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« on: November 23, 2011, 07:32:45 PM »


Can a Protestant preform Orthodox practices?

...Baptist choosing a Patron Saint?  

...a Methodist who prays for the dead?

... if a Protestant chooses a Patron Saint, that Saint can and will pray for that person?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41178.msg671544.html#msg671544

Why are they "Orthodox" practices?

If these are right practices, then surely they're not limited to Orthodoxy? Wouldn't that make them Christian practices and therefore when practised by a Christian, would be valid?

If a Christian read about Peter in the bible or Ruth and enlisted the help of their prayers (i can't see that happening myself but that's not the point of your question) given that they are 'alive' in Christ, why wouldn't the saint pray for that person, protestant or not?

If Orthodoxy is so fond of attesting to where the church is but not where it isn't, then why the need for any of these questions?

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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 07:40:15 PM »

My dear Fountain Pen

Some of the practices adopted by non-Orthodox groups are, in fact, alien to the doctrinal or practical heritage of these groups. We see Georgian Baptists (as in the nation, not the American state) dressing in vestments similar to the Orthodox, and having icons hanging on the walls of their churches; we see iconography being assumed, and, all too often, abused, by all sorts of non-Orthodox groups. Is this right and proper?
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 07:42:43 PM »

I don't know, but it's kind of nice to have this conversation go the other way for once instead of the constant "Is it okay for an Orthodox person to do _____?" (Protestant or Catholic practice) questions that usually preoccupy the internet.

If you have to ask...
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 07:49:39 PM »

My dear Fountain Pen

Some of the practices adopted by non-Orthodox groups are, in fact, alien to the doctrinal or practical heritage of these groups. We see Georgian Baptists (as in the nation, not the American state) dressing in vestments similar to the Orthodox, and having icons hanging on the walls of their churches; we see iconography being assumed, and, all too often, abused, by all sorts of non-Orthodox groups. Is this right and proper?

Who said anything about "abused"? This is asking if they can participate in general. Surely any Christian can, if they wished. Why would any Orthodox person have an issue with that if the qualification was that the person was, Christian?
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 08:09:40 PM »

My dear Fountain Pen

Some of the practices adopted by non-Orthodox groups are, in fact, alien to the doctrinal or practical heritage of these groups. We see Georgian Baptists (as in the nation, not the American state) dressing in vestments similar to the Orthodox, and having icons hanging on the walls of their churches; we see iconography being assumed, and, all too often, abused, by all sorts of non-Orthodox groups. Is this right and proper?

Who said anything about "abused"? This is asking if they can participate in general. Surely any Christian can, if they wished. Why would any Orthodox person have an issue with that if the qualification was that the person was, Christian?

It's frivolous cherry-picking. Adopting elements of "worship" and "devotion" because it's "cool", "exotic", or whatever. Particularly with iconography, something of which I have great experience, both of the right and wrong use of it. I have a sadly-growing archive of "icons" which are the product of this dilettantism. The adoption of Orthodox trappings by the Georgian Baptists is simply a ploy to draw native Georgians away from Orthodoxy. This is nothing short of sinister.

If folks are drawn to adopting Orthodox practices, and this leads to them converting, then I can see merit in this. Otherwise, adopting what is exotic and trendy for use in non-Orthodox worship and devotion, while maintaining heterodox beliefs and doctrines, is nothing less than hypocrisy and travesty. If these folks truly understood the history, theology and doctrine behind the accoutrements they are adopting, then they would either not adopt them (to remain true to the integrity of their denomination), or they would be on their way to becoming Orthodox.
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2011, 08:22:19 PM »


Can a Protestant preform Orthodox practices?

...Baptist choosing a Patron Saint?  

...a Methodist who prays for the dead?

... if a Protestant chooses a Patron Saint, that Saint can and will pray for that person?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41178.msg671544.html#msg671544

Why are they "Orthodox" practices?

If these are right practices, then surely they're not limited to Orthodoxy? Wouldn't that make them Christian practices and therefore when practised by a Christian, would be valid?

If a Christian read about Peter in the bible or Ruth and enlisted the help of their prayers (i can't see that happening myself but that's not the point of your question) given that they are 'alive' in Christ, why wouldn't the saint pray for that person, protestant or not?

If Orthodoxy is so fond of attesting to where the church is but not where it isn't, then why the need for any of these questions?
Because even a good thing out of its proper context, can do harm. Case in point:

and "pubic "christ":
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-u185mYr3V4/TIagjGYEyhI/AAAAAAAAAV4/iZsiW2OI2Os/s1600/lofthedance.bmp

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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011, 08:22:55 PM »

Yeah, the problem is that doctrine and practice are inextricably linked, as the so-called seventh ecumenical council illustrates well.

In theory, I am happy for non-Orthodox to adopt Orthodox practices, as this would make them more Orthodox: something I cannot complain about. In reality, though, the adoption of such practices are rarely accompanied by the adoption of the theology which would make them work and make sense.
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 09:09:48 PM »

Yeah, the problem is that doctrine and practice are inextricably linked, as the so-called seventh ecumenical council illustrates well.

