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Author Topic: Things you miss as a former Protestant  (Read 13274 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #225 on: January 21, 2012, 04:30:40 PM »

You feel sure it's seriously warped?

Remind me again how many of this style of church you've attended that inform your feelings?

Ah! You've caught me out. I've never been. I've seen a video about the "Toronto Blessing" with clips of one of more actual services, and I've been a member of a Christian hiking club with a wide range of Christians (Catholic to Exclusive Brethren), and of course I've heard the usual anecdotes, and am aware of some of the latest literature. I was among Pentecostals and Charismatics from 1966 to ca 1988 in various towns - with many of whom I had edifying fellowship in the Lord, and nothing weird. I confess it is all this that I am forming my opinion by, not by personally attending such events.

"I've seen a video..."
"I've been a member of a Christian hiking club..."
"I've heard the usual anecdotes..."
"I was among Pentecostals and Charismatics from 1966 to ca 1988..."

I think it's your flakey sources that are "seriously warped" and out of date, not the style of church.
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« Reply #226 on: January 21, 2012, 04:52:23 PM »

You feel sure it's seriously warped?

Remind me again how many of this style of church you've attended that inform your feelings?

Ah! You've caught me out. I've never been. I've seen a video about the "Toronto Blessing" with clips of one of more actual services, and I've been a member of a Christian hiking club with a wide range of Christians (Catholic to Exclusive Brethren), and of course I've heard the usual anecdotes, and am aware of some of the latest literature. I was among Pentecostals and Charismatics from 1966 to ca 1988 in various towns - with many of whom I had edifying fellowship in the Lord, and nothing weird. I confess it is all this that I am forming my opinion by, not by personally attending such events.

"I've seen a video..."
"I've been a member of a Christian hiking club..."
"I've heard the usual anecdotes..."
"I was among Pentecostals and Charismatics from 1966 to ca 1988..."

I think it's your flakey sources that are "seriously warped" and out of date, not the style of church.
FountainPen, please don't be harsh with our friend, David. Remind us again how many Orthodox churches you've attended that inform your feelings and opinions  Wink.
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« Reply #227 on: January 21, 2012, 06:22:14 PM »

your flakey sources that are "seriously warped" and out of date

Probably not that much out of date, and I think I have met people certainly from the fringes of that segment of Christianity, as well as talked with others, who perhaps know more than I do. I well recall staying the night at the home of a Pentecostal pastor, and his bewailing the Charismatic Movement of that time because he perceived it as phoney - not the gifts of the Spirit, in which, of course, he firmly believed, but what was going on under that name in the movement which largely arose and grew in the 1960s and today has become so widespread.

One must, I think, gather such information as one can and assess it to the best of one's ability and integrity. The alternative, surely, is to spend a lifetime experiencing first-hand every religion and every denial of religion, not excluding agnosticism, and then every 'segment' of the religion one fixes on as true - in the case of Christianity, Orthodox, Catholic, Calvinist, Arminian, Pentecostal, new-wave megachurches, to mention just a few. One would be forever learning and never coming either to the truth or even to a stable decision.

If the features of which I have heard or read, and which some of you have reported on this thread, are indeed true, then yes, I see that form of Christianity as warped. I am not saying it is peopled by unsaved people who all currently lie outside of God's love and grace, but I am saying that the churches are seriously dissimilar from New Testament churches, not simply in cultural terms, but in fundamental attitudes to God and his service and worship.

And even if my sources are so flakey that they correspond to nothing in the real world, it would still be true (IMHO), that if ever such churches as some of these posts portray should come into existence, their religion would at best be a warped version of the apostolic faith once delivered to the saints.
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« Reply #228 on: January 21, 2012, 06:33:40 PM »

I think I'm more interested in how David has kept his Christian faith and what he forsees in the future on the state of Christianity in England.
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« Reply #229 on: January 22, 2012, 01:14:33 AM »

I will quickly add here that despite my earlier defense of the depth and intentions of the mega-church culture, which i do believe to be sincere, that what I don't miss about being a Protestant is the tendency to view the sacraments as merely symbolic. This I think is the tendency that allows a church to reposition the main sunday service as an outreach service rather than a service centered on the distribution of the Eucharist and the worship of God.
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« Reply #230 on: January 22, 2012, 01:17:47 AM »

It's funny you bring up Mega-Churches. And as much as Orthodox Christians love to scoff at them, I'm sorry but there is alot of good things Joel Osteen has to say about living one's life, postively.

