Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
HabteSelassie, the church at one time DID confront numerous issues within its body even citing weird personal issues. There was (a rather odd) canon cited the other day about a man who impregnates his sister in law... This is one example of many of the church getting involved in the lives of the people of the body of the church.
The bishops of the church were commanded:
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
Peter warned people of evils:
2 Peter 17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
I do not expect any Christian to be perfect nor possess a "holier than thou" mentality.
Sorry to have to do it, but you know you can't Bible thump against the Orthodox because we interpret the Scriptures according to their reality and not misconstructions. You are twisting the Scriptures to say what they do not. Jesus Christ ordered His Apostles to "Tend the Sheep" but YOU are arguing YOUR opinion of HOW the Sheep NEED to be tended, but that is not up to you, me or, anyone else, that is up to God. So how can you argue YOUR opinion as fact against the Church which functions as the Scripture commanded, and through Confession and Holy Communion the Apostles obey Jesus Christ's commandment and "Tend the Sheep." Through Confession and Holy Communion, in their sermons and admonishments, our Apostolic priests "Tend the Sheep" and communicate Peter's warnings to the people, but again, they communicate the totality of Peter's words, not individual interpretation, as it is Peter himself who advised us to follow the Canon commentaries rather then our own opinions regarding the Scriptures.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. How have the fathers interpreted this Scripture? The error of the lawless is just that, to disregard the laws of the New Covenant which manifest the Seven Divine Mysteries of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Universal Church of Jesus Christ. The ignorance and instability of the people who distort the Scriptures to their own interpretations, not following the Church which is continuous. The Church is the LIVING Bible in continuity, we understand each mutually through the other. If we try to read the Scriptures outside of the guidance of the Church, we misunderstand out of ignorance of the Church, and if we try to understand the Church without the Scriptures, we misunderstand without the living memory of the Apostle's witness. So we read them together, the question is do y'all? Its like Peter also said in 2 Peter 1:20,
0 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.
So now that we've got this Bible thumping business out of the way, perhaps we can get back to that delightful, productive, and edifying discussion we were having? We did much better when we were not trying to trump or one up each other or criticize the other, rather when we simply were testifying our mutual agreements and elaborating our differences for perspective so we can better understand and empathize with each other as brothers and sisters?
I was telling you about Orthodox, you were telling us about Anabaptists, we were all enjoying learning about each other without this competition or argument nonsense so lets get back to it
There have been a lot of things twisted, and a lot of things mingled, crumbled and "schsimed" upon.
If I was "tending to a sheep", I would take care of it, keep it from harm, keep it protected, and keep it healthy. I don't see a twist at all. In fact often early Christians warned others of harm and preached against the sins of others. Such as the book of Jude against the Gnostics. Warnings existed, and the sheep were tended.
The questions I would have is:
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them? (video link above).
3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?
Examples on question 3 may include:
1) People who watch pornography - are they more heavily influenced by lust in their lives?
2) People who watch movies always depicting divorce, unfaithfulness, and adultery - does it influence them in these behaviors? Would young adults and teens watching movies of other teens committing adultery desensitize them and give them feelings of commonality and "it's natural" when engaged or dealing in the temptations of these sins?
3) People who watch documentaries which constantly explain evolution and "Darwinism" - does it influence them toward atheism?
4) People who play video games fully depicting violence - does it desensitize them toward violence or lean them towards it? Could it incite a more angry and rage filled person?
Firstly, I will reiterate that is never my place to judge any of my brothers and sisters who may be temporarily caught up in sin, because I am also a weak human being, and I also will inevitably sin, there is an equality in that. I can only pray for them, and pray for myself and hope sincerely in God's Grace. This is why the Scriptures tell us to make room from wrath and judgement because God is in control. Jesus tells us that with what measure we judge others, we shall be judged ourselves, and if we judge their sins, then He will judge our own, so I prefer not to cast any judgment other than to agree that sin is wrong and agree about what sin is, but its not my place to point fingers or name names.
Judging sins has already been judged. I was not entirely speaking of judging others, but rather judging the sins themselves. Homosexual acts for instance have been judged "abominations". The rules already exist. As Christians, believing in the scripture, we can safely call homosexual acts "abominations". In context, if killing, adultery, and other sins are manifested on TV, we should be able to call these things what they are. I think you misunderstand me as I am not speaking of directly judging others, but rather warnings being issued.
I already told you, of course we agree completely, the Church feels the wounds of these sins daily as we are living and breathing like the rest of humanity. The fundamental mission of the Orthodox Church is to heal the wounds of sin which pain humanity, to bring the world to repentance in Grace, but again, our ontology and approach is different then say then the Anabaptists or Protestants (for the sake of the discussion I will respect your assertion that Anabaptists are not Protestants). We know only the Divine Mysteries themselves, the Baptism, the continual rejuvenation and reconciliation of Confession, the GLORY of Holy Communion, the spiritual therapy of the Divine Liturgy, a prayerful life, the cleansing of Fasting, who could possibly suggest the Orthodox Church of all places is lax when it comes to sin! If anything, we're prudes
It is not lax at all, and I agree with you.
