OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 26, 2014, 01:16:59 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Protestants Down-playing, or eliminating, Suffering?  (Read 1958 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Nephi
Section Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Auntie Oak
Posts: 4,045



« on: January 16, 2012, 02:40:36 AM »

This experience sets the foundation for my wonderings:

I remember a couple summers back I was going to a church that I have a hard time describing. Everyone wore flip-flops, shorts, jeans, band t-shirts and the average age demographic was <30. The service immediately kicked off with a comedic, exegetical sermon generally about a handful of verses in the Bible (at the time we were going through the Song of Songs). References to rock music, pop culture, and sex were pretty common. After the service they had a live band play rock music with obnoxiously loud loudspeakers (when I usually left). Then it was over. The oddest thing about this church was that its Pastor, and the others that helped administrate it, were deeply conservative Reformed Protestants. They also advertised themselves as a church for those that hated church; they targeted young college kids, people from the poorer (and higher drug/crime rate) areas of town. This is the church's website: http://www.therevolutiononline.org/

Anyway this gets me nearer to my point. One Sunday the Pastor was out of town, and a substitute preacher was brought in that was still in seminary and fairly young himself. He surprised everyone by being from a completely different camp and didn't have a comedic sermon at all; in fact the entire sermon was on the importance of suffering for Christ, it being promised to happen as true Christians, and that it was something that allowed Christians to grow, etc.

Needless to say the entire congregation absolutely loathed it. Not just because it wasn't funny, but also greatly in part because of the subject matter. In fact this was the first time I'd ever, during my life as a Protestant, heard a sermon on the topic.

It seems many average, mainstream Protestants in America downplay or eliminate suffering altogether, and not always with the extreme of going to prosperity theology. Is this purely a modern issue within American Protestants? If it is, then why? If not, then is it the result of having a relatively stable society with minimal religious persecution? Or is it actually just something limited to my experience?
Logged

Liberalochian: Unionist-Ecumenism Lite™
Shiny
Site Supporter
Muted
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 02:53:47 AM »

Protestants are ALWAYS reinventing the wheel bro. Look at how popular the "prospeirty gospel" is right now with these mega-churches and once the fabricated lie gets exposed that people aren't getting the riches and pleasures promised by these preachers, then they will move onto something else. Who knows what that will be.

I think the aim of secularists and evangelical Christians in general is to do away with any types of suffering and using science/tech to accomplish it. Why do you think so many young folks are falling away from their parents' Christian faith when the world can offer immediate pleasures?

Who really wants to suffer? Once you get rid of suffering, then Christ's suffering won't mean a whole lot to alot of people.

You forget that Americans are all about materialism, consumerism, collectivism, and any other ism.

Hey if you can water down Christianity enough to conform to what's ahread, I guess it'll still be around...
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
alanscott
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Protestant
Jurisdiction: Wesleyan
Posts: 309



« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 11:41:56 AM »

 The fundamental Truth is not always easy on the ears. Not for a cleaving heart such as mine anyway. The beauty of Orthodoxy to my limited understanding is no matter what Orthodox Church you enter the doctrine pretty much remains the same. Protestant Churches in America however... if you don't like what you hear you can jump from ship to ship until you find one that suits you. Lord have mercy upon us!

 "...then is it the result of having a relatively stable society with minimal religious persecution?" you ask.
 I often wonder if that is the situation/reason for many Christian issues here in the U.S. 

 I am a bit surprised you had never heard a sermon on, or including, the subject of suffering as a Protestant though. Most, that I know anyway, though perhaps often downplayed as you mentioned, do believe such. My education is a little weak here but Nazarene's, Methodist, and many Baptist should have it in their doctrine at least. If I'm remembering my history correctly early American Purists were known to be a little 'over the top' on the subject! 