There is alot of negativity, pessimism and skepticsm that I feel is a hinderance as a human being. Before even thinking about Orthodoxy, I actually adopted some of the things Joel had to say as a life coach and I'm truly convinced in the power of positive thinking.

Now if he can get his biblical stories in line...
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« Reply #231 on: January 22, 2012, 01:58:41 AM »

It's funny you bring up Mega-Churches. And as much as Orthodox Christians love to scoff at them, I'm sorry but there is alot of good things Joel Osteen has to say about living one's life, postively.

There is alot of negativity, pessimism and skepticsm that I feel is a hinderance as a human being. Before even thinking about Orthodoxy, I actually adopted some of the things Joel had to say as a life coach and I'm truly convinced in the power of positive thinking.

Now if he can get his biblical stories in line...

i've said it before, he's one of my guilty pleasures...
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« Reply #232 on: January 22, 2012, 04:54:18 AM »

You feel sure it's seriously warped?

Remind me again how many of this style of church you've attended that inform your feelings?

Ah! You've caught me out. I've never been. I've seen a video about the "Toronto Blessing" with clips of one of more actual services, and I've been a member of a Christian hiking club with a wide range of Christians (Catholic to Exclusive Brethren), and of course I've heard the usual anecdotes, and am aware of some of the latest literature. I was among Pentecostals and Charismatics from 1966 to ca 1988 in various towns - with many of whom I had edifying fellowship in the Lord, and nothing weird. I confess it is all this that I am forming my opinion by, not by personally attending such events.

"I've seen a video..."
"I've been a member of a Christian hiking club..."
"I've heard the usual anecdotes..."
"I was among Pentecostals and Charismatics from 1966 to ca 1988..."

I think it's your flakey sources that are "seriously warped" and out of date, not the style of church.
FountainPen, please don't be harsh with our friend, David. Remind us again how many Orthodox churches you've attended that inform your feelings and opinions  Wink.

None, which is why i wouldn't call the Orthodox church "seriously warped".
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« Reply #233 on: January 22, 2012, 05:05:44 AM »


One must, I think, gather such information as one can and assess it to the best of one's ability and integrity. The alternative, surely, is to spend a lifetime experiencing first-hand every religion...

The alternative, surely, is to reserve one's harsh judgement until one has information from sources other than youtube videos and social clubs from the 1980s.
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« Reply #234 on: January 22, 2012, 02:29:03 PM »

Quote
author=FountainPen link=topic=40053.msg697801#msg697801

...sources other than youtube videos and social clubs from the 1980s.

Quite so. I have never been on Youtube, nor do I recall being a member of any social clubs as far back as the 1980s.
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« Reply #235 on: January 22, 2012, 02:44:54 PM »


One must, I think, gather such information as one can and assess it to the best of one's ability and integrity. The alternative, surely, is to spend a lifetime experiencing first-hand every religion...

The alternative, surely, is to reserve one's harsh judgement until one has information from sources other than youtube videos and social clubs from the 1980s.

So... how close does the experience have to be to be considered "relevant"? Does my experience with mega-churches as recently as 2005 count, or is that too dated? I suppose my experience with the mega-churches in the 1990s is right out (though I would consider it valuable, especially as it shows a certain trend, a type of graph if you would, where "enjoyment events" is on the rise, while "depth of teaching" tends to plummet). We already know my experience with the 1980s is right out.

Do I currently have to be attending a megachurch to pass any sort of judgement? Can I not just judge by the fruits? Isn't this whole line of thought as silly as saying that if I am not a member of the Communist Party then I have no right to judge Karl Marx's economic philosophies?
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« Reply #236 on: January 22, 2012, 02:45:33 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
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« Reply #237 on: January 22, 2012, 02:46:33 PM »

...the tendency to view the sacraments as merely symbolic.

