved or they question if they really meant it, etc etc.

The funniest thing to me in the article is that the guy quotes a ton of scripture (or so the author says) but will never quote the verse talking about asking Christ into your heart saves you....oh....its not there.....yeah....

PP
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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2011, 04:28:24 PM »

Quote
I begin sharing stories of Orthodox priests I knew in Romania who would threaten the children attending evangelical AWANA clubs, even vowing to “cut off their fingers.” When I ask his opinion regarding this persecution of Baptists, he looks surprised and calls the priests’ actions “exaggerated.” He refuses to condone such behavior, but at the same time, he sympathizes with their need to “defend” the faith. “They probably view Baptists like you and I would view Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. These are people coming to their country and ‘destroying the faith,’ so they will do anything possible to defend it. I can see where that mindset comes from
The priest should hever never said that. Threatening violence is exactly what not to do. If my priest ever threatened my son like that we'd have problems.

That being said, Mr. Wax could really get a job with MSNBC for his objectivity. I actually didn't care for either article. Both were pretty poorly written and the people he interviewed didn't exactly seem too intellectually impressive.

PP

PP
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2011, 04:40:36 PM »

having personal experience of romania and romanians, i can say that decent Christian teaching is actually not available in many romanian orthodox churches. i realise this is a fairly controversial thing for an orthodox Christian to say,  Shocked but i have had many conversations with my romanian orthodox friends which lead me to conclude that there are many people like in john's story who think it is enough to go to church once or twice a year and make the sign of the cross when passing a church. occasionally they fast, but sadly this is sometimes instead of going to church, not as well as it!

we have the same problem in the uk. our 'state religion' was not watered down by persecution and the occasional drunken priest, but by centuries of general apathy and the allowance of non-Christian teaching ('just be a good person and God will take care of you') alongside genuine gospel readings and songs with reasonably good theology (if, often, terribly dreary tunes). actually the dreary tunes unwittingly added to the general apathy. thank God, many anglicans are finding the orthodox church. i was anglican in the year before i joined the ranks of the happy orthodox.

groups in romania like the Lord's army (orthodox) are working hard at restoring the old orthodox teachings to the orthodox church, and lives are being changed as a result. they tend not to talk about the protestants (the 'repented ones'; 'pocaiti' in romanian) in very negative ways. this is a good change from the usual orthodox tendancy. being terribly rude to the heterodox is simply not Christian. unfortunately the opposite (being polite about the orthodox) is not as common.
it is interesting that the author of the site, trewin, makes a reasonably balanced conclusion from the stories presented (i read them both), and about 80% of his recommendations for the orthodox church are worth a look.

what is really outstanding, is that this man, from a protestant romanian background even considers the romanian orthodox church has anything to offer. you would really have to have met / lived with protestant romanians (i have) to realise that this is a huge, immeasurable leap for them.
i pray fervently that God leads him further to discover the true treasures of orthodox Christianity for himself.
also i pray that there will be many people who are willing to lay down the old animosity and look for the original, loving Christianity that is/should be (delete as appropriate!) in the orthodox church.

primuspilus,
i'll bet u a double chocolate cheesecake (or a vegan orange cake if you read this tomorrow) that 'john' is a real person.
i have met many like him.
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2011, 04:45:42 PM »

sorry, i haven't quite finished, this subject is one that is very close to me personally.
it sounds to me that john really didn't know anything about true orthodoxy.
so what happened to him is a change from knowing almost nothing to knowing a partial truth.
this understanding of God, which is not sufficiently deep is still more than he had before.
this is why it is changing his life.

oh, if he only knew the depths of the love of God and the spiritual path of tradition that can really bring close to God, he would then be fulfilled.
he is on a spiritual journey, even though he may have some bad motives and sinful thoughts (don't we all?) so i pray God will guide him.
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2011, 04:49:11 PM »

Quote
primuspilus,
i'll bet u a double chocolate cheesecake (or a vegan orange cake if you read this tomorrow) that 'john' is a real person.
i have met many like him.
Cant bet mate. Im eating mediterranean now...my wife would punch me for cheating like that (and not involving her)

As to if he is a real person, I simply gave an option. After reading your responses, I'm going with #1. When I was in Romania the folks there seemed very much "in the know" about Orthodoxy. Of course I wasn't paying that much attention at the time....

