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matthew
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« on: September 23, 2004, 05:20:53 PM »

1.  Ecclesiology.  The question of who is a member of the Church.  The rejectionist stance of the Orthodox.  The idea that while Protestants can still be saved, they cannot hope to enjoy the true fellowship of Christ.  The conflict of this idea with the idea that salvation necessarily involves the believer's inclusion into the community of God.

2.  Epistemology.  The question of surety; how do we know that the OC will always be "led into all truth"...and then what is "all truth"?  Does it mean absolute correctness in every doctrine, surety of interpretation, etc.?  And how does controversy within the Church, i.e. community and diversity, factor into this equation?

The fact that Athanasius stood contra mundum, to be quite honest, scares me.  It rattles my faith that so many could be deceived.  It bothers me that heresy has been passed by Synods and only later refuted.  It raises the question of "WHEN will the Spirit lead you into truth?  Now or later?"
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2004, 10:08:59 PM »

You are correct on both points.

Did you expect the Orthodox Church to be perfect?
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2004, 11:53:11 PM »

I'm exploring Orthodoxy, and several people have advised me to visit for at least one yearly liturgical cycle before making a decision. Why? The faith is from God and is perfect. The church. made up humans is not. I struggle with some aspects of the faith also, I think everyone does.
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2004, 03:19:41 AM »

You are correct on both points.

Did you expect the Orthodox Church to be perfect?

Perfect...well, I've been told that, in some sense, it is.  It is the  true manifestation of Christ's Body here on earth, so runs the claim.  i.e. it is The Church.

Of course I don't expect it to be entirely perfect.  It's comprised of discrete imperfections, namely Christian people.

I expect it to be the full repository of truth, as it claims.  I expect it to stand up under scrutiny.  I expect it to resound with integrity.  

I also expect it to not fear my questions, and not evade them via disclaimers.
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2004, 07:33:48 AM »

Holy Church Militant is perfect. The members are not. It is like a hospital with the best medicine but worst patients (hardest hit). This is because the simple fatc that devil will hit Orthodox the hardest, due to their light.

On your point 1 (+ò+¦+¦+++¦-â+¦+++++++¦+¦+¦) the answer is, sorry, but this is the fact. Lord has died for His Bride and stood up for his bride. There can be ONLY ONE, if not... why bother.

+ƒn your point 2 (+ò-Ç+¦-â-ä+¦+++++++++¦+¦+¦), the answer would be as the previous one.

These are the facts of the truth, and truth is truth regardless whether it is painful or not. As far as community and diversity is concered, I do not get the point... what is wrong there?

God bless.

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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2004, 09:01:49 AM »

Give the Orthodox position on both issues:

Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, St. Justin Popovich
The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, by St. Justin Popovich.

Both are available through St. Nektarios Press. I wouldn't dream of trying to summarize what they have to say. The issues are too important. And I'm too incompetent.
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2004, 11:18:38 AM »

Holy Church Militant is perfect. The members are not. It is like a hospital with the best medicine but worst patients (hardest hit). This is because the simple fatc that devil will hit Orthodox the hardest, due to their light.

On your point 1 (HuhHuhHuhHuh?) the answer is, sorry, but this is the fact. Lord has died for His Bride and stood up for his bride. There can be ONLY ONE, if not... why bother.

?n your point 2 (?-Ç?HuhHuhHuh?), the answer would be as the previous one.

These are the facts of the truth, and truth is truth regardless whether it is painful or not. As far as community and diversity is concered, I do not get the point... what is wrong there?

God bless.

mmm...I question assertions and am met with reassertions.

Now THAT'S discussion, isn't it.
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2004, 11:21:10 AM »

Give the Orthodox position on both issues:

Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, St. Justin Popovich
The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, by St. Justin Popovich.

Both are available through St. Nektarios Press. I wouldn't dream of trying to summarize what they have to say. The issues are too important. And I'm too incompetent.

I appreciate the referrals, and will do my best to follow up on them.  Right now I'm reading Lossky's Mystical Theology.  It is certainly a roundabout journey of what I think some of the answers might be.  But it's enjoyable.
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2004, 07:57:53 PM »

1.  Ecclesiology...The conflict of this [exclusionist] idea with the idea that salvation necessarily involves the believer's inclusion into the community of God.