Yes, that is a widespread view, but not of course the only one. We have only two sacraments (or ordinances): baptism and the Lord's Supper. Those of us who view them as sacramental do not do so in the same way as Orthodox do. I am less well versed in Historical Theology than I should like to be, but I believe that the symbolic view is relatively recent, perhaps being popularised by the early Brethren and Pentecostals and spreading thence to other Evangelical communities. Personally I do see the two ordinances as having a sacramental nature, but that is also a fairly recent development in my own thinking, no doubt largely through the influence of you good people.
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« Reply #238 on: January 22, 2012, 02:48:06 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.
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« Reply #239 on: January 22, 2012, 02:53:36 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

Oh well...too late to get plugged back into the matrix now! Wink Onwards we must go...
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« Reply #240 on: January 22, 2012, 02:56:37 PM »

I think I'm more interested in how David has kept his Christian faith and what he forsees in the future on the state of Christianity in England.

One keeps one's faith through daily prayer, reading of scripture, fellowship with other believers, regular attendance at public worship - rather as in Acts 2!

The future of Christianity in England? Today I preached at a village Baptist church: twelve souls in the morning, five in the afternoon, were present. Illness and work kept some away, but only about twice that number would be present if they were all there. Not a megachurch - no need for bouncers!

My expectation - if God does not send revival? People commuting to churches in the towns, and the villages and countryside largely without any real witness. Even in many of the towns, people not finding a church after their taste, but Baptists worshipping at Anglican churches, Anglicans at Baptist, Brethren at unaffliliated local Evangelical churches, a smattering of scattered Methodists finding a spiritual home wherever they can... and so on. Picture a wall-map of the land, and small lights representing the remaining churches true to the Faith: it will largely be in darkness, the lights scattered as remaining believers cluster in towns.

But of course, God can and may send revival: for that we pray, and meanwhile we strive to keep the lamps flickering wherever we can. "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion... and are not grieved over the ruin," as the prophet wrote.
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« Reply #241 on: January 22, 2012, 07:10:31 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.
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« Reply #242 on: January 22, 2012, 07:19:31 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.

You must not have met many Protestants, then. Growing up, I knew more than a few who not only believed that everything in the Bible was 100% literal but that the Bible was also written from Old Testament to New in KJV English.
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« Reply #243 on: January 22, 2012, 07:21:44 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.

You must not have met many Protestants, then. Growing up, I knew more than a few who not only believed that everything in the Bible was 100% literal but that the Bible was also written from Old Testament to New in KJV English.

well except for John chapter 6, right? Wink
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« Reply #244 on: January 22, 2012, 07:22:16 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.

You must not have met many Protestants, then. Growing up, I knew more than a few who not only believed that everything in the Bible was 100% literal but that the Bible was also written from Old Testament to New in KJV English.

#mouth open
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« Reply #245 on: January 22, 2012, 07:24:07 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.

You must not have met many Protestants, then. Growing up, I knew more than a few who not only believed that everything in the Bible was 100% literal but that the Bible was also written from Old Testament to New in KJV English.

well except for John chapter 6, right? Wink

Oh very quick  Wink
I shall be interested in the continuation of that discussion when the thread is unlocked.
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« Reply #246 on: January 22, 2012, 07:30:04 PM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.

You must not have met many Protestants, then. Growing up, I knew more than a few who not only believed that everything in the Bible was 100% literal but that the Bible was also written from Old Testament to New in KJV English.

#mouth open

Don't be too surprised. We live in a country where 50% of people believe in aliens and 80% of them believe the government is covering up alien contact.

Please keep in mind, too, that many of us come from Protestant backgrounds, and have experience with more than just one denomination. My family was on the evangelist circuit and before I was 12 I had experience with everything from KJV-only age of miracles is over Baptists to snake-handling Pentecostals. There are very few forms of Evangelical weirdness I haven't been exposed to.
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« Reply #247 on: January 23, 2012, 01:25:51 AM »


One must, I think, gather such information as one can and assess it to the best of one's ability and integrity. The alternative, surely, is to spend a lifetime experiencing first-hand every religion...

The alternative, surely, is to reserve one's harsh judgement until one has information from sources other than youtube videos and social clubs from the 1980s.

So... how close does the experience have to be to be considered "relevant"? Does my experience with mega-churches as recently as 2005 count, or is that too dated? I suppose my experience with the mega-churches in the 1990s is right out (though I would consider it valuable, especially as it shows a certain trend, a type of graph if you would, where "enjoyment events" is on the rise, while "depth of teaching" tends to plummet). We already know my experience with the 1980s is right out.