In theory, I am happy for non-Orthodox to adopt Orthodox practices, as this would make them more Orthodox: something I cannot complain about. In reality, though, the adoption of such practices are rarely accompanied by the adoption of the theology which would make them work and make sense.

Yup. Or as you and your countrymen would say, too right. Though I wouldn't call the council of 787 "so-called ecumenical". Not at least as far as the Orthodox are concerned.  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 09:31:46 PM »

IMHO to me you have to be part of the faith to have the right to use the rights of that faith. Yes most people who take  on others practices do so with good in there heart but what ends up happening is as it grows an starts to take on different meanings it always offends those you took it from.

I would say one should not do this type of stuff.
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 11:57:06 PM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

One can watch a heart surgery performed, see it's life saving effect, but they cannot take it home and make it their own by just placing someone on a surgical table and donning appropriate masks, gloves and gowns. Then walk away claiming to have performed the life saving effect  and state the remaining "practices" the original surgeon used were unnecessary and superstitious.

I am quite certain the original surgeon would be quite appalled by this mimicry
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2011, 03:57:21 AM »

My dear Fountain Pen

Some of the practices adopted by non-Orthodox groups are, in fact, alien to the doctrinal or practical heritage of these groups. We see Georgian Baptists (as in the nation, not the American state) dressing in vestments similar to the Orthodox, and having icons hanging on the walls of their churches; we see iconography being assumed, and, all too often, abused, by all sorts of non-Orthodox groups. Is this right and proper?

Who said anything about "abused"? This is asking if they can participate in general. Surely any Christian can, if they wished. Why would any Orthodox person have an issue with that if the qualification was that the person was, Christian?

It's frivolous cherry-picking. Adopting elements of "worship" and "devotion" because it's "cool", "exotic", or whatever. Particularly with iconography, something of which I have great experience, both of the right and wrong use of it. I have a sadly-growing archive of "icons" which are the product of this dilettantism. The adoption of Orthodox trappings by the Georgian Baptists is simply a ploy to draw native Georgians away from Orthodoxy. This is nothing short of sinister.

If folks are drawn to adopting Orthodox practices, and this leads to them converting, then I can see merit in this. Otherwise, adopting what is exotic and trendy for use in non-Orthodox worship and devotion, while maintaining heterodox beliefs and doctrines, is nothing less than hypocrisy and travesty. If these folks truly understood the history, theology and doctrine behind the accoutrements they are adopting, then they would either not adopt them (to remain true to the integrity of their denomination), or they would be on their way to becoming Orthodox.

Of course it would be, if the reasons you've come up with were the only reason someone would "adopt" such practices.

EDIT: Sorry, i clicked on 'Save' before i was finished.

On their way to becoming Orthodox?

Is baptism an Orthodox practice?
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2011, 04:03:49 AM »

My dear Fountain Pen

Some of the practices adopted by non-Orthodox groups are, in fact, alien to the doctrinal or practical heritage of these groups. We see Georgian Baptists (as in the nation, not the American state) dressing in vestments similar to the Orthodox, and having icons hanging on the walls of their churches; we see iconography being assumed, and, all too often, abused, by all sorts of non-Orthodox groups. Is this right and proper?

Who said anything about "abused"? This is asking if they can participate in general. Surely any Christian can, if they wished. Why would any Orthodox person have an issue with that if the qualification was that the person was, Christian?

It's frivolous cherry-picking. Adopting elements of "worship" and "devotion" because it's "cool", "exotic", or whatever. Particularly with iconography, something of which I have great experience, both of the right and wrong use of it. I have a sadly-growing archive of "icons" which are the product of this dilettantism. The adoption of Orthodox trappings by the Georgian Baptists is simply a ploy to draw native Georgians away from Orthodoxy. This is nothing short of sinister.

If folks are drawn to adopting Orthodox practices, and this leads to them converting, then I can see merit in this. Otherwise, adopting what is exotic and trendy for use in non-Orthodox worship and devotion, while maintaining heterodox beliefs and doctrines, is nothing less than hypocrisy and travesty. If these folks truly understood the history, theology and doctrine behind the accoutrements they are adopting, then they would either not adopt them (to remain true to the integrity of their denomination), or they would be on their way to becoming Orthodox.

Of course it would be, if the reasons you've come up with were the only reason someone would "adopt" such practices.

I'd be interested to hear any other reasons you can come up with, FountainPen.
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2011, 04:17:20 AM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

So, outside of the fullness of The Church then, Christian practice has no power?

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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2011, 04:32:58 AM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

So, outside of the fullness of The Church then, Christian practice has no power?



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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2011, 06:50:27 AM »

The problem with the practices listed int he OP is that just about all of Protestantism universally dogmatically rejects these practices. A baptist could hypothetically have a patron saint, even though I doubt their church would allow them to teach others that this is OK and would probably start preaching more aggressively about the "evils" of "worshipping" the saints.

That being said, Protestantism in general isn't very rigidly structured and one (at least in my experience of people I've met) may hold views from various denominations but refer to themselves as being whatever is on the sign in front of the church they attend or be of one denomination but regularly attend a church of a different one. The rise of non-denominational churches adds to this confusion because the pastor may preach a certain set of beliefs (possibly from a combination of different beliefs) from the pulpit.

