Author Topic: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices  (Read 1269 times)

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Offline John The Ninja

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Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« on: November 21, 2011, 02:06:57 PM »
Hello everyone  :)

I'm not sure how to word this, so I will try my best and hope that you can all understand my question.

Can a Protestant preform Orthodox practices?  For example, what does the Orthodox Church's stance on a Baptist choosing a Patron Saint?  What does the Church say about a Methodist who prays for the dead?

Does the Orthodox Church teach that a Protestant's prayers for the dead will actually help (assuming the Protestant rejects the concept of Purgatory...which I think most Protestants reject anyway)?

Does the Church teach that if a Protestant chooses a Patron Saint, that Saint can and will pray for that person?

Hopefully I made sense  :)

Thank you in advance.

Online genesisone

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 03:28:06 PM »
If you're asking, "Will the Orthodox Church either condemn or commend a non-Orthodox (specifically Protestant) Christian who undertakes obvious non-Protestant but clearly Orthodox practices?" the answer is "No". The Church won't make those sorts of judgements for those outside the Church.

If you're asking for personal opinions about these things, you'll get a variety of answers to choose from  ;) ;).

My opinion: if the Protestant is truly seeking to be as fully Christian as possible, then I do believe that God will honour that effort. If the Protestant is just thinking, "That looks like fun. I think I'll try it" then what's the point? If the Protestant wants to act Orthodox without being Orthodox, it's probably something of a waste of time as there's little if any sincerity there. Either you're Orthodox or you're not. So I would encourage any who believe that Orthodox practices will draw them into a closer relationship with God (as a Protestant might say it) that they seriously look at the Orthodox Church. Then we will affirm that those practices will be for the benefit of the believer and those around him.

Offline FountainPen

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 03:43:57 PM »
I so wish this was in the Protestant/Orthodox section
None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. Mark Twain

Offline dhinuus

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 03:55:27 PM »
I know the OP is about Protestant Christians.. however I thought, I will post the following as it is somewhat related.

I am a Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Christian in the Syriac tradition. As you know we live in a place where Hindu's area a majority. It is a common sight to see Hindu's walking into Orthodox Churches, lighting a candle and venerating the relics of saints. I have never seen or even heard of any priests or bishops forbidding the Hindus from venerating the relics of a saint.  

But I have often wondered, if these Hindus who are venerating the relics of the saint are actually benefitting from the prayers of these saint? I don't know. The saint is probably interceding for them, probably not for the exact thing for which they are asking his intercession for, but for their salvation.

When it comes to receiving the precious body and blood of Christ, ie Holy Communion it is a completely different question. It is reserved for baptized Orthodox Christians who come come prepared with prayer and fasting.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 03:56:03 PM by dhinuus »
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Offline John The Ninja

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 03:56:04 PM »
I so wish this was in the Protestant/Orthodox section

I apologize as I didn't know where to put this question.  It's about the Orthodox Church's attitude towards Protestants who accept concepts of the Orthodox Church.  I wasn't sure exactly where to put it  :)

Offline Thankful

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 06:37:03 PM »
Hello everyone  :)

I'm not sure how to word this, so I will try my best and hope that you can all understand my question.

Can a Protestant preform Orthodox practices?  For example, what does the Orthodox Church's stance on a Baptist choosing a Patron Saint?  What does the Church say about a Methodist who prays for the dead?

Does the Orthodox Church teach that a Protestant's prayers for the dead will actually help (assuming the Protestant rejects the concept of Purgatory...which I think most Protestants reject anyway)?

Does the Church teach that if a Protestant chooses a Patron Saint, that Saint can and will pray for that person?

Hopefully I made sense  :)

Thank you in advance.

I think of what Fr. Stephen said recently in the comment section at the "Glory to God for All Things" blog (it was referencing protestants and the Eucharist, but can apply to any question about what the Orthodox Church teaches about a protestant practice):

The mystery of communion in Christ’s Body and Blood, isn’t also as simple as some would make it. Orthodoxy prefers to remain silent on the strange situation that exists at present and the exact status of the non-Orthodox – precisely because it’s a situation that largely has no Scripture to support it or explain it. Denominationalism is not natural to Christianity and presents questions that are unnatural. And so we love, trust in God’s love, but continue to teach as has been given us in Christ.


What does the Orthodox think about the Methodists praying to the saints?  Or a Baptist taking a patron saint?  It seems we can't really answer that question because the existence of Methodists and the existence of Baptists is foreign to Orthodoxy. Not to say we have a dogma about the whether or not Methodists and Baptists love and are following Christ, but just to say to our tradition doesn't speak to beliefs/practices of other sects of Christianity because their existence is outside of Orthodoxy.  The questions asked in the OP are "unnatural." 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 06:40:49 PM by Thankful »

Offline Golgotha

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 07:12:45 PM »

The mystery of communion in Christ’s Body and Blood, isn’t also as simple as some would make it. Orthodoxy prefers to remain silent on the strange situation that exists at present and the exact status of the non-Orthodox – precisely because it’s a situation that largely has no Scripture to support it or explain it. Denominationalism is not natural to Christianity and presents questions that are unnatural. And so we love, trust in God’s love, but continue to teach as has been given us in Christ.


+1. This explanation speaks to me. It gives me the peaceful resolution I had been searching for. :)

Offline FountainPen

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 07:22:40 PM »
I so wish this was in the Protestant/Orthodox section

I apologize as I didn't know where to put this question.  It's about the Orthodox Church's attitude towards Protestants who accept concepts of the Orthodox Church.  I wasn't sure exactly where to put it  :)

It's not in the wrong place at all. :)

None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try. Mark Twain

Offline mike

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 06:56:51 PM »
I so wish this was in the Protestant/Orthodox section

If you want to add something from your Church's POV you are free to quote the OP and start a new thread in the appropriate section.
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Offline Knee V

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 04:24:35 PM »
All people are free to do as they wish. I cannot see any way in which doing these things, non-Orthodox people would be doing something harmful to themselves, and I can only imagine that it would probably benefit them in some way.

Offline LBK

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Re: Question about Protestants accepting Orthodox practices
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 04:51:17 PM »
All people are free to do as they wish. I cannot see any way in which doing these things, non-Orthodox people would be doing something harmful to themselves, and I can only imagine that it would probably benefit them in some way.

While I'm all for non-Orthodox using Orthodox prayers, icons, etc in their journey to Orthodoxy, having perceived the shortcomings of their own denomination, the appropriation of Orthodox trappings by non-Orthodox while sticking with doctrine and theology incompatible with Orthodoxy is misguided at best, and dangerous and hypocritical at worst. As I mentioned in the sister thread to this one: The use of Orthodox-style vestments and icons by Georgian Baptists is nothing more than a sheep-stealing exercise, as well as inimical to their espoused beliefs.
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