Do I currently have to be attending a megachurch to pass any sort of judgement? Can I not just judge by the fruits? Isn't this whole line of thought as silly as saying that if I am not a member of the Communist Party then I have no right to judge Karl Marx's economic philosophies?

I for one would say that your experience counts for something and would ask, since your experience with mega-churches seems much more recent than mine and perhaps more in depth as well, has it really sunken so much? What I remember from my time was very sincere and had depth, what I've seen since in smaller churches emulating them is the same, but as I say your closer than I, so what say you?
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« Reply #248 on: January 23, 2012, 01:30:46 AM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

Oh well...too late to get plugged back into the matrix now! Wink Onwards we must go...
Yes more into brains exploding over Christological issues. Did Christ really feel hungry? I mean for crying out loud who cares this much about this stuff. I honestly can't wrap my head around it, I wish I had that much time on my hands.
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« Reply #249 on: January 23, 2012, 01:35:46 AM »

I think I'm more interested in how David has kept his Christian faith and what he forsees in the future on the state of Christianity in England.

One keeps one's faith through daily prayer, reading of scripture, fellowship with other believers, regular attendance at public worship - rather as in Acts 2!
But English moral relativism is so tempting David. Wait.

Quote
The future of Christianity in England? Today I preached at a village Baptist church: twelve souls in the morning, five in the afternoon, were present. Illness and work kept some away, but only about twice that number would be present if they were all there. Not a megachurch - no need for bouncers!

My expectation - if God does not send revival? People commuting to churches in the towns, and the villages and countryside largely without any real witness. Even in many of the towns, people not finding a church after their taste, but Baptists worshipping at Anglican churches, Anglicans at Baptist, Brethren at unaffliliated local Evangelical churches, a smattering of scattered Methodists finding a spiritual home wherever they can... and so on. Picture a wall-map of the land, and small lights representing the remaining churches true to the Faith: it will largely be in darkness, the lights scattered as remaining believers cluster in towns.

But of course, God can and may send revival: for that we pray, and meanwhile we strive to keep the lamps flickering wherever we can. "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion... and are not grieved over the ruin," as the prophet wrote.
I am firmly in the belief that the majority of people will not lose faith in the existence of God. Like St. Paul says it is sewn within all of our hearts. I think what needs to happen is a cultural collapse of England and really expose why all this liberalism and "free thought" doesn't do anyone good. Then you will see a mass revival, God willing of course.

God bless you! I pray for my English brethren and sistren all the time, it is my favorite country.
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« Reply #250 on: January 23, 2012, 01:40:45 AM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

I've never met any Protestant that believes everything in the bible is literal.
Come meet my Dad and his new wife. Actually come meet more than half of all Christians in this country.

Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Revelation was never to be taken literally.
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« Reply #251 on: January 23, 2012, 01:46:56 AM »

...the tendency to view the sacraments as merely symbolic.

Yes, that is a widespread view, but not of course the only one. We have only two sacraments (or ordinances): baptism and the Lord's Supper. Those of us who view them as sacramental do not do so in the same way as Orthodox do. I am less well versed in Historical Theology than I should like to be, but I believe that the symbolic view is relatively recent, perhaps being popularised by the early Brethren and Pentecostals and spreading thence to other Evangelical communities. Personally I do see the two ordinances as having a sacramental nature, but that is also a fairly recent development in my own thinking, no doubt largely through the influence of you good people.

Okay, so there's something else I don't miss, "Yes, that is a widespread view, but not of course the only one." Still I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?
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« Reply #252 on: January 23, 2012, 02:49:27 AM »


One must, I think, gather such information as one can and assess it to the best of one's ability and integrity. The alternative, surely, is to spend a lifetime experiencing first-hand every religion...

The alternative, surely, is to reserve one's harsh judgement until one has information from sources other than youtube videos and social clubs from the 1980s.

So... how close does the experience have to be to be considered "relevant"? Does my experience with mega-churches as recently as 2005 count, or is that too dated? I suppose my experience with the mega-churches in the 1990s is right out (though I would consider it valuable, especially as it shows a certain trend, a type of graph if you would, where "enjoyment events" is on the rise, while "depth of teaching" tends to plummet). We already know my experience with the 1980s is right out.