My opinion would be that I love to see someone move closer to the truth.
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2011, 07:00:23 AM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

So, outside of the fullness of The Church then, Christian practice has no power?



Works with no faith are fruitless.

Then explain to me how it is that Orthodoxy can state where the church is but not where it isn't?

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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2011, 07:21:26 AM »

Is baptism an Orthodox practice?

This is a good example of what I was trying to say, above.

I am glad that some protestants baptise by triple-immersion and wish more would do so, but they would receive greater benefit if they had a correct and proper understanding of the holy mysteries and their effects.

Likewise, I would be glad if protestants would cense the bread and wine they share in the eucharist and cover them both with the small veils and the aer, but what would it avail them if they claim what they are censing is nothing more than bread and wine?
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2011, 07:32:50 AM »

Is baptism an Orthodox practice?

This is a good example of what I was trying to say, above.

I am glad that some protestants baptise by triple-immersion and wish more would do so, but they would receive greater benefit if they had a correct and proper understanding of the holy mysteries and their effects.

Likewise, I would be glad if protestants would cense the bread and wine they share in the eucharist and cover them both with the small veils and the aer, but what would avail them if they claim what they are censing is nothing more than bread and wine?

Theology, too, needs contextualisation. What good is it to believe that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ when you are separated from the Eucharistic community that comprises the Body of Christ (i.e. the Church)? Is it better to call bread and wine bread and wine, or to call simple bread and wine the Body and Blood of Christ? What benefit is there in correct baptismal theology if you are not in the Church, outside of which, according to the holy Fathers, the operation of the Holy Spirit in baptism is absent (even within an Augustinian framework, heretical baptisms do not become beneficial until the person is united to the Church)?

Outside the Church, then, orthodox practices might become a source of misdirected devotion and false hopes rather than a source of sanctification and greater union with Christ.
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2011, 07:38:55 AM »

Thank you, O11. Another useful insight.
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2011, 09:36:25 AM »

There is another thread that begins with a quote from St. Seraphim that explains an Orthodox view of Protestantism.  

I was partially brought to the Holy Church by my brother who became Orthodox about 10 years before me.  He could be blunt with me in ways perhaps others couldn't.  Being raised Calvinist (this is probably a Protestant phenomenon ), there was an unsaid belief that educating was head knowledge.  Therefore if only we can educate someone on Christian behavior they would understand and convert their lives accordingly.  

In my many conversations with my brother before converting to Orthodoxy I would say something like " but that doesn't make sense" my brother would say "you are blind and walking around claiming you can see, until you take the medicine you cannot be healed, how can you see truth when you are blind in your sin" this would infuriate me because I just wanted him to explain it to me.

This also explains most of my Protestant friends. We all were raised Calvinist met while attending a Pentecostal church. Started a bible study from RC Sproul. Had to stop that because there were varying degrees of Messianic among us and RC Sproul spoke against this. We practiced Christianity like Calvin we picked one person from here one from there and claimed they spoke the truth, because they agreed with us. Yikes, sound like a certain prophesy. Lord have mercy .

Now I have hope because I was, am & will be. Lord have mercy.  
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2011, 09:38:51 AM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

So, outside of the fullness of The Church then, Christian practice has no power?



Works with no faith are fruitless.

Then explain to me how it is that Orthodoxy can state where the church is but not where it isn't?



I'm not seeing the contradiction or problem here, FP. The Church is where the Orthodox faith is, meaning that those who are outside of the Church do not fully possess the faith until/unless they are in union with the Church. Put another way, it is not possible to be Orthodox outside of the Church. Hence I still refer to myself as unorthodox even while I attend services, because I have yet to be baptized into it, and so cannot be in sacramental union with it.

Orthodoxy, as far as I understand it, is not merely the sum of practices referred to as "Orthodox" such that by baptizing, taking patron saints, etc. those who are outside of the Orthodox Church can be considered Orthodox. Otherwise, at least some who are in union with Rome would be considered Orthodox. I remember reading about the famous "Monk of the Eastern Church", Lev Gillet, who is recorded to have said that his union with the Orthodox Church came after a realization that he had already held Orthodox positions as a Roman Catholic. This could (at least theoretically) be the case with some Protestants as well, but they too would then need to be united to the Church. It is not enough to simply accumulate a variety of "Orthodox" practices while you still maintain various un-Orthodox views and practices; as many have noted here, that is in fact not a good thing.
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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2011, 10:00:03 AM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

So, outside of the fullness of The Church then, Christian practice has no power?



I stand to be corrected here but yes and no, There must be some recognizable power in Trinitarian baptism, but is incomplete, not full until the church makes it so, So recognizable effect, yes. Completeness, no. Salvic benefit .... I don't know. 
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2011, 11:08:38 AM »

My dear Fountain Pen

Some of the practices adopted by non-Orthodox groups are, in fact, alien to the doctrinal or practical heritage of these groups. We see Georgian Baptists (as in the nation, not the American state) dressing in vestments similar to the Orthodox, and having icons hanging on the walls of their churches; we see iconography being assumed, and, all too often, abused, by all sorts of non-Orthodox groups. Is this right and proper?