     Good thinking.  I think something like this can be seen in Christ's teaching, really.  He instructs the Apostles on safeguarding the life of the Church through discipline, ousting unfaithful members, etc., while not necessarily stopping those outside the Twelve from preaching in His name ("He who is not against Me is for Me," and all that).  We can also see this in Christ's giving the Holy Spirit to...Cornelius, I think it was?...before he was brought into the Church.  Now, yeah, in that instance, it was brought to the attention of the Church -- which happened to be the only confession around at the time -- and he was baptized ASAP, but it happened outside the Church.  If, for some reason, he had died before Peter et al arrived, it doesn't seem as though the Lord would hold it against him.  

     This just shows that God can, indeed move in a redemptive fashion outside the physical work of Mother Church...while all we need is undoubtedly within Her, that is not to say that God cannot receive the less that is required from those others who are living in a lesser revelation of God's truth.

Quote
2.  Epistemology.  The question of surety; how do we know that the OC will always be "led into all truth"...and then what is "all truth"?...It raises the question of "WHEN will the Spirit lead you into truth?  Now or later?"

      My quick answer to this?  We don't know; trust God.  In fact, that's all we're all really doing when it comes down to it, isn't it?  If the Roman Church is infallible, it is objectively infallible, yet the decision to join the Roman Church is made by each, individual, fallible human being, and ultimately, that's a leap of faith.  It's the same with Orthodoxy, with Anglicanism, with any other confession of Christianity or any other faith at all!  Now, I can say that Orthodoxy is "obviously" the Truth, and I may have my reasons for seeing this over and above other confessions, but ultimately my reason for converting from the Southern Baptist Church to Holy Orthodoxy was because I -- sinful, fallible person that I am -- saw a much, much closer semblance to original Christianity in the Orthodox worship and doctrine than I did in my former confession, and that it thus seemed that Orthodoxy had been "kept from all error" in a way the other confessions weren't.  Ultimately we just come to the conclusion that we can trust the Church.  Subjective?  Yeah.  But that's faith -- "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

      Doesn't mean I have to personally give all other confessions and faiths the same reverence I give my own -- I certainly don't -- nor does it mean I don't need thought-out reasons for my belief -- I certainly have them -- but it does keep me from having delusions of an "obviousness" that, as long as there are people around who think differently, doesn't really exist.

      Sorry if I'm rambling; hope the post helped some.
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2004, 01:03:28 PM »

I'm exploring Orthodoxy, and several people have advised me to visit for at least one yearly liturgical cycle before making a decision. Why? The faith is from God and is perfect. The church. made up humans is not. I struggle with some aspects of the faith also, I think everyone does.

Crucifier...

I would listen to your priest. I would also advise you not to visit this site until you decide. Rather spend the time praying, reading and studying...and direct all your questions to your priest. I think I might have undergone one of the quickest conversions in my priests 30+ years...but he and I both agreed I was ready. He and I very quickly discovered that in my life as a Roman Catholic...my personal beliefs as even a teen had always been Orthodox.

Everyone is different. Listen to your prest or other spiritual counselors he might have working with you...and stay off this site with all its jursidctional issues.
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2004, 04:07:10 PM »

Crucifer: I second the motion for you to follow your priest's recommendation. As one wise old Greek Orthodox priest told me once, people that convert quickly to Orthodoxy, without proper catechesis and a real realization of what they are getting into often burn out, become embittered, and wind up not attending church at all after a while.  Take your time.
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2004, 04:39:24 PM »

As one wise old Greek Orthodox priest told me once, people that convert quickly to Orthodoxy, without proper catechesis and a real realization of what they are getting into often burn out, become embittered, and wind up not attending church at all after a while.  

And what was the reason given for that?
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2004, 05:42:46 PM »

Tom (not that you asked me, I know),

One thing I've seen from other people is the tendency to not get some rose-colored preconceptions concerning what the Church is and is not out of the way before baptism and/or chrismation.  They expect the "perfection" of the Church to extend to a degree to which it never claimed to extend.

Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2004, 09:43:56 PM »

The wise old priest thing is a good point.  My wife and I are both converts, and recent ones at that (we hit the two year mark next month).  I've definitely experienced the "dry spots" as I like to call them, that come along now and then, but I think I ride them out for exactly the reason that I know this happens to a lot of converts.  I figure it's just turbulence that needs to be ridden out along the way.  Oh, and I think Spartacus is right.  Stay away from message boards while you spend your liturgical year deciding what you want to do.  Good luck!
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2004, 10:59:42 AM »

They expect the "perfection" of the Church to extend to a degree to which it never claimed to extend.

I agree with you. But where do they GET this initial understanding of the Church? FROM THE ORTHODOX  THEMSELVES!! And then we all learn the truth.
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2004, 08:01:18 PM »

I agree with you. But where do they GET this initial understanding of the Church? FROM THE ORTHODOX  THEMSELVES!! And then we all learn the truth.