PP
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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2011, 05:22:46 PM »

mediterraneans don't eat cake!
 Shocked
i hope God doesn't exile me to south europe.
 Wink
i am glad u met many knowledgeable orthodox romanians.
i also know a few people like that, and pray there are many more.
 Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2011, 06:00:08 PM »

You do not need to be knowledgeable. It's a sign that a world is disintegrating. The inroads of free market economy and such. All this "jesustalk" is ridiculous. You only need to intuit that made- in- the- usa-jesus that's exported there is inhuman  or diminishes one's human dignity (like my great aunt did). Yet  she wasn't knowledgeable about anything theological . She wasn't even all that churchy. She cursed and drank and didn't ask jesus in her heart. God rest her.
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« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2011, 11:53:52 PM »

just watch, 20 years from now North America is going to be predominantly Orthodox, and the Eastern Europe is going to be predominatnly evangelical Tongue
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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2011, 12:03:37 AM »

just watch, 20 years from now North America is going to be predominantly Orthodox, and the Eastern Europe is going to be predominatnly evangelical Tongue
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2011, 01:39:38 AM »

If you read the "Comments" section of 'John's story' (the Romanian Evangelical), you would find that among the Orthodox - all of the defenders of Orthodoxy were converts (most from Evangelicalism, but one or a few Roman Catholics), while the sympathizers with 'John' were cradle Orthodox.  Why is that?  Please tell... it adds to my suspicion that, as ever, Orthodoxy as convert religion is primarily for intellectual Christians who get restless in the theologically not-challenging or not-stimulating enough world of Evangelical Protestantism (what with 'Sola Scriptura', "Jesus in your heart", what have we) while, on the flip-side, cradle Orthodox who are not very intellectual seem gullible to be drawn in by the streamlined, 'basic' Scripture proof-texted theology (if we can call it theology, for this context) of Evangelical Protestantism.

One commenter was (I believe) Greek Orthodox, she left the Orthodox Church several months after being 'born again', unable to find that same spirit of Biblical preaching and teaching in her Orthodox parish - another person was (at the time of her comment) still Orthodox, but wrestling with the draw away from it by the 'born-again' experience she claimed to have.
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2011, 03:25:07 AM »

If you read the "Comments" section of 'John's story' (the Romanian Evangelical), you would find that among the Orthodox - all of the defenders of Orthodoxy were converts (most from Evangelicalism, but one or a few Roman Catholics), while the sympathizers with 'John' were cradle Orthodox.  Why is that?  Please tell... it adds to my suspicion that, as ever, Orthodoxy as convert religion is primarily for intellectual Christians who get restless in the theologically not-challenging or not-stimulating enough world of Evangelical Protestantism (what with 'Sola Scriptura', "Jesus in your heart", what have we) while, on the flip-side, cradle Orthodox who are not very intellectual seem gullible to be drawn in by the streamlined, 'basic' Scripture proof-texted theology (if we can call it theology, for this context) of Evangelical Protestantism.

One commenter was (I believe) Greek Orthodox, she left the Orthodox Church several months after being 'born again', unable to find that same spirit of Biblical preaching and teaching in her Orthodox parish - another person was (at the time of her comment) still Orthodox, but wrestling with the draw away from it by the 'born-again' experience she claimed to have.

Because, like many who were born with something, often take it for granted. It's human nature... Sad
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2011, 03:26:49 AM »

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2011, 03:32:36 AM »

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
It's a delusion to think it was ever different. Other things were different, but theological ignorance has been always the same.
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« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2011, 02:20:16 PM »

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
It's a delusion to think it was ever different. Other things were different, but theological ignorance has been always the same.

So you think the Romanian Orthodox as a whole have always been as "theologically ignorant" as they are now? On what basis?
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« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2011, 02:50:57 PM »

On the basis of my familiarity with it through anecdotal experience, family stories and quite extensive history reading. It was a church of illiterate peasants. But theological ignorance (not that bad of a thing) is the norm everywhere in the Orthodox world, except convert parishes in the West.
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« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2011, 03:00:22 PM »

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
It's a delusion to think it was ever different. Other things were different, but theological ignorance has been always the same.

