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Author Topic: another Orthodox evangelism thread...  (Read 1258 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 01, 2012, 11:13:57 AM »

I was reading this article: http://www.orthodox.net/articles/evangelism.html

I find it very admirable, and I do agree with what it says.  But at the same time, and this may be the leftover protestant in me, isnt it our responsibility to go and make disciples and spread the word of God?  Doesnt it sound a little Calvinist (maybe??) to say that God is the one who attracts people?

One reason I ask is because I was at a local Baptist mega church the other day and they had a couple of pastors from Iran.  As you can imagine, its not really easy to be a pastor trying to evangelize in Iran.  What they do is they pull guys out of Iran into Istanbul and they teach them how to preach, then send them back in to Iran.  Although I am not a protestant, I admire what these guys do because I know it isnt easy.  They have been beaten, ridiculed and imprisoned many times for their work, but there arent many people there doing what theyre doing and those people need to hear the Gospel as much as anyone. 

I was just curious if the Orthodox are doing anything similar in Iran or similarly hostile places.  I realize it may even be more difficult for Orthodox to do this because they wouldnt be able to build a parish with a large dome and cross, loaded with Icons.  It goes back to a question that I have asked before here: Isnt it better that these muslims are converting to protestant Christianity rather than staying muslim?
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 11:22:12 AM »

Apparently I should do a little more research before I post.  Turns out there are a few Orthodox churches.  There are more of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Assyrian Church of the East.  I was basing my post on what I heard from these 2 pastors.  But even these Churches are still in the minority and I imagine it is hard for them to grow in that region.  So my last question in my previous post still stands. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 11:43:48 AM »

Doesnt it sound a little Calvinist (maybe??) to say that God is the one who attracts people?
Could be Methodism's prevenient grace.

Apparently I should do a little more research before I post.  Turns out there are a few Orthodox churches.  There are more of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Assyrian Church of the East.  I was basing my post on what I heard from these 2 pastors.  But even these Churches are still in the minority and I imagine it is hard for them to grow in that region.  So my last question in my previous post still stands. 
Some people point to the numerical successes of Protestants in Muslim lands (and even formerly Communist lands like Russia). However, as you have noticed, there are Christians who have endured the difficulties of those times and places. For longevity, my money is still on them. Too bad Protestants aren't trying to support and encourage the Christians who are already there.
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 11:55:47 AM »

Doesnt it sound a little Calvinist (maybe??) to say that God is the one who attracts people?
Could be Methodism's prevenient grace.

Apparently I should do a little more research before I post.  Turns out there are a few Orthodox churches.  There are more of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Assyrian Church of the East.  I was basing my post on what I heard from these 2 pastors.  But even these Churches are still in the minority and I imagine it is hard for them to grow in that region.  So my last question in my previous post still stands. 
Some people point to the numerical successes of Protestants in Muslim lands (and even formerly Communist lands like Russia). However, as you have noticed, there are Christians who have endured the difficulties of those times and places. For longevity, my money is still on them. Too bad Protestants aren't trying to support and encourage the Christians who are already there.

Thats a good point.  I would rather see them support the churches there.  Sadly, they dont really seem to acknowledge they exist.
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 12:32:32 PM »

Doesnt it sound a little Calvinist (maybe??) to say that God is the one who attracts people?
Could be Methodism's prevenient grace.

Apparently I should do a little more research before I post.  Turns out there are a few Orthodox churches.  There are more of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Assyrian Church of the East.  I was basing my post on what I heard from these 2 pastors.  But even these Churches are still in the minority and I imagine it is hard for them to grow in that region.  So my last question in my previous post still stands. 
Some people point to the numerical successes of Protestants in Muslim lands (and even formerly Communist lands like Russia). However, as you have noticed, there are Christians who have endured the difficulties of those times and places. For longevity, my money is still on them. Too bad Protestants aren't trying to support and encourage the Christians who are already there.

Thats a good point.  I would rather see them support the churches there.  Sadly, they dont really seem to acknowledge they exist.


Well, that's because the Orthodox aren't Real Christians [tm], but rather idol-worshipping heathens!
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 12:59:47 PM »

Doesnt it sound a little Calvinist (maybe??) to say that God is the one who attracts people?
Could be Methodism's prevenient grace.

Apparently I should do a little more research before I post.  Turns out there are a few Orthodox churches.  There are more of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Assyrian Church of the East.  I was basing my post on what I heard from these 2 pastors.  But even these Churches are still in the minority and I imagine it is hard for them to grow in that region.  So my last question in my previous post still stands. 
Some people point to the numerical successes of Protestants in Muslim lands (and even formerly Communist lands like Russia). However, as you have noticed, there are Christians who have endured the difficulties of those times and places. For longevity, my money is still on them. Too bad Protestants aren't trying to support and encourage the Christians who are already there.

Thats a good point.  I would rather see them support the churches there.  Sadly, they dont really seem to acknowledge they exist.


Well, that's because the Orthodox aren't Real Christians [tm], but rather idol-worshipping heathens!