Anyway, yours certainly is not an isolated experience. Though I'm not sure I would say it's 'widespread' amongst Protestants either. The 'flip flops' Church for those that hate Church?! What part of San Francisco was that  Grin lol   

In quest for Christ,

Scott


Logged

There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
Timon
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,490



« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 11:54:28 AM »

Im not surprised at all by your experience.  A lot of these churches are very business-like.  Most of them are extremely concerned about numbers. (although they will never admit that to you.)  Now, if youre a young, hip pastor who is trying to run a successful business, then why would you preach on suffering for Christ?  Thats one way to be sure people dont come back.  You have to tell (sell) people what they want to hear. 

I also fear thats why so many Churches today dont take communion.  If you had never been to Church before, and all of a sudden people start talking about eating someones flesh and drinking their blood, you may be weirded out and never come back. 

I could be wrong, but ive been involved with so many of these types of churches ranging anywhere from 30 to 30,000 people.  I dont want to bash them, and im not saying everything they do is bad, but what i mentioned above are just some personal observations/fears.
Logged

Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG
alanscott
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Protestant
Jurisdiction: Wesleyan
Posts: 309



« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 12:03:16 PM »

Protestants are ALWAYS reinventing the wheel bro. Look at how popular the "prospeirty gospel" is right now with these mega-churches and once the fabricated lie gets exposed that people aren't getting the riches and pleasures promised by these preachers, then they will move onto something else. Who knows what that will be.

I think the aim of secularists and evangelical Christians in general is to do away with any types of suffering and using science/tech to accomplish it. Why do you think so many young folks are falling away from their parents' Christian faith when the world can offer immediate pleasures?

Who really wants to suffer? Once you get rid of suffering, then Christ's suffering won't mean a whole lot to alot of people.

You forget that Americans are all about materialism, consumerism, collectivism, and any other ism.

Hey if you can water down Christianity enough to conform to what's ahread, I guess it'll still be around...

Just as long as we are not making generalization blanket type statements about faith and country! lol   

Forgive me for pulling your chain a bit Achronos!  Wink

Of course there are many examples of what you say being true. Hardly all inclusive though. In some cases I would agree but not sure about using terms like 'Protestants are ALWAYS' or 'Americans are all about'.

Peace, Grace, and Respect! 

 
Logged

There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 12:29:53 PM »

This experience sets the foundation for my wonderings:

I remember a couple summers back I was going to a church that I have a hard time describing. Everyone wore flip-flops, shorts, jeans, band t-shirts and the average age demographic was <30. The service immediately kicked off with a comedic, exegetical sermon generally about a handful of verses in the Bible (at the time we were going through the Song of Songs). References to rock music, pop culture, and sex were pretty common. After the service they had a live band play rock music with obnoxiously loud loudspeakers (when I usually left). Then it was over. The oddest thing about this church was that its Pastor, and the others that helped administrate it, were deeply conservative Reformed Protestants. They also advertised themselves as a church for those that hated church; they targeted young college kids, people from the poorer (and higher drug/crime rate) areas of town. This is the church's website: http://www.therevolutiononline.org/

Anyway this gets me nearer to my point. One Sunday the Pastor was out of town, and a substitute preacher was brought in that was still in seminary and fairly young himself. He surprised everyone by being from a completely different camp and didn't have a comedic sermon at all; in fact the entire sermon was on the importance of suffering for Christ, it being promised to happen as true Christians, and that it was something that allowed Christians to grow, etc.

Needless to say the entire congregation absolutely loathed it. Not just because it wasn't funny, but also greatly in part because of the subject matter. In fact this was the first time I'd ever, during my life as a Protestant, heard a sermon on the topic.

It seems many average, mainstream Protestants in America downplay or eliminate suffering altogether, and not always with the extreme of going to prosperity theology. Is this purely a modern issue within American Protestants? If it is, then why? If not, then is it the result of having a relatively stable society with minimal religious persecution? Or is it actually just something limited to my experience?

Your experience is very similar to what I had experienced in the Baptist Church I was attending.