Perfection of the Church =/= perfection of Her members.
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2004, 09:09:33 PM »

Perfection of the Church =/= perfection of Her members.

The problem with this equation is the the "Perfection of the Church" is a variable. ANY church could use this as equation to prove its "perfection".

The Orthodox Church needs to get away from presenting itself as "we alone have kept the true faith, without change, as passed down from the apostles" because ANYONE with the ability to read and think can see it for what it is - a lie.

Sorry - but I am Orthodox - so I can get away with saying this  Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2004, 09:33:30 PM »

The problem with this equation is the the "Perfection of the Church" is a variable. ANY church could use this as equation to prove its "perfection".

I'm thinking of Church in a more theoretically way here.  Forget about denominations for a minute.  The True Church, whichever that is, is perfect.  But that perfection is not tarnished by the fact that every one of her members is a sinner--that perfection exists in spite of them.  That is all I am saying.  Maybe my approach is off, I'm not sure.  Any church could theoretically claim this validates them, but then it comes down to which church you, the individual, choose to believe.  This choice doesn't affect the teaching, however.    

Quote
The Orthodox Church needs to get away from presenting itself as "we alone have kept the true faith, without change, as passed down from the apostles" because ANYONE with the ability to read and think can see it for what it is - a lie.

Sorry - but I am Orthodox - so I can get away with saying this  Smiley

Maybe the Orthodox Church needs to abandon the arrogance it often demonstrates to its own and to those outside the fold, but why should we get away from presenting ourselves as the Church which has preserved the true faith?  That's what we are.  Why do you think that's a lie?  And if you think it's a lie, why are you even Orthodox?  I'd think it's much easier to be a Baptist.  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2004, 09:45:24 PM »

I find myself at times drawing parallels with Orthodoxy and Matthew 25: 14 -30, especially verses 24-25, regarding organic growth within the Church as compared with the Church of Rome which may have gone too far.

Charitable comments/ideas are welcomed.

james

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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2004, 08:21:04 AM »

Maybe the Orthodox Church needs to abandon the arrogance it often demonstrates to its own and to those outside the fold, but why should we get away from presenting ourselves as the Church which has preserved the true faith?  That's what we are. Why do you think that's a lie?

I agree with you, Mor. This is exactly what the Church needs to do.

The Church has not "preserved" the true faith. "Preserved", at least in the definition I am using, means to make no changes; to keep it in the same state that it was when it was initially received.

All you have to do is read the history and see how this is not true - the Church has added to faith with man made traditions. Traditions not supported (mentions or references) at all in the Church writings of the first century apostles (and I know about St. Pauls "handed down by us in writing or traditions". And let me stress - I HAVE NO problem with the Church creating these in order to help those less "intellectual" (for lack of a better term, due to my limited vocabulary) focus on the Faith. But don't try to pass them off as Traditions to everyone. I mean the whole SAINT Connstantine thing is such a load of .... It makes me cringe when I see all the Churches named after this murderer.

And if you think it's a lie, why are you even Orthodox?  

Because not ALL of it is a lie. And I do think that the Orthodox Church DOES keep those traditions that I believe are supported in writing by the Saints. And I know that this is a slippery slide in me saying this!

I'd think it's much easier to be a Baptist.  Smiley    

No argument here. But then again, it would be much easier to just stay in bed every day, but you can't do that either.   Smiley

I find myself at times drawing parallels with Orthodoxy and Matthew 25: 14 -30, especially verses 24-25, regarding organic growth within the Church as compared with the Church of Rome which may have gone too far.

Yes, James. Excellent referance. I can go along with this.
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« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2004, 04:19:43 PM »

"I mean the whole SAINT Connstantine thing is such a load of .... It makes me cringe when I see all the Churches named after this murderer."

Wasn't Moses a murderer? And David? And Saul/Paul, did he not promote the stoning of Christians?

Why are you better able to judge Constantine's sanctity than the church is?
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« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2004, 05:58:09 PM »

The Church has not "preserved" the true faith. "Preserved", at least in the definition I am using, means to make no changes; to keep it in the same state that it was when it was initially received.

   Tom,

   Perhaps you can enlighten me on what dogmas and doctrines the Orthodox Church "created" (aka, deviated from tradition)? And seeing that you believe the Orthodox Church is partially a lie, do you also attack the Roman Catholic Church for creating lies?


Quote
All you have to do is read the history and see how this is not true - the Church has added to faith with man made traditions.