Who said anything about "abused"? This is asking if they can participate in general. Surely any Christian can, if they wished. Why would any Orthodox person have an issue with that if the qualification was that the person was, Christian?

It's frivolous cherry-picking. Adopting elements of "worship" and "devotion" because it's "cool", "exotic", or whatever. Particularly with iconography, something of which I have great experience, both of the right and wrong use of it. I have a sadly-growing archive of "icons" which are the product of this dilettantism. The adoption of Orthodox trappings by the Georgian Baptists is simply a ploy to draw native Georgians away from Orthodoxy. This is nothing short of sinister.

If folks are drawn to adopting Orthodox practices, and this leads to them converting, then I can see merit in this. Otherwise, adopting what is exotic and trendy for use in non-Orthodox worship and devotion, while maintaining heterodox beliefs and doctrines, is nothing less than hypocrisy and travesty. If these folks truly understood the history, theology and doctrine behind the accoutrements they are adopting, then they would either not adopt them (to remain true to the integrity of their denomination), or they would be on their way to becoming Orthodox.

Of course it would be, if the reasons you've come up with were the only reason someone would "adopt" such practices.

EDIT: Sorry, i clicked on 'Save' before i was finished.

On their way to becoming Orthodox?

Is baptism an Orthodox practice?

Yes, within the Christian context as decreed by Christ, Orthodoxy has been given historical authority by the Head of the Church.  Of course one must accept this truth (Described in so many threads. I hope I don't have to show this)
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2011, 06:43:27 PM »

Is baptism an Orthodox practice?

This is a good example of what I was trying to say, above.

I am glad that some protestants baptise by triple-immersion and wish more would do so, but they would receive greater benefit if they had a correct and proper understanding of the holy mysteries and their effects.

Likewise, I would be glad if protestants would cense the bread and wine they share in the eucharist and cover them both with the small veils and the aer, but what would avail them if they claim what they are censing is nothing more than bread and wine?

Theology, too, needs contextualisation. What good is it to believe that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ when you are separated from the Eucharistic community that comprises the Body of Christ (i.e. the Church)? Is it better to call bread and wine bread and wine, or to call simple bread and wine the Body and Blood of Christ? What benefit is there in correct baptismal theology if you are not in the Church, outside of which, according to the holy Fathers, the operation of the Holy Spirit in baptism is absent (even within an Augustinian framework, heretical baptisms do not become beneficial until the person is united to the Church)?

Outside the Church, then, orthodox practices might become a source of misdirected devotion and false hopes rather than a source of sanctification and greater union with Christ.

If they (baptisms) are not beneficial then why are trinitarian baptisms acceptable when converting to Orthodoxy, if the Spirit was absent at the time?

The church can't say on one hand, powerless, misguided mimicry and on the other, accept some practices as being valid to a degree.
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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2011, 06:46:42 PM »

Yeah, I don't know that the practice has use outside of the church, these "practices" gain their power through the fullness of the Church. 

So, outside of the fullness of The Church then, Christian practice has no power?



I stand to be corrected here but yes and no, There must be some recognizable power in Trinitarian baptism, but is incomplete, not full until the church makes it so, So recognizable effect, yes. Completeness, no. Salvic benefit .... I don't know. 

That sounds very much like hair splitting to me. Next you'll be telling me it's another "mystery" of the church so you can't really explain it.
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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2011, 06:53:23 PM »

Quote
If they (baptisms) are not beneficial then why are trinitarian baptisms acceptable when converting to Orthodoxy, if the Spirit was absent at the time?

But a non-Orthodox baptism is never considered "acceptable" on its own by the Church. It needs to be "filled" with what is lacking. Depending on the type of baptism a convert had previously had, and the theology behind the baptism of his previous denomination, he would be received either by chrismation without the need for being baptised in water again, or received by a full Orthodox baptism, which includes triple immersion and chrismation.

The decision as to the form of reception into the Orthodox Church for any given individual rests with the local bishop.
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« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2011, 07:14:40 PM »

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If they (baptisms) are not beneficial then why are trinitarian baptisms acceptable when converting to Orthodoxy, if the Spirit was absent at the time?

But a non-Orthodox baptism is never considered "acceptable" on its own by the Church. It needs to be "filled" with what is lacking. Depending on the type of baptism a convert had previously had, and the theology behind the baptism of his previous denomination, he would be received either by chrismation without the need for being baptised in water again, or received by a full Orthodox baptism, which includes triple immersion and chrismation.

The decision as to the form of reception into the Orthodox Church for any given individual rests with the local bishop.