In their view, Christ took on our suffering so we don't have to suffer any more. Those who are suffering in the world are suffering because they don't have Christ in their life. According to them, even if you get stricken with cancer, you won't suffer, because the joy of Christ will just simply overwhelm you.

I don't know about you, but while I know many faithful people, I don't know that many that are walking around that deliriously happy all the time.

I don't understand how this message is supposed to compute with the Gospel or reality, but it is being broadcast, and people love to hear it.
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
primuspilus
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America - Western Rite Orthodox
Posts: 6,172


Inserting personal quote here.


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 12:44:45 PM »

I know some protestants that hold to a suffering = good mentality. However, they are in the minority. There have been some wonderful Protestant traditions that are being hijacked by this prosperity gospel nonsense.

The thing is, there are so many stripes of Protestants that it really is hard to paint them with such a brush as "Are all Protestants" etc. I can say that alot tend to think that if you'rte suffering then it is by your own actions (not a wholly bad argument) but it simply stops there.

PP
Logged

"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great
alanscott
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Protestant
Jurisdiction: Wesleyan
Posts: 309



« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2012, 01:02:39 PM »

I know some protestants that hold to a suffering = good mentality. However, they are in the minority. There have been some wonderful Protestant traditions that are being hijacked by this prosperity gospel nonsense.

The thing is, there are so many stripes of Protestants that it really is hard to paint them with such a brush as "Are all Protestants" etc. I can say that alot tend to think that if you'rte suffering then it is by your own actions (not a wholly bad argument) but it simply stops there.

PP

Would Orthodox generally agree that some suffering is solely the result of our own actions (smoking will probably make you sick), some the result of the actions of mankind (how many famines could be eliminated where it not for greed), and some the result of being 'refined like silver' as David would say (suffering in Christ)?
Logged

There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
Nephi
Section Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Auntie Oak
Posts: 4,045



« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 02:11:31 PM »

The thing is, there are so many stripes of Protestants that it really is hard to paint them with such a brush as "Are all Protestants" etc.

True. I do guess I should've specified mainstream (non-high church) American Protestants, but even then that's a little vague with a lot of variation.
Logged

Liberalochian: Unionist-Ecumenism Lite™
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 02:27:04 PM »

Would Orthodox generally agree that some suffering is solely the result of our own actions (smoking will probably make you sick), some the result of the actions of mankind (how many famines could be eliminated where it not for greed), and some the result of being 'refined like silver' as David would say (suffering in Christ)?

Yes, I don't see anything wrong with that statement.
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
primuspilus
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America - Western Rite Orthodox
Posts: 6,172


Inserting personal quote here.


WWW
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 03:48:51 PM »

I know some protestants that hold to a suffering = good mentality. However, they are in the minority. There have been some wonderful Protestant traditions that are being hijacked by this prosperity gospel nonsense.

The thing is, there are so many stripes of Protestants that it really is hard to paint them with such a brush as "Are all Protestants" etc. I can say that alot tend to think that if you'rte suffering then it is by your own actions (not a wholly bad argument) but it simply stops there.

PP

Would Orthodox generally agree that some suffering is solely the result of our own actions (smoking will probably make you sick), some the result of the actions of mankind (how many famines could be eliminated where it not for greed), and some the result of being 'refined like silver' as David would say (suffering in Christ)?
yeah I can agree with that. The point I was making is that many equate suffering to "always your own fault". If something else was understood by my previous statement, sorry about that.

PP
Logged

"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great
alanscott
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Protestant
Jurisdiction: Wesleyan
Posts: 309



« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 09:17:40 PM »

I know some protestants that hold to a suffering = good mentality. However, they are in the minority. There have been some wonderful Protestant traditions that are being hijacked by this prosperity gospel nonsense.

The thing is, there are so many stripes of Protestants that it really is hard to paint them with such a brush as "Are all Protestants" etc. I can say that alot tend to think that if you'rte suffering then it is by your own actions (not a wholly bad argument) but it simply stops there.

