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Author Topic: Oriental Orthodoxy and the Charismatic movement...  (Read 1711 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 09, 2010, 04:47:04 AM »

Hey guys! I was originally Seafra but in an attempt to organize my online alias's I made a new account. For those who don't know me, I am currently somewhere in Limbo of protestant and Orthodox. I came to the International House of Prayer almost a year ago now and since then have studied and grown to love orthodoxy! I have a couple questions to be answered but and heavily considering converting. One question that has really laid on my mind as of late is due to a "Move of God" thats been taking place here at IHOP since about a month or two after i came here. IHOP is a Charismatic interdenominational place. The focus is solely on 24/7 Prayer but after the community got so big a church was formed. Now from my understandings Eastern Orthodoxy is split over the issue of the charismatic movement some support and accept while others deny and reject. I was curious as to the OOC's stance? I know that Orthodoxy on a whole believes in the Gifts, Personally i have prophesied and prayed for healing and seen those prayers answered immediately, but certain ones in EOC Say thats not possible because i don't have the Holy Spirit. He says that only Monks are capable to operate in the Gifts of the Spirit. Personally i find that to be anti-biblical which i don't believe Holy Tradition is supposed to be, so I was looking for more input. More importantly on my mind is this supposed manifestation of the Holy spirit, Some people I trust and are very intimate with co into these manifestations, so its hard for me to dismiss. I have heard people justify them using King Saul when the Spirit of the Lord rushed on him and the classic day of Pentecost. Personally i have never experienced this and kinda don't want to, but am curious to hear about orthodoxies history with the charismatic experiences. I know protestants can confirm such manifestations in almost every generation... Thanks guys!
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« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 02:00:41 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 05:22:34 AM »

Hey guys! I was originally Seafra but in an attempt to organize my online alias's I made a new account. For those who don't know me, I am currently somewhere in Limbo of protestant and Orthodox. I came to the International House of Prayer almost a year ago now and since then have studied and grown to love orthodoxy! I have a couple questions to be answered but and heavily considering converting. One question that has really laid on my mind as of late is due to a "Move of God" thats been taking place here at IHOP since about a month or two after i came here. IHOP is a Charismatic interdenominational place. The focus is solely on 24/7 Prayer but after the community got so big a church was formed. Now from my understandings Eastern Orthodoxy is split over the issue of the charismatic movement some support and accept while others deny and reject. I was curious as to the OOC's stance? I know that Orthodoxy on a whole believes in the Gifts, Personally i have prophesied and prayed for healing and seen those prayers answered immediately, but certain ones in EOC Say thats not possible because i don't have the Holy Spirit. He says that only Monks are capable to operate in the Gifts of the Spirit. Personally i find that to be anti-biblical which i don't believe Holy Tradition is supposed to be, so I was looking for more input. More importantly on my mind is this supposed manifestation of the Holy spirit, Some people I trust and are very intimate with co into these manifestations, so its hard for me to dismiss. I have heard people justify them using King Saul when the Spirit of the Lord rushed on him and the classic day of Pentecost. Personally i have never experienced this and kinda don't want to, but am curious to hear about orthodoxies history with the charismatic experiences. I know protestants can confirm such manifestations in almost every generation... Thanks guys!
LOL. Protestants, at most, show up in the second millenium, which leaves the whole millenium after Christ in the very least that Protestants, not existing, can confirm anything.

That the unknown exorcist could cast out demons didn't make him an Apostle. And that's a danger. Acts 19:15.

But you are right: many non-monks in the Orthodox Church have prayers answered, perform healing etc.  The Orthodox Church of Georgia, a whole autocephalous Church, was founded by a woman who did such things, St. Nino Equal-to-the-Apostles.
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2010, 05:39:34 AM »