Do I currently have to be attending a megachurch to pass any sort of judgement? Can I not just judge by the fruits? Isn't this whole line of thought as silly as saying that if I am not a member of the Communist Party then I have no right to judge Karl Marx's economic philosophies?

I for one would say that your experience counts for something and would ask, since your experience with mega-churches seems much more recent than mine and perhaps more in depth as well, has it really sunken so much? What I remember from my time was very sincere and had depth, what I've seen since in smaller churches emulating them is the same, but as I say your closer than I, so what say you?

Let's put it like this- this is so accurate it might as well be a documentary.

Don't get me wrong- there was a period when I found the whole mega-non-denom thing appealing, and it was very easy to mistake a "personal religion" for depth, given that I'd never really had a reason to suspect that such a thing as proper ecclesiology could exist. That period was not 2005, by that point I only attended such churches because I was visiting family and didn't have the "I have my own church to go to" excuse. But during my teenage years it was like a diet of candy and cheeseburgers.
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« Reply #253 on: January 23, 2012, 02:49:44 AM »

One thing I miss...ignorance. Ignorance is bliss....  angel
Yes it is. To believe everything in the Bible literally and to have such a simple faith was really a blessing I feel.

Oh well...too late to get plugged back into the matrix now! Wink Onwards we must go...
Yes more into brains exploding over Christological issues. Did Christ really feel hungry? I mean for crying out loud who cares this much about this stuff. I honestly can't wrap my head around it, I wish I had that much time on my hands.

haha...no u don't Tongue
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« Reply #254 on: January 23, 2012, 03:59:35 AM »

Did Christ really feel hungry? I mean for crying out loud who cares this much about this stuff.

Surely what lies behind such speculation is the heresy of Docetism - that Christ only seemed to be human, but wasn't really. Compare the English version of Luther's hymn (I haven't seen the German original) Away in a manger: "The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes." The only baby that wouldn't cry is one who is not truly human. (Not that Luther was a Docetist, but that line is sentimental slush on the brink, nay the start of the slope, of heresy.) The notion that Christ was never hungry gainsays the Nicene Creed, and as the "tip of an iceberg" it is indeed important. But it has no place in a comparison between Orthodoxy and Protestantism, as we both hold firmly to the humanity of our Lord. (Otherwise we Baptists would be heretics, wouldn't we?  Wink)
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« Reply #255 on: January 23, 2012, 04:02:51 AM »

I am firmly in the belief that the majority of people will not lose faith in the existence of God. Like St. Paul says it is sewn within all of our hearts. I think what needs to happen is a cultural collapse of England and really expose why all this liberalism and "free thought" doesn't do anyone good. Then you will see a mass revival, God willing

I think many Christians here would echo your words precisely. Keep up your prayers for us!
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« Reply #256 on: January 23, 2012, 04:33:02 AM »

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.
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« Reply #257 on: January 23, 2012, 12:05:09 PM »

...I am not saying it is peopled by unsaved people who all currently lie outside of God's love and grace, but I am saying that the churches are seriously dissimilar from New Testament churches, not simply in cultural terms, but in fundamental attitudes to God and his service and worship.

...their religion would at best be a warped version of the apostolic faith once delivered to the saints.

Funnily enough, that's pretty much what I think of most Protestant denominations.
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« Reply #258 on: January 23, 2012, 12:23:00 PM »

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.


and you're baptist??  Shocked
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« Reply #259 on: January 23, 2012, 12:38:30 PM »

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.


and you're baptist??  Shocked
Ah but remember as a Protestant, you are not responsible for your beliefs. You may slap on any label you want and not have to answer for it.

I know this much, my old Baptist preacher would call a hell-bound calvinist for such a statement.
PP
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« Reply #260 on: January 23, 2012, 12:46:50 PM »

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.


and you're baptist??  Shocked
Ah but remember as a Protestant, you are not responsible for your beliefs. You may slap on any label you want and not have to answer for it.

I know this much, my old Baptist preacher would call a hell-bound calvinist for such a statement.
PP

it seems there is such a thing as "reformed baptists" now...and has been for some time...who'd a thunk it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_Baptists
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« Reply #261 on: January 23, 2012, 12:55:25 PM »

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.


and you're baptist??  Shocked
Ah but remember as a Protestant, you are not responsible for your beliefs. You may slap on any label you want and not have to answer for it.