PP

Would Orthodox generally agree that some suffering is solely the result of our own actions (smoking will probably make you sick), some the result of the actions of mankind (how many famines could be eliminated where it not for greed), and some the result of being 'refined like silver' as David would say (suffering in Christ)?
yeah I can agree with that. The point I was making is that many equate suffering to "always your own fault". If something else was understood by my previous statement, sorry about that.

PP

Not at all brother! Smiley I read your statement as fair, objective, and respectful. In many scenarios I do agree. My question was a sincere inquiry for clarification sake. I listened to an i-pod a couple years back, of a Bishop Angealos I believe, that included suffering, trials, and tribulations. A man of Peace, Grace, and Wisdom if I've ever heard one. I think it was the first Orthodox sermon I had heard. Truly awesome!

I appreciate the conscientious reply!


Logged

There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
Jason.Wike
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,046


« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 10:26:22 PM »

I think some of the Protestants are moving towards even further rarification of Christianity. They started with Sola Scriptura but its moving towards Solely According to Me... All that stuff about suffering and such is just a turn off.
Logged
crux_84
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 74



WWW
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 04:24:55 PM »

I still am sorta forced to live within the belly of the beast of ecumenical nihilism/christiany relativism/protestantism etc. at this point in my life and Im still experiencing often what Ive experienced ever since I was a little kid growing up in the Bible Belt.To sum it up - feel-good Christians being all smily and loud behaving typically as innocently ignorant heretics and me feeling like Im bad because although I was content moments ago(in such as situation) Im now under a powerfully subtle social pressure to either participate or feel judged as some sort of negative presence in the room...In other words feeling or being judged that theres something wrong with me for there something being right with me....I experienced it this morning in what was supposed to be an AA meeting but ended up being a(very nice and sincere and annoying) heretic woman preaching Western Christian thought and in such a situation I feel assumed to be an aetheist or something(especially since I look counter-culture)...This relates to the above because Im trying to be a well human being without taking anti-depressants wich Im very capable of but am suffering through the rough parts and am constantly finding myself in above-type situations(I live amongst something called the Campus for Human Development wich is a psuedo-christian pluralistic hub for addictions recovery and homeless aid,etc.) where because Im not all obnoxiously "happy" I must not have Jesus....Where can I find that Frank Schaeffer book A Time for Anger?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 04:29:32 PM by crux_84 » Logged

"The Christian punx are the society of St. John the Forerunner."
primuspilus
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America - Western Rite Orthodox
Posts: 6,172


Inserting personal quote here.


WWW
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 09:22:57 AM »

I think some of the Protestants are moving towards even further rarification of Christianity. They started with Sola Scriptura but its moving towards Solely According to Me... All that stuff about suffering and such is just a turn off.
So so true. Look at the "emergent" movement. It REALLY is make up what you want and roll with it.

PP
Logged

"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,196



« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2012, 10:37:45 AM »

...Im now under a powerfully subtle social pressure to either participate or feel judged as some sort of negative presence in the room...In other words feeling or being judged that theres something wrong with me for there something being right with me...where because Im not all obnoxiously "happy" I must not have Jesus....

I hear ya. I experienced somewhat similar social pressure in my former church - to have a certain type of religious attitude or experience. Especially when I was coerced into going to one of those "cursillo-type" weekends.
If I wasn't like everyone else, I didn't have Jesus.
(Well, to be fair, I was such a downer, y' know? Always talking about sin and stuff.  Wink I actually had a pastor tell me that sin wasn't really relevant anymore, even when I had seen its destruction in my own life!)
I wasted a lot of time and effort trying to live someone else's life.

Don't give up. Hang in there. God sees your heart and your desire to know Him. Get better, and don't let other people define your life. The struggle is worth it in the end.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
Jason.Wike
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,046


« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2012, 02:57:06 AM »

I think some of the Protestants are moving towards even further rarification of Christianity. They started with Sola Scriptura but its moving towards Solely According to Me... All that stuff about suffering and such is just a turn off.
So so true. Look at the "emergent" movement. It REALLY is make up what you want and roll with it.