So you think the Romanian Orthodox as a whole have always been as "theologically ignorant" as they are now? On what basis?

I think 99% of all people are theologically ignorant. Evangelicals have it worse because their "born again" religion demands they always remain ignorant of actual theology while clamoring after "new ways" of hearing the same old thing.
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« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2011, 04:21:23 PM »

my coptic friends, including those recently arrived from egypt have outstanding theological knowledge.
i have not generally studied this, but i think it's because our last 2 patriarchs worked tirelessly at theological education of the laity, both adults and children.
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« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2011, 04:25:45 PM »

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
It's a delusion to think it was ever different. Other things were different, but theological ignorance has been always the same.

So you think the Romanian Orthodox as a whole have always been as "theologically ignorant" as they are now? On what basis?

I think 99% of all people are theologically ignorant. Evangelicals have it worse because their "born again" religion demands they always remain ignorant of actual theology while clamoring after "new ways" of hearing the same old thing.

Evangelicals are certainly more knowledgable about the bible than most Orthodox, that's for sure. At least their interpretation of it, anways.
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« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2011, 04:35:10 PM »

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

having personal experience of romania and romanians, i can say that decent Christian teaching is actually not available in many romanian orthodox churches. i realise this is a fairly controversial thing for an orthodox Christian to say,  Shocked but i have had many conversations with my romanian orthodox friends which lead me to conclude that there are many people like in john's story who think it is enough to go to church once or twice a year and make the sign of the cross when passing a church. occasionally they fast, but sadly this is sometimes instead of going to church, not as well as it!



True, but really, think about it.  Could you imagine Pat Robertson agreeing with that? What about Billy Graham? Or John Hagee? See mainstream American Protestant thinking is so utterly rebellious to Orthodox they think even the Lutherans and the Anglicans are too superstitious or Papish.  To submit to the Authority of God in the Church by even just occasionally attending Mass and to revere a Church enough to see the need to Cross yourself speaks volumes.  Many Protestants would look vindictively at such behavior.  I would hope that folks delve deeper into Orthodox than that, but lets be honest, it is a matter of God's Grace, not our own efforts and volition, and just these relatively "shallow" Orthodox practices are much deeper than any Protestant could accept.  When I was a boy raised Baptist, to Cross yourself was a sin! To revere a Church building was a sin! To attend a Mass was the HIGHEST OF SINS! And this was a common sentiment amongst all the American Protestants I grew up with, we all just thought the Church was the Devil really..  So what I am trying to say is count your blessings the Romanians even go that far Smiley

I always say that Protestants have the zeal, but they've got the wrong ideal.  If ones would apply the same level of effort, intensity, and participation within the Liturgical and Sacramental life of the Church, then they would find the healing relationship with God they need, but if folks militantly insist that the Flesh and Blood of the Holy Communion is merely a symbol, they deny the very existence of Christ Himself! Now until we and they all realize this deeply in our hearts, we will never be able communicate  (pun intended). The first step to Repentance, both within and outside the Church, is acknowledgment, recognition, and acceptance of the reality of guilt.  Denial is the opposite of this, now matter how supported by misinterpretation of Scripture and half-baked theological criticisms.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2011, 05:05:36 PM »

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
It's a delusion to think it was ever different. Other things were different, but theological ignorance has been always the same.

So you think the Romanian Orthodox as a whole have always been as "theologically ignorant" as they are now? On what basis?

I think 99% of all people are theologically ignorant. Evangelicals have it worse because their "born again" religion demands they always remain ignorant of actual theology while clamoring after "new ways" of hearing the same old thing.

Evangelicals are certainly more knowledgable about the bible than most Orthodox, that's for sure. At least their interpretation of it, anways.
The types of Evangelicals that get heavily into "witnessing" or like going onto discussion boards on the internet do (or at least the "Roman's Road). But the same can be said about most of the Orthodox going onto discussion boards or talking about their faith. The vast majority of people in any church are basically there out of some vague idea that this is "what Christians do" (nor are they wrong). In any Evangelical Sunday School class you're going to have one or two people that are heavily involved in the reading and ten to twenty who have no idea what's going. This might skew differently depending on whether or not the "church" (parish in Orthodox terminology) has an over-all sense of "discipleship", but that correlates almost exactly to the Orthodox or Roman Catholic percentages. You have most parishes where people are there just to be there, you have a relative few where almost everyone is there to learn.