Hey guys! I was originally Seafra but in an attempt to organize my online alias's I made a new account. For those who don't know me, I am currently somewhere in Limbo of protestant and Orthodox. I came to the International House of Prayer almost a year ago now and since then have studied and grown to love orthodoxy! I have a couple questions to be answered but and heavily considering converting. One question that has really laid on my mind as of late is due to a "Move of God" thats been taking place here at IHOP since about a month or two after i came here. IHOP is a Charismatic interdenominational place. The focus is solely on 24/7 Prayer but after the community got so big a church was formed. Now from my understandings Eastern Orthodoxy is split over the issue of the charismatic movement some support and accept while others deny and reject. I was curious as to the OOC's stance? I know that Orthodoxy on a whole believes in the Gifts, Personally i have prophesied and prayed for healing and seen those prayers answered immediately, but certain ones in EOC Say thats not possible because i don't have the Holy Spirit. He says that only Monks are capable to operate in the Gifts of the Spirit. Personally i find that to be anti-biblical which i don't believe Holy Tradition is supposed to be, so I was looking for more input. More importantly on my mind is this supposed manifestation of the Holy spirit, Some people I trust and are very intimate with co into these manifestations, so its hard for me to dismiss. I have heard people justify them using King Saul when the Spirit of the Lord rushed on him and the classic day of Pentecost. Personally i have never experienced this and kinda don't want to, but am curious to hear about orthodoxies history with the charismatic experiences. I know protestants can confirm such manifestations in almost every generation... Thanks guys!
LOL. Protestants, at most, show up in the second millenium, which leaves the whole millenium after Christ in the very least that Protestants, not existing, can confirm anything.

That the unknown exorcist could cast out demons didn't make him an Apostle. And that's a danger. Acts 19:15.

But you are right: many non-monks in the Orthodox Church have prayers answered, perform healing etc.  The Orthodox Church of Georgia, a whole autocephalous Church, was founded by a woman who did such things, St. Nino Equal-to-the-Apostles.
Sorry i thought it was obvious i meant within protestant history in every generation there has been "moves of God" by which i mean the constant cycles like the quakers and numerous revivals. I had once heard that it was the Holy Spirits way of teaching us what tradition has taught catholics. (and i assume the other traditional churches) i'm not to sure about this explanation but they will try to map out specific messages that connect with each "move" regardless of the length of Protestantisms history the accounts have always been the same. and thats what i mean about confirming but my question is what does Orthodoxy have for me to use to judge these "moves" have there been records of "Manifestations" or any of these things? I came across the Orthodox Renewal Center which is supposed to be a  pan orthodox charismatic center...
"St John of Sinai remarks in the Ladder that the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as healing are reserved for monks since otherwise no one would have to become a monk."  This is what the individual had said to me.
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« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 06:05:49 AM by Ferdia » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2010, 06:28:30 AM »

I would say that the Orthodox Church relies on the Sacraments through which the Holy Spirit discernably works. In the Orthodox Church, the Sacraments are not merely symbolic, but actual graces through which the Holy Spirit operates in a literal and present manner. That's why we have specific rites of exorcism that are to be performed only by the clergy. We have been promised by Our Lord that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, and thereby we trust her Teachings, Traditions, and her Scaraments. The Holy Spirit operates in and through the Church to bless, heal, and protect individuals as well as the corporate community. Therefore we are protected from misguided individualistic spiritual interpretations and ostensible manifestations of the Holy Spirit which may in reality be demonic.

Within the context of the true Church, many Saints have received special revelations from the Holy Spirit. But we must remember that these people are Saints and holy monks who devote themselves entirely to lives of prayer and ascetic struggle. And the divine revelations they receive never contradict Church Teaching. In our Orthodox Tradition, the manifestation of these spiritual gifts are understood and interpeted much differently than what is promoted by the heretical Protestant charismatic movement.

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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 10:49:23 PM »

I was curious as to the OOC's stance?

Why? There are bigger fish to fry with respect to choosing between EOy and OOy.
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2010, 03:00:38 PM »

well i was unaware if the OOC had any stance on it...
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 03:18:06 PM »

Who told you that Eastern Orthodoxy is divided on this? I can only think of one Greek presbyter in the USA who supports the "movement." As far as I know, Orthodoxy has pretty much unilaterally rejected the modern phenomenon which claims to represent "speaking in tongues."

For being a genuine movement of the Holy Spirit, perhaps one would expect something to happen in Orthodoxy outside of the USA, where the behavior is learned. Also, it was brought into Orthodoxy by charismatic converts. Just as it started in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA, so it is in Orthodoxy. It's most likely a Protestant corruption, but I won't speak absolutely because I am not God, thankfully.

Perhaps you should talk to a presbyter about this?
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 04:40:53 PM »

i've considered asking the priest at the Greek church i go to but he was relocated and since i have been trying to attend a coptic near by but they never seem to start on time so i haven't been able to attend...
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2010, 01:00:55 AM »

well i was unaware if the OOC had any stance on it...

And I asked you why does it matter to you?
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2010, 10:49:01 AM »

Dear Seafra

I have some experience of the charismatic movement from my Evangelical background.