PP

I looked it up on image search and got this. Pretty accurate.
Logged
David Young
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Baptist
Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham, Wales
Posts: 1,811


2012, Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr


« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 06:34:56 PM »

many average, mainstream Protestants in America downplay or eliminate suffering altogether, and not always with the extreme of going to prosperity theology. Is this purely a modern issue within American Protestants? ... is it the result of having a relatively stable society with minimal religious persecution?

No, it is not purely within American Protestantism: it has infected churches in Britain too. Yes, I suspect people's experience of life in a comfortable, stable society is transmuted into theology.

I suspect it derives partly from a confusion of joy (which is a fruit of the Spirit and a gift for all Christians) and happiness, which can be a shallow experience deriving from glad circumstances. People know that they should show joy as part of their testimony to the depth and reality of the life of Christ within them, so they put on an appearance of happiness, without realising that the two are quite different things, each of which can exist without the other.

That doesn't explain all you write and ask about, but I think it is yet another aspect of the problem.

It is also reinforced even by some quite old songs, such as the one taught to children years ago which says "I am H-A-P-P-Y...", and the one adults sing, "...and now I am happy all the day." Whenever I hear a congregation sing "Blessed assurance," I think that there is probably no-one in the congregation who can sing it all through with truth. But preachers choose it, people sing it, and then they try to give an appearance of the words being true for them.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 06:35:43 PM by David Young » Logged

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2012, 06:47:40 PM »

most protestants i know these days believe that the idea of suffering is incompatible with the christian life.
Logged
biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Church
Posts: 12,679


Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, ζωής της αιωνίου

fleem
WWW
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2012, 12:15:48 AM »

most protestants i know these days believe that the idea of suffering is incompatible with the christian life.

That's too bad. Lack of realism may come back to hurt them. I am sorry for those who will have to deal with a job loss, ill health or similar issues someday, and haven't been prepared for it, because their ministers told them they wouldn't face any hard times.  Embarrassed
Logged

Charlie Rose: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Fran Lebowitz: Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisfied.

http://spcasuncoast.org/
theo philosopher
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 315



« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2012, 12:43:26 AM »

This is a relatively new development within the protestant branch, and is a very new development for those within the Reformed camp. Protestant theology up until the 1800s looked at suffering as a way to purify one's self before God. In the Reformed camp we have great poems by William Cowper that face the issue of suffering head-on. We have writings by Jonathan Edwards and many others who have no problem embracing suffering; in fact, many go to the extreme to say that suffering is sanctioned by God because it brings Him glory. In fact, this is what I was taught during my time as a Calvinist.

Recently, however, the Reformed camp has moved more towards a theology that downplays suffering. Part of this is only natural I think. With people losing their jobs, unable to afford things, barely getting by, going on government aid, and so on, it makes sense that they don't want to hear about suffering. They want to hear about better times. They don't want to think about suffering because they're facing it. In some ways I can certainly understand their feelings on the matter, on the other hand, however, the responsible thing is to teach them how to handle suffering rather than ignoring it.

The other problem is that many evangelical philosophers have adopted this "greater-good" theodicy, the teaching that all evil that occurs ultimately serves a greater purpose or is meant for good. Thus, a little girl is kidnapped and murdered by a man and these philosophers say, "Yes, but God allowed this because a greater good will come from it." Intellectually, such an argument is suspect, but I think it can be defended (though I disagree with it; I happen to believe that gratuitous evil is a very real thing). Existentially, however, the argument is inexcusable and abhorrent. I think this has trickled down into the congregations, where suffering is ignored because in God's mysterious ways there's a greater good to be found (tell that to the parents of the girl).

I think this is why I've found Orthodoxy to be so fulfilling, because it really does cast a real light on suffering. As I described it to someone at my parish during coffee hour this past Sunday, when I left my former worship services I would always feel upbeat, happy, and bright...until I hit the real world. Now, when I leave an Orthodox service, I feel more somber and realistic about the world. When the reality of this world hits me, it's nothing to me; I feel more prepared for it. It's hard to explain, especially when I'm writing this as tired as I am.
Logged

“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
Shiny
Site Supporter
Muted
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 01:26:10 AM »

Why hello there theo, nice to see you again!

