Lately I've been watching many Youtube videos from this man Chris White, who goes on YouTube by the name of Knowwheretorun1984. He is a highly skilled Evangelical Christian apologist who is well versed in end time prophecy and conspiracy theories (interests of mine),as well as refutations of New Age and occult practices of the current era.
I posted a thread recently where I linked to his video about 2012, and in it he elaborated on how he believes that in the end times the Antichrist will deceive the established churches (ie, Catholic and Orthodox) into believing the Antichrist. I recently Youtube messaged him. This is what I sent to him.
First off I would like to say that I think that your videos are very interesting and many of them I enjoy very much. Today I watched your 2012 "enlightenment" videos, and I came across the claim you made where you said that the institutional churches will accept this supposed Christ and that the Bible is wrong. By this do you mean that all Catholic and Orthodox leaders are not true Christians? Do you think that no Catholic or Orthodox is a true Christian? If so, what are the marks of a true Christian?
This is the audio response that he sent me. Please listen to it before replying, as he makes claims about the Orthodox Church specifically.http://conspiracyclothes.com/nowheretorun/email/New%20folder/malive.mp3
In response, this is what I wrote to him.
"Thanks for replying, I cant say I agree with everything you have said, but I do thank you for replying.
There are a couple points that I would like to raise.
The main reason that Catholics and Orthodox don't stress a single conversion experience is because that it wasnt really taught in the early church fathers. The majority of ancient fathers interpreted the discourse on rebirth with Jesus and Nicodemus as referring to baptism. Catholics and Orthodox (Orthodox especially)stress "daily" conversion experiences, saying that one should die to themselves every day. You see the single conversion experience logic arising out of the Great Awakening era in Christian history.
Lets put it like this. One is born a Christian, baptized as a baby, raised by his parents and his clergy in the tenets of the faith. He lives a truly Christian life, trust in Christ for his salvation, and truly has deeds to show for it. Is he not a Christian just because he never had an initial conversion experience?
Another point I would like to raise is that of the penal satisfaction theory of Christ's atonement that you mentioned.
The more you study Christian history the more you see that there are several different "theories" on what Christ's salvific work on the cross accomplished. Some, however, arose later than others. Penal satisfaction (that is, the idea that God poured out his wrath on Christ as he suffered on the cross)is one of those "late-comers". You see references to a "substitutionary" element in the Bible and the Fathers (especially Augustine), but it was truly elaborated upon in the 11th century by Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm. It was then developed even more by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. I myself believe that no theory on what happened on the cross can truly explain it in full.
Here is a good article on the atonement and the many different viewpoints of the early Christians, from an Orthodox point of view:
And on interpreting the Bible allegorically, I think there are many passages in the Bible which could be interpreted as allegory, but when it comes to the life and teachings of Christ, there is no room for compromise. If someone comes along and claims that Christ was only one of many who reached a certain "Christ consciousness", and that that someone is that consciousness in the flesh, I highly doubt anyone in the Orthodox and Catholic camps will believe that, as its basically separating the Jesus from the Christ, which is exactly what Nestorius (condemned as a heretic by the Council of Ephesus)did. And even if many high-level ecumenist Orthodox and Catholic leaders accept this, I am almost certain that many monks, humble laity, clergy, and other bishops will never fall for it.
Thank you again for responding. I hope we can continue this discussion, and I hope you will reply again soon.
I'm sure it was an alright response, but Im not even sure if I meant what I've said. I read Volnutt's new thread yesterday and I am in his EXACT position. I have trained myself to think that the Orthodox view of Christianity is the correct view, without actually examining it in the Bible and actually reading the Fathers myself. To quote Volnutt, in my response to Chris I spit out the "pop-Orthodox apologetic", honestly without even understanding what I was saying.
Back to my main point, what Chris stressed most in his audio response, for those of you who listened to it have heard, is "the Gospel". He blatantly said that Orthodox Christians do not teach "the Gospel", which in his view is penal satisfaction/substitution; that God needed to punish sinners, and he instead gave us His Son, who was crucified, being punished in our place so God's wrath could be satisfied, and that if we believe in faith that Jesus died for our sins, and if we truly repent, we are saved.
A simple look at the Bible for any person can show that THIS is the message of salvation preached in the Bible. The Bible says clearly that the penalty for sin is death. Yes Jesus broke death in his resurrection, but it was in his death that he paid the penalty.
The Orthodox message of salvation, or at least the way I view it, is too complicated for me. The Orthodox seem to preach that yes salvation is by grace, but grace must be worked with and that in order to be fully saved you have to be fully sanctified. Where is the simple message of salvation that the Bible seems to teach in Orthodoxy? Whatever happened to "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved"? Why does understanding Orthodoxy require so much study, intellectualism, learning, Christology, Soteriology, Atonement-ology, whatever; why has Orthodoxy made a science out of the simple Gospel message that should be understood by any five year old?
In my heart I have known for a while that the Bible (the way I see it at least) and Orthodoxy don't seem to match up in my eyes. I WANT to believe Orthodoxy is true, I really do. I have seen so much beauty and wonderful tradition in Orthodoxy, I really want to believe its right. Maybe that's what it has come to, what I MYSELF want. I want liturgy, smells and bells, chanting, tradition, ancient-ness, history, etc; but is that what GOD wants for me? Honestly, I really dont know. Its hard for me to hear the voice of God.
Maybe I need to talk to a priest, visit a church, sit in on a catechism class, maybe read through a catechism myself. But as for now, I just cant see the message of Orthodox salvation matching up with the Gospel that is preached in the Bible.
So, after my rant, maybe I have it all wrong. If I do, tell me, what is "the Gospel" to an Orthodox? And is it really the Gospel that is preached in the Bible?
PS- I know that some of the things I have said seem very judgemental and critical of Orthodoxy. That is not what I intend. I am truly struggling with this.