My personal opinion is that almost all of the modern charismatic and Pentecostal movement is built on spiritual and psychological deception, both witting and unwitting. This is not to condemn all those devout souls who are looking for a greater and richer experience of God. But in my experience and my knowledge of many of the streams of charismatic activity it is not of God, not least because it is almost entirely anti-Traditional, anti-Sacramental and anti-Ecclesial.

The greatest danger, as far as my experience goes, is that 'spiritual power' is divorced from holiness of life and becomes something exciting to seek and use. There is no spiritual power apart from life in the Church, and the true Church is the Orthodox Church. In all other places there may be truly echoes of life and real experiences of God, but if the teaching of a Church is leading away from the Apostolic Faith then it is not of God, and all of my experience of the charismatic and Pentecostal movement is that it leads people away from Apostolic Christianity.

I have seen terrible spiritual manifestations that in any other historical context would be immediately described as demon-possession but in many charismatic groups are lauded as being signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, there is a true experience of the grace of the Holy Spirit which can be found in the Orthodox Church. There are miracles and healings, even those raised from the dead. There are prophecies and words of knowledge. There are monks who cover their eyes and hands because they shine with a divine light. There are icons which give forth oil. There are apparations of the blessed Virgin Mary. Orthodoxy is replete with miracles even in modern times. But these are not for all and they are not signs of having begun the journey. They are manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit in hearts and souls which have been transformed to a great extent by years of attention to that same Holy Spirit.

Indeed Orthodox Christianity is entirely Pentecostal. The aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit manifests himself especially in the development of a holy life. This is rather boring I suppose. And is a long-term project that requires commitment on a daily basis to the ascetic way of prayer, fasting and service. It is not popular among most charismatics because it is not glamorous and it is not immediate.

These are only my personal opinions, although they are based on real experience. As far as I can see Orthodoxy, both EO and OO, repudiates modern charismatic and Pentecostal experience as deception, even if it is a self-delusion. In some cases it seems to me to be clearly demonic. But to repudiate the activities of such groups is not to diminish the true experience of the Holy Spirit which we believe is offered to all those who become members of the Apostolic Church. My own very weak experience of the power of the Holy Spirit is so much greater within Orthodoxy, and is especially acute since I have become a priest. Everything must be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are truly Pentecostal people.

I do not believe, from my own experience, that most charismatics and Pentecostals, are being taught truth and are being led into light and life. Quite the opposite I am afraid. I do not believe that the protestant version of Pentecost has any place within Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2010, 11:14:36 AM »

Indeed Orthodox Christianity is entirely Pentecostal. The aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit manifests himself especially in the development of a holy life. This is rather boring I suppose. And is a long-term project that requires commitment on a daily basis to the ascetic way of prayer, fasting and service. It is not popular among most charismatics because it is not glamorous and it is not immediate.

Father Peter,
You've very succinctly shed light on what has always bothered me about the movement but I couldn't put into words. I've been to one charismatic praise and worship type service. I didn't feel anything. I thought I was being stuffy or too traditional. It seemed to me people were faking. Not faking in the sense that they were intentionally dishonest. It was more similar to how people will laugh at a joke when they're with a group of people even if they don't think the jokes funny. It's peer pressure in part and the other part is as you say those that are seeking immediate grace.
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2010, 11:28:14 AM »

I could 'speak in tongues' now if I wanted. And yet I do not believe at all in 'speaking in tongues'. This tells me that it is at best a psychological and learned behavior which is a self deception, and at worst a demonic deception.

I am sure that there are those who yearn for a deeper relationship with God, and wish earnestly to experience more of His presence. We know that they would find this in the Orthodox Church because the whole aim of the Orthodox life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. I am sure that some of these people are reaching out to God in a self-taught 'tongue'. Many of them will discover that there is an emptiness at the heart of much of the charismatic and Pentecostal movements and will move on in their journey.

I know that there are even 'Apostles' in these movements who have repudiated their prophecies and visions and realised that though they meant well they were deceived by themselves and by Satan and deceived others. Other groups have descended into cult like behaviour. Others have become entertainment centres and more or less hold concerts or business seminars rather than conduct Apostolic worship.

That there are those seeking more is without dispute. But most of these movements do not offer more and do not lead the seeker towards Apostolic Christianity. It is not a matter of taste in worship. It is a matter of being true to the Apostolic tradition. If I have cause to ever be in a Protestant church service I usually find it very dry indeed and empty. I long for someone, anyone, to stand at the front and intone..

Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, both now and forever and unto the ages of ages.