Seems to me the Orthodox church does a very good job of saying where the church isn't.
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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2011, 07:44:45 PM »

Fr. Thomas Hopko says, "Economia does not mean "making something present that is not there" but rather "affirming that something was present even in the divided circumstances" and therefore can be "validated", fulfilled, and sanctified when brought into the Church. And the teaching that is becoming popular today, that the Orthodox should baptize everyone who was not baptized by immersion in an Orthodox Church (because everything outside Her canonical boundaries is absolutely nothing, dark and graceless)—all I can say is that this is a radical innovation! It is being presented as if it is a conservatism , but it is in fact an innovation. Because throughout history the Orthodox Church was willing under certain circumstances to recognize the real activity of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the rites and teachings of other ecclesial communities with which it is not in communion because it felt they were, to one degree and way or another, defective, though not totally and completely defective so as to not be Christian. It’s an issue of truth. An example of this would be something Fr. Peter Gillquist once told me. He was talking to an Orthodox bishop overseas before being received into the Church. And this bishop said to him "outside the Church there is no Holy Spirit, and no grace." And Fr. Peter responded, "well then what Spirit brought me here today, your eminence?" What Spirit inspired Cornelius to call for the apostle Peter? God is not a prisoner of His own Church!"
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« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2011, 07:47:08 PM »

Seems to me the Orthodox church does a very good job of saying where the church isn't.

My apologies for the seemingly flippant answer, but the Orthodox Church should be good at saying where the Church isn't.  It's fairly easy to determine.  

I'm compelled to reiterate that to Orthodox, the Church is not a denomination but a real, defined, living entity.  It is not a catchall phrase for believers and followers in Christ.  There are countless wonderful, dedicated, inspired Christians, but many are unfortunately outside of the Church.  

Where the Holy Spirit, God's love & forgiveness, salvation, etc. exists is far more complicated.
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« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2011, 08:15:30 PM »

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If they (baptisms) are not beneficial then why are trinitarian baptisms acceptable when converting to Orthodoxy, if the Spirit was absent at the time?

But a non-Orthodox baptism is never considered "acceptable" on its own by the Church. It needs to be "filled" with what is lacking. Depending on the type of baptism a convert had previously had, and the theology behind the baptism of his previous denomination, he would be received either by chrismation without the need for being baptised in water again, or received by a full Orthodox baptism, which includes triple immersion and chrismation.

The decision as to the form of reception into the Orthodox Church for any given individual rests with the local bishop.

Seems to me the Orthodox church does a very good job of saying where the church isn't.


I think you've got it confused; the saying is, "We know where God is, not where He is not." The Orthodox very well can say "where the Church isn't," but no such flippant guesses can be made when it comes to God Himself. If I'm not mistaken this is the very reason why you and I can still say we are Christians, though we're not Orthodox (i.e. They can't say that God's "love, forgiveness, and salvation" isn't with us.).

If that makes any sense...
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« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2011, 08:15:28 AM »

An example of this would be something Fr. Peter Gillquist once told me. He was talking to an Orthodox bishop overseas before being received into the Church. And this bishop said to him "outside the Church there is no Holy Spirit, and no grace." And Fr. Peter responded, "well then what Spirit brought me here today, your eminence?" What Spirit inspired Cornelius to call for the apostle Peter? God is not a prisoner of His own Church!"

To say that the Holy Spirit does not work through heterodox sacraments is not the same as saying that the Holy Spirit is not "present everywhere and filling all things" or that He doesn't "blow wherever He wills". The Holy Spirit can and does guide and work in the lives of all people to the extent that these are able to receive Him, whether they are Orthodox, schismatics, heretics, Jews, pagans or even atheists. When we speak of the Holy Spirit's absence in the rites of heretics we are speaking about something very specific.
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« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2011, 08:40:46 AM »

If they (baptisms) are not beneficial then why are trinitarian baptisms acceptable when converting to Orthodoxy, if the Spirit was absent at the time?

The church can't say on one hand, powerless, misguided mimicry and on the other, accept some practices as being valid to a degree.

Sadly the current norms when it comes to receiving heretics into the Church have their origins in politics rather than theology, and what should be exceptional has become normative. That being said, we have in the Church the concept of economia: the departure from standard practice to deal with a pastoral problem, where a departure from the letter of the law is needed to uphold the spirit of the law. The Church, being the Body of Christ guided by the Holy Spirit, is not a slave to Her own rules, and exceptions can be made when necessary.

Thus, while the Trinitarian baptism of a heretical group might be empty and graceless, the Church, which is Christ, is not incapable of filling it with what was previously lacking. If the form is also lacking (single immersion, heretical baptismal formula, etc.), that is not possible. For that reason, those heretics who received the correct form of baptism may be received by chrism alone where this is a pastoral necessity, while others must receive baptism in the Church.

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« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2011, 01:28:01 PM »

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« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2011, 01:31:35 PM »


Hello fountainpen


If a Christian read about Peter in the bible or Ruth and enlisted the help of their prayers (i can't see that happening myself but that's not the point of your question) given that they are 'alive' in Christ, why wouldn't the saint pray for that person, protestant or not?

I'm sure the Saint would pray for that person, and the prayer would be for the result that the person come to the Orthodox faith. The person (protestant or not) would be asking for help, in a generic sense, and God would respond by bringing them toward the Orthodox faith - because enjoining that person to the Orthodox Church is what will bring true help.

It doesn't matter that the person might not, initially, think the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church: if she in all humility asks God for help, and doesn't have preconceptions of where/how that help should be manifest, then God will guide that person to Orthodoxy.