I speak from experience, in this instance. My family was the type that read the Bible a lot, to the point where I was constantly correcting the pastor (under my breath) at the age of ten, and we moved around at least once a year, so I had a broad exposure to many different Evangelical churches. We also tended to find churches where more people knew the Bible during the "shopping" phase. Even with this making the knowledge pool higher I'd say the percentage of people who actually knew the Bible was around 20%.  Evangelicals may have a few "stock" verses ready, such as John 3:16, but that's about it.
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« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2011, 07:04:21 PM »

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

Orthodoxy is a shell of its former self in most of those areas, what they need is good mission work, people coming in to rebuild these churches,catechize these people, and instructing the priests how to do the same!

What it comes down to 99% of the time is lack of proper instruction in their faith.
It's a delusion to think it was ever different. Other things were different, but theological ignorance has been always the same.

So you think the Romanian Orthodox as a whole have always been as "theologically ignorant" as they are now? On what basis?

I think 99% of all people are theologically ignorant. Evangelicals have it worse because their "born again" religion demands they always remain ignorant of actual theology while clamoring after "new ways" of hearing the same old thing.

Evangelicals are certainly more knowledgable about the bible than most Orthodox, that's for sure. At least their interpretation of it, anways.
In any Evangelical Sunday School class you're going to have one or two people that are heavily involved in the reading and ten to twenty who have no idea what's going. This might skew differently depending on whether or not the "church" (parish in Orthodox terminology) has an over-all sense of "discipleship", but that correlates almost exactly to the Orthodox or Roman Catholic percentages. You have most parishes where people are there just to be there, you have a relative few where almost everyone is there to learn.


Good point, its called a standard Bell curve, and it is generally what is found in any classroom setting, religious, secular or otherwise. 

Also, its really none of our business within Orthodox to define what is good and bad level or Orthodox commitment, that is only for us to examine within ourselves, and all we are allowed to do is positively (not antagonistically) encourage folks to up their game Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2011, 07:57:24 PM »

Quote from: John from the article
I stopped getting drunk, stopped smoking, stopped cursing [...] I had been born again.

The hallmarks of rebirth; defined in the negative.

Indeed. Also sounds a bit works righteousness ish.
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« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2011, 08:02:19 PM »


Also, its really none of our business within Orthodox to define what is good and bad level or Orthodox commitment, that is only for us to examine within ourselves, and all we are allowed to do is positively (not antagonistically) encourage folks to up their game Smiley


Just so! Excellent approach.

Ponder the example one is displaying.
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« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2011, 03:19:41 PM »

It was a church of illiterate peasants.

You know, I've been quite suspicious for a while now that a lot of what gets sold as Orthodoxy over here was cooked up in some seminary 30 years ago. Not all of it by any means, but quite a lot of the way things are "tweaked".
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« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2011, 03:38:30 PM »

if folks militantly insist that the Flesh and Blood of the Holy Communion is merely a symbol, they deny the very existence of Christ Himself

I cannot understand what you mean here.

First, what do you mean by "merely"? As a Baptist, I have always believed that the bread and wine are symbols. But why the word "merely"? Is it impossible for God to institute a symbol which, when enacted with repentance, reverence and faith in the Person and events which it symbolises, also simultaneously conveys spiritual grace?

Secondly, we have no awareness, when coming thus to the Table, that we may be deemed to be practical atheists or Unitarians. Your thought eludes me.

Thirdly, what do you mean by "militantly"? I have preached - probably when leading up to a Communion service - that, in my view, we Baptists ought to show more of the reverence Roman Catholics show for the housel. I have said that it sometimes seems to me that we, who hold the right doctrine, risk having the wrong heart, whilst they, holding the wrong doctrine, have a reverence we should emulate. Is this what you mean by "militant"?  I have also said that, unusually (for it is more often the other way round), it is on us Evangelicals that the burden of proof rests, for in this case it is we who are saying the scriptures are not intended to be taken literally, whilst it is the Catholics who insist that it is. (I say "Roman Catholics": when I talk about Orthodox, I get the impression people think the theme is somewhat odd and obscure, for you are little known here among the ordinary 'man in the pew'.) I do believe our Lord was speaking figuratively. I do not know whether Habte Selassie would see me as "militantly insisting" on the rightness of our beliefs in this matter.