Instead I usually have to put up with a length saxophone solo!

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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2010, 03:05:35 PM »

hahah I completely agree with you in that the majority of the movement is like that. The main stickler for me is the instances where events like "tongues" or other things occur to a completely foreign individual like during Evangelism. Again I have never had there "Manifestations" (the ones most people would label as demonic) but I know people who swore they would never do that and were extremely offended by it who now, at that time days later, do "manifest". The only verses I think can give some credit is when King Saul received the spirit of the Lord, which is better than nothing but hard to push past me I prefer at least 3 verses to make something mainstream. I greatly appreciate your words father and will continue to pray that this will become resolved in my mind and heart.
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010, 12:15:41 PM »

I'm an Oriental Orthodox Christian who has had some experience with the charismatic movement, having as I do some friends and relatives from that tradition.  I think it is important that we distinguish between the what the charismatics actually do and the Biblical phenomena they claim to be replicating.  As Isa has pointed out, the former is an entirely modern phenomenon and does not have its origins in ancient Israel or the Early Church, but rather in the United States.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are very conservative theologically speaking, and nothing like what we see in the modern day "charismatic movement" could ever take root there.  In other words, there could not be a "charismatic movement" in Oriental Orthodoxy as there has been in some segments of the Roman Catholic Church.

I would also say that the statement, " Now from my understandings Eastern Orthodoxy is split over the issue of the charismatic movement some support and accept while others deny and reject" is not entirely accurate.  Orthodoxy isn't split on the issue.  Do a quick search on these boards regarding regarding Eusebius Stephanou his "renewal center" to see how most in the Eastern Orthodox Church regard this fellow, who is something of a lone wolf.

Regarding Orthodox teaching on the Charismatic Movement I would recommend:

Elder Cleopa of Romania on Tongues:

http://www.sfaturiortodoxe.ro/orthodox/orthodox_advices_cleopa_speaking_in_tongues.htm

Fr. Seraphim Rose on the Charismatic Movement:

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/sign/
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 08:40:05 PM »

I'm an Oriental Orthodox Christian who has had some experience with the charismatic movement, having as I do some friends and relatives from that tradition.  I think it is important that we distinguish between the what the charismatics actually do and the Biblical phenomena they claim to be replicating.  As Isa has pointed out, the former is an entirely modern phenomenon and does not have its origins in ancient Israel or the Early Church, but rather in the United States.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are very conservative theologically speaking, and nothing like what we see in the modern day "charismatic movement" could ever take root there.  In other words, there could not be a "charismatic movement" in Oriental Orthodoxy as there has been in some segments of the Roman Catholic Church.

I would also say that the statement, " Now from my understandings Eastern Orthodoxy is split over the issue of the charismatic movement some support and accept while others deny and reject" is not entirely accurate.  Orthodoxy isn't split on the issue.  Do a quick search on these boards regarding regarding Eusebius Stephanou his "renewal center" to see how most in the Eastern Orthodox Church regard this fellow, who is something of a lone wolf.

Regarding Orthodox teaching on the Charismatic Movement I would recommend:

Elder Cleopa of Romania on Tongues:

http://www.sfaturiortodoxe.ro/orthodox/orthodox_advices_cleopa_speaking_in_tongues.htm

Fr. Seraphim Rose on the Charismatic Movement:

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/sign/

Hello thanks for the response sorry it has been so long. Though outdated to modern charismatic movement that book by Seraphim Rose points out a lot of what i saw wrong in the movement (I used to be a magician and learned a lot about how you can more or less manipulate a person by suggestive language) however one part that seems a little overboard is what he quotes here, could someone give me more context to the original text?

"Sts. Barsanuphius and John, the 6th-century ascetics, give the unequivocal Orthodox answer in reply to an Orthodox monk who was plagued by this problem (Answer 451): "In the fear of God there is no laughter. The Scripture says of the foolish, that they raise their voice in laughter (Sirach 21:23); and the word of the foolish is always disturbed and deprived of grace." St. Ephraim the Syrian just as clearly teaches: "Laughter and familiarity are the beginning of a soul's corruption. If you see these in yourself, know that you have come to the depths of evils. Do not cease to pray God that He will deliver you from this death..."

To me i find it hard to believe they are talking about everyday common laughter. I know many priests and i believe had read many stories of the saints who have laughed at a joke or in good manner. So i am assuming this has to have some context to spiritual practices or being out of order in a service? Please feel free to enlighten me Cheesy
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