So on the issue of the non-Orthodox doing Orthodox practices, it depends on the motive. In the process of someone converting to Orthodoxy, there always seems to be a period of time (sometimes months, sometimes years) when they are practicing Orthodoxy without having entered the Orthodox Church (through baptism and christmation). In these situations, of course it is "okay" for them to partake in Orthodox practices such as, for example, attending the Liturgy, saying Orthodox prayers, and even fasting. It's all part of the journey. "Playing" Orthodoxy without ever intending to join the Orthodox Church is a different matter....

The Orthodox Faith can be seen as the beacon of a lighthouse, safely leading people through the rocks and keeping them on the right course - towards union with Christ. The light can be used by anyone, regardless of their position or distance from shore, because the light leads people in the same way (and I would say ultimately leads a person to join the Orthodox Church). However, appropriating the doctrines and practices of Orthodoxy for ourselves, and just using bits of it here and there is like taking the light and setting it in a different place along the shore: the lighthouse is transformed into a wrecking lantern.
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« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2011, 08:02:58 AM »


Can a Protestant preform Orthodox practices?

...Baptist choosing a Patron Saint?  

...a Methodist who prays for the dead?

... if a Protestant chooses a Patron Saint, that Saint can and will pray for that person?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41178.msg671544.html#msg671544

Why are they "Orthodox" practices?

If these are right practices, then surely they're not limited to Orthodoxy? Wouldn't that make them Christian practices and therefore when practised by a Christian, would be valid?

If a Christian read about Peter in the bible or Ruth and enlisted the help of their prayers (i can't see that happening myself but that's not the point of your question) given that they are 'alive' in Christ, why wouldn't the saint pray for that person, protestant or not?

If Orthodoxy is so fond of attesting to where the church is but not where it isn't, then why the need for any of these questions?
Because even a good thing out of its proper context, can do harm. Case in point:

and "pubic "christ":
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-u185mYr3V4/TIagjGYEyhI/AAAAAAAAAV4/iZsiW2OI2Os/s1600/lofthedance.bmp



Though you've given a link for one of the pieces of art, you haven't for the other. I have no info about this image to determine if it's an icon or not.
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« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2011, 08:36:09 AM »


So on the issue of the non-Orthodox doing Orthodox practices, it depends on the motive.

Not something we can know in another person or have control over.

The Orthodox Faith can be seen as the beacon of a lighthouse, safely leading people through the rocks and keeping them on the right course - towards union with Christ. The light can be used by anyone, regardless of their position or distance from shore, because the light leads people in the same way (and I would say ultimately leads a person to join the Orthodox Church). However, appropriating the doctrines and practices of Orthodoxy for ourselves, and just using bits of it here and there is like taking the light and setting it in a different place along the shore: the lighthouse is transformed into a wrecking lantern.
Considering Orthodoxy believes itself to be the only true Christian faith then all Christian practices would then be Orthodox, except for those pre-Christian church practices.

The cross, an instantly recognisable symbol of Christianity has been worn decoratively by christians, Christians and even Atheists. I don't know of any evidence where non-believers have been spiritually misled by this practice. Good analogy though, reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy.

It's alarming that i read so much about these practices bringing people closer to Orthodoxy or to the Orthodox church but very little about the simplicity of bring one closer to Christ. The bible doesn't say to believe in the Orthodox church and you will be saved and it doesn't say to believe in the right doctrine and you will be saved. It does say to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
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« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2011, 08:47:09 AM »

Quote
Though you've given a link for one of the pieces of art, you haven't for the other. I have no info about this image to determine if it's an icon or not.

This is an image painted in a geometric, abstracted style reminiscent of iconography, by Br Robert Lentz, a Franciscan friar (last time I checked), who promotes himself as a master iconographer. While some of the images he has painted over the years are quite acceptable as icons from the Orthodox perspective, much of his work is simply vehicles promoting his pet sociopolitical causes. True iconography is about the Incarnation and Revelation of God, and the expression of the holiness of saints and their striving to be imitators of Christ, and must have nothing to do with politics, social justice, "gender equity", or whatever cause du jour, however noble or worthy, takes the artist's fancy.

Here is what the artist himself has written about this image:

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to high public office in the U.S. He was not a professional politician, but ran for City Supervisor in San Francisco because he felt ordinary people were being pushed aside there by monied interests. "It takes no money to respect the individual," he said. "The people are more important than words." As supervisor he fought consistently for the rights of all of those without a voice. These people included blue-collar workers, the elderly, racial minorities, and gay men and women.

Cardinal Juan Fresnos of Chile has said, "Whosoever stands up for human rights stands up for the rights of God." His words are an echo of what Christ has told us He will say at the Last Judgement. "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to Me." Despite all the emphasis Christians put on their sexual ethics, Christ’s one question at the end of time will deal with concrete acts of love and compassion.

The day of his election, Harvey tape-recorded his last testament, in which he acknowledged that he would most probably die violently. The last words of that message were "You gotta give them hope." On November 27, 1978, he was shot five times at close range by another politician who was infuriated by his defense of gay and lesbian people. That night 40,000 people, men and women, old and young, gay and straight, kept candlelight vigil outside City Hall.

In this icon he holds a candle, keeping vigil himself for the oppressed of the world. He wears a black armband with a pink triangle. This was a Nazi symbol for homosexuals and represents all those who have been tortured or killed because of cultural fears regarding human sexuality. Their number continues to grow with each passing year, and the compassionate Christ continues to say, "As long as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to Me."