I know this much, my old Baptist preacher would call a hell-bound calvinist for such a statement.
PP

it seems there is such a thing as "reformed baptists" now...and has been for some time...who'd a thunk it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_Baptists
Ah but remember, the reformation was instituted by God...... Roll Eyes


PP
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« Reply #262 on: January 23, 2012, 01:22:49 PM »

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

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.


Thank you for this, this was very enlightening as to the potential for meaning and depth retained by Christians who believe only in a symbolic Eucharist.  Grace is from God, and it is not limited to our understanding.  If folks believe in the Grace underlying the Holy Communion, symbol or literal, then they are on the right track.  We in the Church could also learn a bit from this, we divide each other by arbitrary lines of dogma, history, and doctrinal dispute, and then audaciously deny the Sacramental Grace is present in "the others" services because of the issues with doctrine, when we all in Orthodox agree that the Grace of the Mysteries is not dependent upon the comprehension or understanding of the person receiving them, at the end of the day, this realistically could be applied even to the clergy who celebrate.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #263 on: January 23, 2012, 03:25:35 PM »

it seems there is such a thing as "reformed baptists" now...and has been for some time...who'd a thunk it?

I tease them (if I know them well enough) by saying their title is an oxymoron. The Reformers believed in a State church, infant baptism, and persecuted people who disagreed with them. These are not Baptist principles!

What they mean is, I think, twofold: they are strong predestinarians (holding the whole of TULIP), and they admire the ethos of the early Reformers in terms of reverence, the sovreignty of God in all things, a deep sense of sin, serious worship, the priority of preaching etc. (Before I'm told my thought is too flakey, let me say I spent many years from 1971 onwards, in fellowship among such folk, and still preach among them from time to time.)

It also seems to me that the very fact they have devised a new name for themselves points to a lack of location for them in history. What was wrong with the original title Particular Baptist, still used by some, and of long pegidree?
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« Reply #264 on: January 23, 2012, 03:41:12 PM »

Quote
I tease them (if I know them well enough) by saying their title is an oxymoron. The Reformers believed in a State church, infant baptism, and persecuted people who disagreed with them. These are not Baptist principles!
True

Quote
ey are strong predestinarians (holding the whole of TULIP), and they admire the ethos of the early Reformers in terms of reverence, the sovreignty of God in all things, a deep sense of sin, serious worship, the priority of preaching etc. (Before I'm told my thought is too flakey, let me say I spent many years from 1971 onwards, in fellowship among such folk, and still preach among them from time to time
The thing is, that the Baptists have such close roots to Calvinism, Im not surprised. My old pastor, who calls himself 100% Baptist adheres to many Calvinist principles. Alot of baptists have calvinist leanings.

Quote
It also seems to me that the very fact they have devised a new name for themselves points to a lack of location for them in history.
Something Orthodox could say about Baptists as well.

PP

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« Reply #265 on: January 23, 2012, 05:22:43 PM »

the Baptists have such close roots to Calvinism,... Alot of baptists have calvinist leanings.

English Baptists began in Holland in 1611 or 1612, among a group of emigrés. They soon returned to England and formed the first Baptist church in this country. They were Arminian, believing that Christ died to make salvation possible for everyone, and so were called General Baptists, holding that Christ died for all men generally.

A few years later, in 1633, a second 'stream' of English Baptist life began with the formation of the first Baptist church which held the TULIP doctrines, that is, that Christ died only for the elect. They were called Particular Baptists, believing that Christ died only for particular people (unconditionally elected by God before the world was made). The Particular Baptists became the much more numerous group.

Neither group ever accepted the principles of the Reformers to such an extent as to teach a territorial State church, infant baptism, and legally enforced compulsion to conform. Rather, they taught (and still teach) the voluntary association of baptised believers in autonomous local churches. That is why I believe that this newish title "Reformed Baptist" is oxymoronic.
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« Reply #266 on: January 23, 2012, 09:08:40 PM »

What was wrong with the original title Particular Baptist, still used by some, and of long pedigree?
I have a Baptist minister friend who refers to himself as a Particular Baptist. He's staunchly confessional (London, 1689, of course), but also one of the most ecumenical people I know... But if you came from a family that represented independent Baptists, the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church, paganism, Masonic rites and Orthodoxy, I imagine you would have learned the art of finessing a conversation about religion long ago.
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« Reply #267 on: January 23, 2012, 10:25:14 PM »


One must, I think, gather such information as one can and assess it to the best of one's ability and integrity. The alternative, surely, is to spend a lifetime experiencing first-hand every religion...