As an additional comment (not on Habte Selassie's posts) some of the above posts present caricatures of what we are really like - and some, alas, have sunk below humour to sarcasm. Please remember that more flies are trapped by honey than by vinegar (or so it is said).
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« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2011, 04:49:32 PM »

It was a church of illiterate peasants.

You know, I've been quite suspicious for a while now that a lot of what gets sold as Orthodoxy over here was cooked up in some seminary 30 years ago. Not all of it by any means, but quite a lot of the way things are "tweaked".

For example?
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« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2011, 05:34:01 PM »

hi, david young,
as a former member of various protestant churches, i also thought we were doing the communion the right way, and knew it was something special. and i know that protestants don't deny Christ himself by their approach to Holy Communion.
but, you said yourself, it needs to be done more reverently, and that it 'conveys special grace'.
keep on this line of thinking, and work on it until you reach the logical conclusion i also reached a few years ago.
when Jesus said, 'my Body is food indeed and my Blood is drink indeed', he was hinting at a 'more than a symbol' situation.

all the early church writers believed the bread and wine was somehow the 'Body and Blood'. just keep researching...
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« Reply #42 on: September 11, 2011, 08:45:15 PM »

Is it impossible for God to institute a symbol which, when enacted with repentance, reverence and faith in the Person and events which it symbolises, also simultaneously conveys spiritual grace?

Do you mean that the elements have a salvific effect?
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« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2011, 09:56:16 PM »

If I ever left Orthodoxy it would be for atheism.
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« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2011, 02:30:40 AM »

If I ever left Orthodoxy it would be for atheism.

That's another religious position. Just be honest and go for agnosticism if it comes down to it.
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« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2011, 03:00:34 AM »

If I ever left Orthodoxy it would be for atheism.

That's another religious position. Just be honest and go for agnosticism if it comes down to it.
I've always been kind of a churchy agnostic. At the end, who knows?
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« Reply #46 on: September 12, 2011, 03:10:04 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?
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« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2011, 03:10:35 AM »

If I ever left Orthodoxy it would be for atheism.

That's another religious position. Just be honest and go for agnosticism if it comes down to it.
I've always been kind of a churchy agnostic. At the end, who knows?

lol its nice to know there's room in odoxy for those...
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« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2011, 03:11:31 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

who knows?  Grin
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« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2011, 03:24:46 AM »

Do you mean that the elements have a salvific effect?

I take 'salvific' to mean 'bringing salvation', so in the sense with which Orthodox tend to use the word salvation, perhaps yes; in the sense we tend to use it, no. I say "perhaps", for it ill becomes me to attempt here to explain Orthodox thinking! But I shall attempt to explain.

Setting aside for a moment the word salvation, let us consider a different biblical analogy, that of birth and growth. A baby is born, and from then on is gradually nourished over the years and decades and grows from infancy through childhood and adolescence to mature manhood. Likewise, a person is 'born again' (which I shall come back to in a moment) as a 'babe in Christ', and thereafter nourishes himself day by day, decade by decade, and grows in knowledge, experience, sanctity, faith, and stature as a mature Christian. We tend, in common (not technical, theological) parlance, to use the word salvation (or saved) of the birth, you (I believe) of the entire process including its completion in glory.

So, is the Eucharist salvific? Yes and no. It does not contribute to the birth - that is the work of the Holy Spirit upon a sinner, wrought through faith; but the Communion should indeed contribute to the growth. It is, to use a common phrase, one of "the means of grace".

To return to the term born again, I find it hard to know why so many previous posts on this thread - and on others, I seem to recall - speak so slightingly, one might say mockingly, of that sacred moment when a sinner, through God's grace, repents, believes, and is born again. In heaven, the angels rejoice. Ought not Orthodox on earth to do the same?
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« Reply #50 on: September 12, 2011, 05:01:13 AM »

hi, dear david young,
it's the same process you described in the birth of the child.
the birth is what we call 'being born again' and we believe it happens during baptism.
you are right, the process of life is salvation (for us).
so the process is similar.
i will add in my next post the Bible references for this belief.
 Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: September 12, 2011, 05:06:25 AM »

these verses (among others) convinced me that orthodox theology was correct.
a few years ago i was protestant.