Some food for thought:

Few would dispute that homosexual activity continues to be regarded as sinful by both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, yet Lentz persists in promoting his views, in direct contradiction to the teachings of his own church, and to his public statements on iconography. Here are two statements he has made:

“In declaring and preserving the Christian faith, personal expression does not play a role.”

“What is most important is being faithful to the truths of the Christian faith.”


Harvey Milk was murdered by a political rival because he was despised for his sexual orientation and his advocacy of homosexual rights. Any murder is wrong and a sinful act, but should he be “honored with an icon”, and referred to as a martyr, “keeping vigil for himself and the oppressed homosexuals of the world”? Harvey Milk was a victim of crime- that is a very different thing from being a martyr for one’s faith.

Compare this with the following example, from the Counter-Reformation conflicts in Holland. This incident involving the capture and execution of eighteen Roman Catholic clerics by Calvinist Protestants occurred in the Dutch town of Gorkum in 1572:

Fr Andrew Wouters was a diocesan priest who had not been rounded up, but voluntarily joined his priestly confréres in captivity. Fr Wouters had not been faithful to his vow of chastity, and had led a scandalous life that was notorious all over the parish and beyond. Not previously a very spiritual man, he nonetheless showed himself a man of spirit by taking his place among the prisoners. When his past failures were thrown in his face by his captors as a disgrace to his calling and a negation of his creed, he looked them in the eye and said, “Fornicator have I been, heretic, never!”

Fr Andrew Wouters and his fellow clerics were later canonized by the Roman Catholic church, and are known in that church as the Gorkum Martyrs. It should be noted that he was not killed by a jealous husband, but died for his faith.  Sin and heresy, as the holy Fathers teach us, differ essentially: Sin is a transgression of God’s law, but heresy is an alteration of God’s law.

The proclamation of someone as a saint does not merely state that they are in heaven, they are also being held up as models of sanctity and fidelity to the Christian faith. We should certainly pray for the salvation of Harvey Milk, not pray to him to intercede before God on our behalf.

What is particularly sinister in such works is that they are not the product of honest ignorance, but a perversion and subversion of the very principles this artist has publicly expressed in "affirming" his credentials as a "master iconographer". The well-executed and polished artistic style also contributes to his "authority" among the unsuspecting, as would his monastic status. It's not difficult to find testimonials from "satisfied customers" telling of their delight at acquiring such "beautiful icons". I grieve for such folks who are being led astray by such travesties, and I will not cease to denounce such blasphemous and heretical works.
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« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2011, 09:14:19 AM »

It's alarming that i read so much about these practices bringing people closer to Orthodoxy or to the Orthodox church but very little about the simplicity of bring one closer to Christ.

Moving closer to Orthodoxy is moving closer to Christ. All the sacraments, liturgies, hymns, prayers, fasting, icons, etc are all designed to bring one closer to Christ.

Quote
The bible doesn't say believe in the Orthodox church and you will be saved and it doesn't say believe in the right doctrine and you will be saved. It does say believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Do examples of groups (who claim to "believe in Christ") not even accepted by the most Protestants who believe in the "invisible Church" as being Christian need to be named?

And what exactly is it that scripture says needs to be believed in order for one to be saved and how much of this is found as being essential to the message of the Gospel in different churches?

Just a couple of thoughts.
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« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2011, 09:36:03 AM »


Do examples of groups (who claim to "believe in Christ") not even accepted by the most Protestants who believe in the "invisible Church" as being Christian need to be named?

In any Protestant denomination or Orthodox jurisdiction, there will be Christians who make claims to believing in Christ, who don't. I am referring to those who truly believe in Christ -- it's a heart thing.
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« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2011, 09:46:23 AM »

Do examples of groups (who claim to "believe in Christ") not even accepted by the most Protestants who believe in the "invisible Church" as being Christian need to be named?
In any Protestant denomination or Orthodox jurisdiction, there will be Christians who make claims to believing in Christ, who don't. I am referring to those who truly believe in Christ -- it's a heart thing.

Like Jehovah's Witnesses who put all their faith in Christ.
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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2011, 09:48:54 AM »

FountainPen, any thoughts on the post on the Harvey Milk image?
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« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2011, 07:05:52 PM »

Do examples of groups (who claim to "believe in Christ") not even accepted by the most Protestants who believe in the "invisible Church" as being Christian need to be named?
In any Protestant denomination or Orthodox jurisdiction, there will be Christians who make claims to believing in Christ, who don't. I am referring to those who truly believe in Christ -- it's a heart thing.

Like Jehovah's Witnesses who put all their faith in Christ.

You're mistaken, they don't put their faith in Christ.
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« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2011, 07:14:44 PM »

FountainPen, any thoughts on the post on the Harvey Milk image?

Yes, i have thoughts on what was posted.

I haven't yet decided which thoughts will only result in a predictable ping-pong of a thread that will go nowhere and those that i'd be wise enough not to air on an Orthodox forum. If any useful thoughts are left after that, i'll post in a couple of days.
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« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2011, 08:26:30 PM »

Initial thoughts,

Just because the painter of these images might describe them as icons, it doesn't make them icons any more than this piece of jewelry is a cross with any religious meaning.