Again, we just don't blow trumpets because we take sin very seriously. When you send out a constant message of personally judging or condemning individuals sin at a public level, it scars the family of believers. We are healing slowly together, none of us are fooled to believe one is better than another. We all sin, everyone sins don't they? We are in a process of healing from sin, by GOD'S GRACE ALONE. So our priests continually encourage, admonish, and edify us from the pulpit, and in our INDIVIDUAL LIVES our Confessors are our spiritual therapists who guide us through our lives to help us evolve beyond sin while appropriately making amends. You can't just say, "I'm not going to sin anymore" and its done, that is not repentance. Sin will come back, trust us Our priests then are CONTINUALLY there at an individual level to teach us, so as I said, we are not lax neither tolerant of sin, we just don't have to blast it from the pulpit or put up scary posters telling everybody they are going to go to hell
Again my friend, I KNOW the Orthodox faith DOES take sin INCREDIBLY seriously. But please understand, I am not speaking of judging individuals or condemning individuals. I'm speaking of the failure to blow trumpets in "calling the sins out into the light", not the individuals. To boldly point out that "hey guys this stuff is really pretty sick".
Rest assured brother, my testimony of Orthodox is that we are not negligent in correcting Sin, we are not unrepentant sinners, our community is very conscious of these moral and social and ethical matters. Let me again reiterate the existential difference between our religious community and perhaps the Anabaptist who you point to as an ideal model. In Christian communities which no longer are Sacramental and no longer have a priesthood as Confessors, these no longer have the individual relationship that the Orthodox continue to maintain with our religious leadership. We do not call them "Father" out of mere symbolism, these are are life and death fathers in our lives, we turn to them at our every need and in God's Grace the oblige. However, in other traditions such as Anabaptists, of course the preachers and community have to be extra vocal about sin and repentance because that is the only communication of the religious ideals. By eliminating the Father-Confessor relationship, these Christians have essentially made themselves all priests and all have to be concerned with each others sins because no one else is on the job. We don't like this, this is precisely why we have Priests in the first place. Spiritual professionalization by the Holy Spirit.
I'm not sure if you know this, but I have been Eastern Orthodox most of my life, I have served many years as an altar boy, and have attended St. Vladimir's seminary in New York. Most of my family are EO Christians. I absolutely know that the church is NOT negligent in correcting sin, and that the church body is incredibly repentant towards their sins. You'll have to PM me on the sacramental life. There is an element of protection that lacks in warnings from the church itself to its people. While the repentance exists no doubt, the church does not take a stand & warn its people (officially) about the entertainment from sin itself.
So I understand how you might not be as intimately familiar with the Orthodox experience of correction, of repentance, of admonishment, of judging sin, but I assure you its there loud and clear on a daily basis. We just have a different approach then y'all.
I really did not find any confrontation in what you say, as I understand how repentant the Orthodox Church is, which believe it or not the Anabaptists are extremely similar, except they confess "to one another" rather than their church leaders. The Anabaptists not only confess, but like the Orthodox pray and focus on true repentance.
The main focus on the thread topic is that the Bishops in EO will fight, schism, and clergy get into slug fests - all the while their sheep are drinking the poisons from the world. The main point is that I'd love to see the EO church bishops join together against the entertainment of evil.
Trust me I have all the love in the world for the EO faith, but like Volnutt the fighting is why I left. From my opinion, the last stand was me wanting to go to a "Holy Metropolis of the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church", except my commute was going to be VERY FAR to the nearest church. The reason why is because as far as Eastern Orthodoxy goes, it was the only group who seemed to me to absolutely hold on TIGHTLY & conservatively to Eastern Orthodox tradition. However, the nearest church ended up being an 9 hour drive from my home, and that was only a teeny tiny church. So I started looking around at closer churches, and let the fights, controversies, and ecumenism go crazy. Just as Volnutt was talking about. OCA says "no beards ok", ROCOR says "beards", OCA says "gregoran", ROCOR says "julian"........ One says ecumenism is good, other says heretical ecumenism is evil....
Anabaptists say "you know, lady Gaga is not an idealist moral role model for your daughters. Your daughters should dress modestly, and not contribute to the fall of man into lust."
Now I know my past statement was kind of loaded, so please forgive me.... But in many ways it is true. While I was watching the church fight over so many things, the sins of the world (mainly brought in by entertainment) is poisoning the people of the church. I saw so many well behaved & respectful Anabaptist children (the EO kids were playing "world of warcraft" and talking about it after church) who were talking about how wonderful the pie was and pitching in to help the elders of the church.....
I was like "who is producing the good fruit".
It's horrible, because my heart belongs to Orthodoxy in many ways, but the Anabaptists absolutely have points in what they are doing. They are not perfect at all. I never claim that.
But the understanding of the Anabaptists is incorrect by most people because here (sorry guys) its because the Orthodox church "IS RIGHT", "THERE IS NO OTHER", "EVERYBODY ELSE IS WRONG"... They are a people who love Jesus Christ, live through his word, and live their lives in testimony to his teachings. They have Communion, Ordination, Chrismation, Unction, Confession, Matrimony, and Baptism.
(but of course they are not "Orthodox" so they are just wrong - unofficial sacraments - period.... ya know? Matt 18:20 "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am also".... Just doesn't apply.... I guess.)
Just look at the EO and OO... Bam - Schism, all those millions not in communion, power grab, horrible fights through the years. Even slugfests between clergy & deaths. THIS is why I felt important to comment on the thread from Volnutt.
Orthodoxy is wonderful, and I don't call it wrong. I call some of the practices wrong, the fights wrong, and the "evolution of the Orthodox church" wrong. Calling parts of something wrong is not entirely condemning it, but they are important enough parts that it keeps me from returning right now. (you never know...)