You ain't kidding about the somber feeling, but there is also that feeling of fufillment. I tell you man, I embrace suffering alot more being Orthodox.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
David Young
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Baptist
Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham, Wales
Posts: 1,811


2012, Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr


« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2012, 04:37:56 AM »

Recently, however, the Reformed camp has moved more towards a theology that downplays suffering. Part of this is only natural I think. With people losing their jobs, unable to afford things, barely getting by, going on government aid, and so on, it makes sense that they don't want to hear about suffering. They want to hear about better times. They don't want to think about suffering because they're facing it.

I have often preached on facing and enduring suffering, for example from the Psalms or from Job, and I think I can say I always receive a warm and appreciative response. It seems to reach people where they are.

Theo philosopher's post is excellent.
Logged

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
Jason.Wike
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,046


« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2012, 11:20:12 AM »

This is a relatively new development within the protestant branch, and is a very new development for those within the Reformed camp. Protestant theology up until the 1800s looked at suffering as a way to purify one's self before God. In the Reformed camp we have great poems by William Cowper that face the issue of suffering head-on. We have writings by Jonathan Edwards and many others who have no problem embracing suffering; in fact, many go to the extreme to say that suffering is sanctioned by God because it brings Him glory. In fact, this is what I was taught during my time as a Calvinist.

Recently, however, the Reformed camp has moved more towards a theology that downplays suffering. Part of this is only natural I think. With people losing their jobs, unable to afford things, barely getting by, going on government aid, and so on, it makes sense that they don't want to hear about suffering. They want to hear about better times. They don't want to think about suffering because they're facing it. In some ways I can certainly understand their feelings on the matter, on the other hand, however, the responsible thing is to teach them how to handle suffering rather than ignoring it.

The other problem is that many evangelical philosophers have adopted this "greater-good" theodicy, the teaching that all evil that occurs ultimately serves a greater purpose or is meant for good. Thus, a little girl is kidnapped and murdered by a man and these philosophers say, "Yes, but God allowed this because a greater good will come from it." Intellectually, such an argument is suspect, but I think it can be defended (though I disagree with it; I happen to believe that gratuitous evil is a very real thing). Existentially, however, the argument is inexcusable and abhorrent. I think this has trickled down into the congregations, where suffering is ignored because in God's mysterious ways there's a greater good to be found (tell that to the parents of the girl).

I think this is why I've found Orthodoxy to be so fulfilling, because it really does cast a real light on suffering. As I described it to someone at my parish during coffee hour this past Sunday, when I left my former worship services I would always feel upbeat, happy, and bright...until I hit the real world. Now, when I leave an Orthodox service, I feel more somber and realistic about the world. When the reality of this world hits me, it's nothing to me; I feel more prepared for it. It's hard to explain, especially when I'm writing this as tired as I am.

Don't forget Romans 8:28. What you write kind of sounds like an either or situation, when things are going to turn out good in the end but there is going to be suffering along the way.
Logged
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,196



« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2012, 12:40:23 PM »

The most persuasive thing for me about Christianity in general and Orthodoxy in particular is that it takes suffering seriously.
When I lost my dear father when I was 19, for example, I didn't need somebody telling me that I should be happy or that my pain was meaningless.
There will be suffering, yes, but "joy cometh in the morning."
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2012, 12:42:04 PM »

most protestants i know these days believe that the idea of suffering is incompatible with the christian life.