So they are not being misused because they're not icons at all -- similarly with his claim to being an iconographer. The only other objection would be that they look like icons and therefore might mislead people -- which i believe was answered in my response to J.M.C's dramatic device above.

The wicked defile that which is pure every day and i am more inclined to save my tears and outrage for the people this happens to rather than symbols and practices. Christ died for people.

As far as the issues of homosexuality are concerned, i think you're conflating two issues here. We need to stand up for persecuted individuals no matter what the issue is for which they're being mistreated. Recalling the Samaritan along the roadside, i hope i'd be the first to stand up for the marginalised and vulnerable or indeed anyone who has to endure hatred and violence of any kind from another individual. So on this point, i agree with what i've read about the subject matter in the image as described. That being said, it doesn't mean someone is endorsing or promoting homosexuality.

On your other point -- someone can be a victim of a crime and be a martyr for their faith -- they're not mutually exclusive.

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« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2011, 03:10:29 PM »


Hello again FP:


So on the issue of the non-Orthodox doing Orthodox practices, it depends on the motive.

Not something we can know in another person or have control over.

We can know to a certain degree if the other person tells us and we take what they say at face value. We cannot control another person's motives or actions (nor would I want to!), but we can state in all love what we believe which, depending upon our relationship with the other, can have an influence on their actions. So the distinction between non-Orthodox "practicing" Orthodoxy in a spirit of seeking as opposed to merely appropriating certain practices like a spiritual-shopper can still be made.

The Orthodox Faith can be seen as the beacon of a lighthouse, safely leading people through the rocks and keeping them on the right course - towards union with Christ. The light can be used by anyone, regardless of their position or distance from shore, because the light leads people in the same way (and I would say ultimately leads a person to join the Orthodox Church). However, appropriating the doctrines and practices of Orthodoxy for ourselves, and just using bits of it here and there is like taking the light and setting it in a different place along the shore: the lighthouse is transformed into a wrecking lantern.
Considering Orthodoxy believes itself to be the only true Christian faith then all Christian practices would then be Orthodox, except for those pre-Christian church practices.

Yes.

The cross, an instantly recognisable symbol of Christianity has been worn decoratively by christians, Christians and even Atheists. I don't know of any evidence where non-believers have been spiritually misled by this practice. Good analogy though, reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy.

But I didn't use the Cross as an example of this analogy. What about the Scriptures? Here, do you truly know of no evidence where non-believers have been misled after reading the Bible? Of course not: there are numerous groups who are misled and yet use the Bible to "prove" their position. Way back in the 2nd century, St Ireneaus writes about the gnostics who preach heresy, yet use Scripture to back up their teachings:

They try to adapt to their own sayings in a manner worthy of credence, either the Lord’s parables or the prophets’ sayings, or the apostles’ words, so that their fabrication might not appear to be without witness. They disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures and, as much as in them lies, they disjoint the members of the Truth. They transfer passages and rearrange them; and, making one thing out of another, they deceive many by the badly composed phantasy of the Lord’s words that they adapt. By way of illustration, suppose someone would take the beautiful image of a king, carefully made out of precious stones by a skillful artist, and would destroy the features of the man on it and change it around and rearrange the jewels, and make the form of a dog or of a fox out of them, and that rather a bad piece of work. Suppose he would then say with determination that this is the beautiful image of the king that the skillful artist had made, and at the same time pointing to the jewels which had been beautifully fitted together by the first artist into the image of the king, but which had been badly changed by the second into the form of a dog. And suppose he would through this fanciful arrangement of the jewels deceive the inexperienced who had no idea what the king’s picture looked like, and would persuade them that this base picture of a fox is that beautiful image of the king. In the same way these people patch together old women’s fables, and then pluck words and sayings and parables from here and there and wish to adapt these words of God to their fables.

The Orthodox would maintain also that part of the context of the Scriptures, part of its "order and connection", is within the Church. The Gospel message is for all, but at the same time it is clear that much of the Bible (e.g. the Epistles) were written for baptized believers, not unbelievers. So the Scriptures need to be read in context, and trouble starts when they are taken out of their context.

That is the preeminent example of my analogy, whilst other Orthodox practices are lesser examples. The wearing of the Cross by all-and-sundry is not an example I would have used.


It's alarming that i read so much about these practices bringing people closer to Orthodoxy or to the Orthodox church but very little about the simplicity of bring one closer to Christ. The bible doesn't say to believe in the Orthodox church and you will be saved and it doesn't say to believe in the right doctrine and you will be saved. It does say to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

The Orthodox Church believes she is "the Church", the body of Christ, and the Bible certainly calls us to be part of the body of Christ. The use of the word "Orthodoxy" is just the result of new and innovative groups springing up in Western Europe over the past few centuries and, because English was the predominate language, usurping the term "Christian" for themselves. Being closer to Christ, being united with Him, being saved with and in Him, is what the Orthodox Church and her practices are about. This simple faith of Christ's Apostles now must be called Orthodoxy, because of the aforementioned usurping of the term Christian. It's unfortunate, but its nothing more than semantics.
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