The alternative, surely, is to reserve one's harsh judgement until one has information from sources other than youtube videos and social clubs from the 1980s.

So... how close does the experience have to be to be considered "relevant"? Does my experience with mega-churches as recently as 2005 count, or is that too dated? I suppose my experience with the mega-churches in the 1990s is right out (though I would consider it valuable, especially as it shows a certain trend, a type of graph if you would, where "enjoyment events" is on the rise, while "depth of teaching" tends to plummet). We already know my experience with the 1980s is right out.

Do I currently have to be attending a megachurch to pass any sort of judgement? Can I not just judge by the fruits? Isn't this whole line of thought as silly as saying that if I am not a member of the Communist Party then I have no right to judge Karl Marx's economic philosophies?

I for one would say that your experience counts for something and would ask, since your experience with mega-churches seems much more recent than mine and perhaps more in depth as well, has it really sunken so much? What I remember from my time was very sincere and had depth, what I've seen since in smaller churches emulating them is the same, but as I say your closer than I, so what say you?

Let's put it like this- this is so accurate it might as well be a documentary.

Don't get me wrong- there was a period when I found the whole mega-non-denom thing appealing, and it was very easy to mistake a "personal religion" for depth, given that I'd never really had a reason to suspect that such a thing as proper ecclesiology could exist. That period was not 2005, by that point I only attended such churches because I was visiting family and didn't have the "I have my own church to go to" excuse. But during my teenage years it was like a diet of candy and cheeseburgers.

Wow, that's too bad, sorry to hear it, but thanks for the update.
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« Reply #268 on: January 23, 2012, 11:00:32 PM »

I'm curious what other view is there that's not viewing sacraments as symbolic, but is also not in the same way the Orthodox do?

People write whole books on this, so one post by me cannot do it justice, even if my head contained sufficient knowledge (which it doesn't). However, there is a spectrum of belief, one position sliding into the next. Starting (as the western church did) with the Roman view of transubstantiation, one moves to Luther's notion of consubstantiation - not that I understand it! - then on to Calvin's view wherein, if I express it aright, the 'elements' retain only their natural essence and nature, but they actually convey to the partaker the grace which they symbolise, providing of course he does not "eat and drink unworthily" as Paul puts it. Then you move further along the spectrum to the view of the elements as bare symbols. This view seems to me to have become the dominant one at least among "the man in the pew".

Now, for what it's worth (which is probably very little) I myself tend to the view attributed to Calvin, that the taking of the elements really does convey to the partaker the grace of which they speak. I would also add that I do not think God's giving of the grace is dependent on the doctrinal understanding of the communicant, but rather on his humility of repentance and ardour of faith in Christ Himself: if these be present at the Table, God (I believe) gives the same grace to all, whether they hold the Eastern Orthodox view or the Brethren view, or a view which lies somewhere between. God blesses the sacrament/ordinance because he sees the heart's devotion, not the head's dogma. This is why I personally would have taken communion at the Orthodox Church in Gjirokastër, had it been permitted, and would be more than happy to welcome some of you good people to the Table when I preside at our local Baptist church here in Wrexham (or elsewhere), if you were willing to come.


And you didn't think you could explain it well. Grin Seriously though, thank you for the explanation.  Smiley This is again part of what I don't miss about Protestantism, which brought me to Orthodoxy, too many sincere but conflicted views held by very intelligent, well studied, men all based on the same Bible.
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« Reply #269 on: January 24, 2012, 11:42:23 AM »

This is again part of what I don't miss about Protestantism, which brought me to Orthodoxy, too many sincere but conflicted views held by very intelligent, well studied, men all based on the same Bible.

This is, in fact, the beginning of my journey to Orthodoxy. How intelligent, devout, God-loving people of faith could earnestly study the Scriptures and come up with totally different (and often diametrically opposed) interpretations (not just about details, but about major issues) exposed the contradictions and limitations of Protestant theology. It's all opinions - one person's no better or "more correct" than any other's.
My question was, then how do you know?
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
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