Again, can you cite what deviations the Orthodox Church/es is/are guilty of beginning? You are a trifle ambiguous about this.



   Ben
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« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2004, 08:21:11 PM »

Wasn't Moses a murderer? And David? And Saul/Paul, did he not promote the stoning of Christians?

Yes. True - but in the case of Constantine - the man had his son murdered on the way BACK from the Council of Nicea! And then later his wife and stepson murdered. All of this AFTER he accepted the teachings of Christianity.

Read the history of this supposed "Saint"

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« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2004, 08:25:38 PM »

Tom,

   Perhaps you can enlighten me on what dogmas and doctrines the Orthodox Church "created" (aka, deviated from tradition)? And seeing that you believe the Orthodox Church is partially a lie, do you also attack the Roman Catholic Church for creating lies?

They are just so many - starting with ALL traditions relating to the Cult of Mary. Not to mention Helen "Finding the True Cross"

Do I attack the RCC for creating Lies?? - ummm YEAH!!! They are the worst of the worst!

Again, can you cite what deviations the Orthodox Church/es is/are guilty of beginning? You are a trifle ambiguous about this.

ALL traditions added after the first century are man made. Period.

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« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2004, 08:26:00 PM »


The Orthodox Church needs to get away from presenting itself as "we alone have kept the true faith, without change, as passed down from the apostles" because ANYONE with the ability to read and think can see it for what it is - a lie.

Sorry - but I am Orthodox - so I can get away with saying this  Smiley
TomΣ, my friend. Now that you've returned from Greece, you need to make a small trip up North here to Punxsutawney where you and I can discuss this behind my woodshed. :cwm3:

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« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2004, 08:31:12 PM »

[ALL traditions added after the first century are man made. Period.]

Ever hear of the Holy Spirit?

So I guess that we can throw out the New Testament, the Sacraments, the Seven Ecumenical Councils and all go back to worshipping int he local Synagogue and meeting secretly in catacombs or caves?

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« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2004, 08:31:53 PM »

TomΣ, my friend. Now that you've returned from Greece, you need to make a small trip up North here to Punxsutawney where you and I can discuss this behind my woodshed. :cwm3:

Greeks! You should see how they treat their faith over there! I saw active Churches with grafitti all over them. I attended a Vespers service the Saturday evening that the Patriarch of Alexandria was killed in the helicopter crash - and my wife and I were the ONLY ONES THERE besides the Priest and chanter!

The average Greek has no tie to the Church anymore. It is only older women and old men who attend.

Very sad.
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« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2004, 08:37:21 PM »

TomΣ, my friend. Now that you've returned from Greece, you need to make a small trip up North here to Punxsutawney where you and I can discuss this behind my woodshed. :cwm3:

Greeks! You should see how they treat their faith over there! I saw active Churches with grafitti all over them. I attended a Vespers service the Saturday evening that the Patriarch of Alexandria was killed in the helicopter crash - and my wife and I were the ONLY ONES THERE besides the Priest and chanter!

The average Greek has no tie to the Church anymore. It is only older women and old men who attend.

Very sad.

Good for you. And I assume you count you spouse as a Greek?

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« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2004, 08:44:08 PM »

Good for you. And I assume you count you spouse as a Greek?

No, my friend. My spouse is American!  Wink
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2004, 08:52:54 PM »

Good, then she will understand our conference behind my "Woodchuck Lodge" and its inevitable outcome Grin
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« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2004, 08:53:37 PM »

Good, then she will understand our conference behind my "Woodchuck Lodge" and its inevitable outcome Grin

DOH!
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« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2004, 11:13:40 PM »

Tom,

   May I ask you, then, how you feel about the verse from 1 Tim. 3:15?

(KJV)- But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Peace of Christ.
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« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2004, 04:15:11 AM »

Perfection of the Church =/= perfection of Her members.

The problem with this equation is the the "Perfection of the Church" is a variable. ANY church could use this as equation to prove its "perfection".

The Orthodox Church needs to get away from presenting itself as "we alone have kept the true faith, without change, as passed down from the apostles" because ANYONE with the ability to read and think can see it for what it is - a lie.

Sorry - but I am Orthodox - so I can get away with saying this  Smiley

HAH - that's like saying "God doesn't exist - but I can get away with saying this because I'm a Christian."

it's essentially pleading club membership as license for apostasy.

I'm not Orthodox, but I wouldn't even remotely claim what you've claimed.  I think they have indeed preserved the historical link.  I don't think they're perfect people.  I think they've been in error like Israel was in error; but Israel never ceased to be Israel, regardless of the failure of both the whole and its parts.
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