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Author Topic: Difference b/t Protestant and Orthodox experiences  (Read 2226 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. David
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« on: August 27, 2004, 07:10:26 AM »

What is the fundamental difference between Protestant and Orthodox experience?

This was sparked by a comment in the recent Origen thread that Origen had helped Grigorii see a contrast between Protestantism and Orthodoxy:

As a Protestant my mind was consumed by guilt and so much so that I would rather kill myself and run away from God as far as possible in order to never have to face Him who would condemn me. Origen opened the eyes of my heart to see that God did not wish to confirm my fear, but He wanted to heal me, not condemn me but set me free, not destroy me but save me.


Now, I am not as well-read in Origen's works as I am in those of others, so a "bunny trail" on the subject would better fit here in the Convert forum.  Suffice it to say that my experience was quite different from Grigorii's.  I was quite happy as a Baptist, not weighed down by guilt as he was.  In fact, my picture of God was much more "comfortable" than the one I have now; God was seen as the One who was so eager to save me that He had done it all (i.e., "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe," etc.), and I was free to rejoice in the certain fact that I would enjoy heaven forever.

Origen (among several others) helped convince me that this taking heaven for granted was dangerous, that many who assumed they would go to heaven were blind to the way they still actually were...spiritually sick and in danger of going astray from God in their hearts without even knowing it.  The God of Orthodoxy is more serious-faced (just look at any Pantocrator icon!), but it's because there are serious issues at work in our hearts.  I do take comfort, though, in knowing that, along with the Law of Righteousness in the left hand, that right hand of His is raised in blessing, instead of a backhand slap.

So there's the composite terrible/gracious experience of God in Orthodoxy, which, uncomfortable though it may be, is more in keeping with the nuanced reality of apostolic (and, by extension, biblical) faith.
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TomS
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2004, 08:48:28 AM »

"As a Protestant my mind was consumed by guilt and so much"

What? As a PROTESTANT?Huh!!!

I was Protestant for 45 years and GUILT was never an issue in any of the Protestant denominations I was a member of.

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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2004, 09:25:36 AM »

Tom, might I suggest a little less coffee in the morning Wink
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2004, 10:19:54 AM »

Tom, might I suggest a little less coffee in the morning Wink

Shucks, my friend -- I don't need any coffee!! I only have 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the later afternoon.
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2004, 10:50:16 AM »

You should be a motivational speaker then, with all that energy Wink

You can give Tony Robbins a run for his money!
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Edwin
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2004, 10:53:26 PM »

Tom,

It all depends on what kind of Protestants you are talking about. I grew up in the holiness movement (or rather in a non-denominational family that had distanced itself from the movement somewhat but was still deeply shaped by it), and I assure you that the much-vaunted "Catholic guilt" is pitifully small potatoes compared with Holiness guilt.

Edwin
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2004, 11:00:09 PM »

Hi Edwin.

I grew Protestant in the Mid-Atlantic. Initially Baptist and then 2 years in an Assemby of God "Holy Roller" church -- and in both of those I really didn't encounter much of a "guilt" teaching.

Maybe it was more of a "parent" thing.

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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2004, 10:21:25 AM »

I am an EvProt, been Methodist, charismatic, and now SoBap.  I've never been hugely subject to guilt...don't you think it's often related to stability and... I don't know, maybe a spiritual/rational satisfaction of where you are in the faith?  I don't mean complacency, but kind of knowing where you are... growing and such and realising there is room for improvement ALWAYS but also realising that there is a common-sense limit as to how much guilt you should accept from anyone?
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2004, 11:17:10 AM »


Origen (among several others) helped convince me that this taking heaven for granted was dangerous, that many who assumed they would go to heaven were blind to the way they still actually were...spiritually sick and in danger of going astray from God in their hearts without even knowing it. .

Perhaps this is why in the US the highest divorce rates are in the "Bible Belt?"

As a Roman Catholic who wanted out...I looked at some Protestant faiths.....They seemed so empty and lacking in so many ways.

Many, like you stated, just took Heaven for granted "All you need to do is accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior"...well Christ never said that!

I found in abundance all the things I found disappointing with the Roman Catholic faith....a tendency to want to entertain and "fill the seats" with their worship services...and too much of a focus on money...

I also found it pecular how the Virgin Mary is all but ignored except during the Christmas plays...

It did not take much searching for me to realize I would not make a good Protestant. In my experience, when Cradle RCs leave that Church for another, the cultural (lightweight) Catholics become Protestants and the more devout become Orthodox.
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2004, 09:09:53 AM »

Tom,

No, it really does make a difference which tradition you come from. Although it varies within traditions a lot as well, of course. Holiness people really do lay on the guilt in my experience. AoG have some common ancestry with the Holiness, but mostly they are the non-Holiness branch of the Pentecostals, and in my experience they're relatively more happy-clappy. (I wasn't Pentecostal, but there are Holiness Pentecostals.)

In Christ,

Edwin
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