That's too bad. Lack of realism may come back to hurt them. I am sorry for those who will have to deal with a job loss, ill health or similar issues someday, and haven't been prepared for it, because their ministers told them they wouldn't face any hard times.  Embarrassed

some even go so far as to say if such things affect them, their faith isn't strong enough or they did something wrong to bring it on; i.e. God is punishing them.
Logged
David Young
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Baptist
Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham, Wales
Posts: 1,811


2012, Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr


« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2012, 12:47:37 PM »

some even go so far as to say if such things affect them, their faith isn't strong enough or they did something wrong to bring it on

Yes, I've heard that, though I think only in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles. Whoever says it should read Job 42:7 "My wrath is kindled against you... for you have not spoken of me what is right." It is exactly what Job's comforters said to him. It is right for each of us to ask himself, Is this the reason? It is utterly wrong for A. N. Other to pronounce that it is the cause.
Logged

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
sprtslvr1973
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA; Jurisdiaction of Dallas and the South
Posts: 678


"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2012, 01:47:55 PM »

Along with times of highly noticeable blessings, times of suffering can be very effective in turning our eyes back to the Lord. As challenging as these times are, I always try to appreciate them in a sense for that very reason.
Logged

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
sprtslvr1973
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA; Jurisdiaction of Dallas and the South
Posts: 678


"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2012, 02:56:00 PM »

I have to say that I don't think Protestants discount suffering. That seems a bit unfair.
Logged

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2012, 04:18:43 PM »

I have to say that I don't think Protestants discount suffering. That seems a bit unfair.

i only speak from my experiences...
Logged
crux_84
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 74



WWW
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2012, 06:19:51 PM »

I have to say that I don't think Protestants discount suffering. That seems a bit unfair.


Your right - it is unfair to generalize people and is it not sinful for me to enjoy the idea that they are so sinful or whatever.Most sincere Protestant people Ive ever met are seriously way less wretched,hateful and unusually sinful as I am.Not that my sick psuedo-christian society didnt have anything to do with my growing up deformed on the inside - the fact of the matter is is that I am a sinner and I like to blame other people for my problems...Anyway it was some very sincere heterodox Baptists that contributed to my own efforts and sincere personal devotion to Christ and coming to the Church and one of the main things I remember them instilling into us(a heterodox Christian mission community) was that we are made perfect through suffering.In fact they were very spiritual mature in this subject with alot of real insight that doesnt seem incompatable with Orthodox truth.
Logged

"The Christian punx are the society of St. John the Forerunner."
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2012, 11:50:33 AM »

I have to say that I don't think Protestants discount suffering. That seems a bit unfair.


Your right - it is unfair to generalize people and is it not sinful for me to enjoy the idea that they are so sinful or whatever.Most sincere Protestant people Ive ever met are seriously way less wretched,hateful and unusually sinful as I am.Not that my sick psuedo-christian society didnt have anything to do with my growing up deformed on the inside - the fact of the matter is is that I am a sinner and I like to blame other people for my problems...Anyway it was some very sincere heterodox Baptists that contributed to my own efforts and sincere personal devotion to Christ and coming to the Church and one of the main things I remember them instilling into us(a heterodox Christian mission community) was that we are made perfect through suffering.In fact they were very spiritual mature in this subject with alot of real insight that doesnt seem incompatable with Orthodox truth.

wow...I find this fascinating, because this was so diametrically opposed to the baptist culture i was raised in...
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 11:51:00 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
David Young
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Baptist
Jurisdiction: local church, Wrexham, Wales
Posts: 1,811


2012, Presbyterian chapel, Nantyr


« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2012, 12:24:54 PM »

this was so diametrically opposed to the baptist culture i was raised in

Mmmm... I think it is fairly commonly believed, written and preached in our circles that enduring suffering, if done in faith and trust in the Lord, has a deepening effect, bringing one to know the Lord more deeply and clearly. I must've preached such a message many times over the years, in a number of churches, and I have the impression that such exhortation is always warmly received and appreciated.
Logged

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
walter1234
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 910


« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2013, 05:15:23 AM »

Quote
Acts14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

If Suffering isis incompatible with Christian, how do they explain this Scripture?
Logged
Tags: suffering 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.128 seconds with 62 queries.