Romans 5 verses 1 and 2: ‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’
James 2 verses 17 and 24: ‘faith without works is dead’ ‘a man is justified by works and not faith only’.
Matthew 6 verse 12: ‘forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors’.
James 5 verses 9 and 19-20: ‘Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!’ ‘Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.’
Philippians 2 verse 12: ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’
Philippians 1 verse 6: ‘ He who has begun a good work in you will complete it’.
1 Peter 1:9 : '..receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls'.
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« Reply #52 on: September 12, 2011, 06:08:07 AM »

we believe it happens during baptism.

My personal view is that somehow both you and we have separated the new birth and baptism too far from each other. We tend to leave it till a while after the new birth, and thus to emphasise baptism less than the NT does (despite our denominational title), whilst in infant baptism you bring it forward too far, that is, before faith. It seems to me - though I do not profess to understand it - that the two are far more closely linked in the NT than in either your church or ours. Believing abd being baptised should be much more intimately linked for us all.
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« Reply #53 on: September 12, 2011, 06:34:56 AM »

Do you mean that the elements have a salvific effect?

I take 'salvific' to mean 'bringing salvation', so in the sense with which Orthodox tend to use the word salvation, perhaps yes; in the sense we tend to use it, no. I say "perhaps", for it ill becomes me to attempt here to explain Orthodox thinking! But I shall attempt to explain.

Setting aside for a moment the word salvation, let us consider a different biblical analogy, that of birth and growth. A baby is born, and from then on is gradually nourished over the years and decades and grows from infancy through childhood and adolescence to mature manhood. Likewise, a person is 'born again' (which I shall come back to in a moment) as a 'babe in Christ', and thereafter nourishes himself day by day, decade by decade, and grows in knowledge, experience, sanctity, faith, and stature as a mature Christian. We tend, in common (not technical, theological) parlance, to use the word salvation (or saved) of the birth, you (I believe) of the entire process including its completion in glory.

So, is the Eucharist salvific? Yes and no. It does not contribute to the birth - that is the work of the Holy Spirit upon a sinner, wrought through faith; but the Communion should indeed contribute to the growth. It is, to use a common phrase, one of "the means of grace".

To return to the term born again, I find it hard to know why so many previous posts on this thread - and on others, I seem to recall - speak so slightingly, one might say mockingly, of that sacred moment when a sinner, through God's grace, repents, believes, and is born again. In heaven, the angels rejoice. Ought not Orthodox on earth to do the same?


There is a lot I like about this post. Thank you, Pastor David.
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« Reply #54 on: September 12, 2011, 06:50:55 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

who knows?  Grin
Well the angel named Moroni visited and...
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« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2011, 09:55:04 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

who knows?  Grin
Well the angel named Moroni visited and...

I had macaroni with cheese yesterday...so apparently he visited me too!
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« Reply #56 on: September 12, 2011, 10:17:44 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

Unknowable, it seems to me. If this is a cruicial aspect of worship then i have no helpful answer.

~ Dyhn
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« Reply #57 on: September 12, 2011, 10:22:58 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

This is one of a thousand things that we discuss in chat. Well, actually, orthonorm pushes us back and step and makes us explain what we mean by God to begin with. You must come more often. You must. Must.
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« Reply #58 on: September 12, 2011, 10:32:13 PM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

This is one of a thousand things that we discuss in chat. Well, actually, orthonorm pushes us back and step and makes us explain what we mean by God to begin with. You must come more often. You must. Must.

Cool what time do you guys normally get on the chat? I work overnight.
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« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2011, 01:23:23 AM »

So is God unknown or unknowable?

This is one of a thousand things that we discuss in chat. Well, actually, orthonorm pushes us back and step and makes us explain what we mean by God to begin with. You must come more often. You must. Must.

Cool what time do you guys normally get on the chat? I work overnight.

I dunno, I usually just watch from about 8pm to 1am (EST) to see if anyone posts in the oc.net thread on the board news section. Right now there's a few of us, but not a whole lot of conversation.
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