Why are you on an Orthodox Christian forum attempting to bring people into destruction with you?
Good question, but you misunderstand & the destruction part is a bit loaded as most of the arguments I present are backed in scripture, often quotes from God.
I seek answers, and if only met in hatred, ridicule, an insults (which have been many of the responses) it only validates to me that indeed my choice of leaving the EO church is valid. As Christians, we should be able to engage in dialog that is not condescending and disrespectful, but rather in love, we should be able to engage in dialog and truth. Answers met with anger is frustration, dissonance, and/or outrage/insult because "how dare you".
It's been a long journey, as EO was instilled in me since birth.
I view the EO church as hijacked, where the historical roots are real and many of the teachings are real, but through the years it has become something that has strayed (way beyond evolving) from the original church. I believe in 90% of what EO is.
But anyway, this is the free for all section under religious topics. From what I read it is Hot/Controversial/debate-intended topics. I'm not intending to take anybody from the church, in fact I have tried to be helpful to those in the church on other sections. But these are real issues I have with the EO church.
They are not backed by Scripture, they are back by your bad exegesis of Scripture.
Let's run through Matthew 23 line by line.
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
No explanation needed
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Here, the Lord is not criticizing those who hold authority, but criticizing those who hold authority, but are hypocrites and do not practice the law which they teach. He tells them, "All therefore whatsoever they bid you over, that observe and do," meaning that they should observe what the Pharisees say to do, but also he says, "do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not," pointing out their hypocrisy, showing that they do not practice the very law which they prescribe and interpret. Our bishops, whom you have unjustly defamed may be hypocrites (although you have produced scant evidence to substantiate your libel), in which our Lord's instructions are clear, we must follow the law and their interpretation of the law but not follow by their example of hypocrisy.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Here the Lord is not criticizing the Pharisees for being "tyrants" or whatnot, but he criticizes them for their unwillingness to care for people pastorally. This may be true of some clergy in the Orthodox Church, but it certainly is not always the case.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Here the criticisms of the Lord are very specific. He does not condemn the use of phylacteries and of garments, rather he condemns them making their phylacteries broad and enlarging the borders of their garments. This is because the only reason a Pharisee would make his phylacteries broad would be to make it more obvious to others that he is praying while in public. Liturgical vestments do not serve the same purpose, hence your criticism is unfounded.
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Here, the Lord does not forbid people calling their teachers by the title Rabbi or whatnot, he condemns those who seek to be called as such. Similarly, he does not forbid or condemn those who are given the uppermost rooms at feasts or the chief seats in synagogues because it is an honor which they deserve, he condemns those who vaingloriously seek to be given such honors, or worse still, bestow such honors upon themselves. This is why he says in verse five, "but all their works they do for to be seen of men," because he is condemning self-serving acts of vanity among those in positions of authority, and condemning those who would arrogate authority upon themselves when rightfully they should have none.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
These verses (8-10) are often abused twisted out of context. It should be obvious to all but the most dense of people that Christ does not literally mean that none should be called father on earth, as children still call their fathers "father". What the Lord means is to say that none should call a man father, and ascribe to him the absolute authority which is ascribed to God the Father. Similarly, elsewhere in the Scriptures slaves are told to obey their masters. It is clear that the Lord is not abolishing the social structures of father and son, master and student, or master and slave; he is saying that none should arrogate the title of Master for themselves, and that none should invest in a man the authority reserved for God the Father. We do not call our priests father so as to give them authority like God the Father. We call them father to recognize their special role in our lives as guides and teachers, much as a father guides and teaches his own son.
Furthermore, Jesus' reasoning for two of these prohibitions, the ones found in verses 8 and 10, are that He Himself is their one teacher and leader. We see however, that in 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul writes, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." It should be clear then that after the ascension of the Christ into the heavens, others were ordained as teachers, and it is they who rightfully can be called masters because they are invested with the authority of our risen Lord. It is interesting to note that more modern translations of Matthew 23:10 more accurately translate the Greek word, 'καθηγηταί' as 'leaders' instead of 'master' as in the KJV. With this more accurate meaning of the verse in mind, let us bring to mind how clear it is from Acts and the Epistles that a system of leadership existed in the Church after Jesus' ascension. Either the Apostles were disobedient, or this prohibition was purely temporal.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Your criticism that bishops are not our servants is unfounded. The bishops are servants of God and of the people. It should be clear by reading the lives of people like St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco just how much of a servant of the people one of the greatest among us was.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Here the Lord does not condemn long prayer, as you have wrongly implied. He condemns long prayer for pretense. Similarly, he condemns not building churches at the expense of the poor (as if it were an either or choice), he condemns the Pharisees who would use their authority to defraud widows' families of their money by taking advantage of the widows' misfortune. If you feel that you are capable of judging the hearts of our clergy on either count, then you may go right on ahead with your madness.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Again, if you think you can judge the hearts of our faithful and clergy, go right on ahead.
16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
You obviously do not understand what the Lord means when he prohibits oaths. The prohibition is against making oaths without just cause (thus profaning God, the heavens or whatever one might swear by). Solemn oaths are not forbidden, as we can see that God at times swears by himself (Gen 22:16-17), that Jesus in Matthew 26:63 is asked under oath whether he is the Son of God, to which he does not protest that one ought not make oaths, and that Paul in Second Corinthians 1:23 swears by an oath as well.
17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
What does this verse have to do with the OCA? Did the OCA start teaching that the gold is greater than the Church? Give me a break.