Haha! True.  There are plenty of people who think that!
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 04:02:18 PM »

there is a lot of orthodox evangelism going on, but what i know about it, i would not publish publicly as it's often in sensitive places.
unfortunately, there is also a lot of people who thing they just have to stay all cosy in their church while those outside have NO IDEA what they are missing.
(mini rant due to having to live for more than 30 years before i got to find out that there were orthodox churches in my country and that going to them would sort out my spiritual problems)...
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 04:05:48 PM »

I have sometimes thought of making little informational booklets and sticking them on the windshields of cars. Still, I don't know if I should do that without permission of my parish.
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 09:45:50 PM »

I seriously can't believe that the writer of this article just said this"we do not bring anyone into the Church - its not our job. We do not attract people to the faith, we do not convince people of the Truth, we don't do any of that"
If someone has never heard of Eastern Orthodox church, how is "God" going to bring them there? I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 10:13:54 PM »

I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

God brought me into my Parish without anyone from it officially evangelising me.

Anyway, back on topic, I honestly think that Islam may be more spiritually healthy than Protestantism. At least if someone is a Muslim and they ever convert to Orthodox Christianity, they will be an empty slate in terms of Christianity and receive Orthodox doctrine without question. Whereas, if they are Protestant converts, their conversion will take longer and they will not be able to receive Orthodox doctrine as readily because their Protestant heresies will need to be demolished first. I personally find it relieving that these Protestant Missionaries are not doing anything for the Orthodox Christians already there. The last thing I want is for them to try to take advantage of our struggling brethren and force them to denounce their Orthodoxy and accept some Evangelical heresy.
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 10:28:28 PM »

I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

God brought me into my Parish without anyone from it officially evangelising me.

Anyway, back on topic, I honestly think that Islam may be more spiritually healthy than Protestantism. At least if someone is a Muslim and they ever convert to Orthodox Christianity, they will be an empty slate in terms of Christianity and receive Orthodox doctrine without question. Whereas, if they are Protestant converts, their conversion will take longer and they will not be able to receive Orthodox doctrine as readily because their Protestant heresies will need to be demolished first. I personally find it relieving that these Protestant Missionaries are not doing anything for the Orthodox Christians already there. The last thing I want is for them to try to take advantage of our struggling brethren and force them to denounce their Orthodoxy and accept some Evangelical heresy.
How did you find out about OC? I’m sure you didn’t just wake one morning and had an epiphany?
Re: the rest of your post-have you ever talked to Muslim about their religion? Do that and see just how difficult it is to convince them that their beliefs are wrong.
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 02:19:34 AM »

I honestly think that Islam may be more spiritually healthy than Protestantism. At least if someone is a Muslim and they ever convert to Orthodox Christianity, they will be an empty slate in terms of Christianity and receive Orthodox doctrine without question. Whereas, if they are Protestant converts, their conversion will take longer and they will not be able to receive Orthodox doctrine as readily because their Protestant heresies will need to be demolished first.
Islam is nothing but an extremly heretical version of Christianity. Muslims believe that Virgin Mary (Miriam) was the most blessed among women. They believe that Jesus was born from the Virgin. They do look forward to the second coming of Prophet Jesus.
Read the following passages from the Quran:
About Announciation to the Virgin
Surah 3:42-48 http://quran.com/3/42-48
About Curcifiction
Surah 4:154-160 http://quran.com/4/154-160
About Second Coming
Surah 3:55-58 http://quran.com/3/55-58
So when it comes to our Lord Jesus Christ, Muslims dont have as much of an empty slate, as you might think.
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2012, 04:37:00 AM »

I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

I'd have to assume you mean God has not physically brought anyone to the door. To say God doesn't bring us converts is, IMO, a dangerous idea.

I agree with you that we need to be vocal and demonstrative in our faith, willing to discuss and to bring people to the parish, but perhaps a bit more exactitude in speech should be exercised.
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 05:06:16 AM »

How did you find out about OC? I’m sure you didn’t just wake one morning and had an epiphany?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42793.0.html

That is my full conversion story. But basically I found out about Orthodoxy through my studying of history. I knew it would be between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism but I chose Orthodoxy because it was older and did not initiate the schism. After deciding to become an Orthodox Christian I just started attending the closest Orthodox parish around and have been going there ever since.


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the rest of your post-have you ever talked to Muslim about their religion? Do that and see just how difficult it is to convince them that their beliefs are wrong.

Yeah I know. But, it is no harder than talking to a hardcore Evangelical Baptist Protestant.
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2012, 07:02:48 AM »

I seriously can't believe that the writer of this article just said this"we do not bring anyone into the Church - its not our job. We do not attract people to the faith, we do not convince people of the Truth, we don't do any of that"
If someone has never heard of Eastern Orthodox church, how is "God" going to bring them there? I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

I had never met someone who I knew was Orthodox, until I walked into an Orthodox Church, after having read about Orthodoxy for probably two years.  No one evangelized me.  God granted me the gift of finding out about His Church, via Catholic Answers (in a passing reference in some post or another).

A large number of the converts I've met since then, likewise, were not evangelized by anyone, but found out about Orthodoxy through some unexpected means.  It seems the rest happened to know someone (sometimes because a family member converted) who was Orthodox and became, themselves, curious.  I have yet to meet a convert who became interested in the Church because of professional missionaries who go about trying to convince people of things.  You can't, I believe, convince anyone of the Truth, you can only tell it to them and let them receive it or reject it. 

Also, a good website helps.  If your parish has a bad website, I doubt too many people are going to take a chance and visit.  I know that if my own parish had some outdated website that had no new news since 2004, and looked like it was made in 1991, I would have been unlikely to visit it.
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2012, 10:39:26 AM »

Most Orthodox Evangelization in the US seems to be by  good works, church festivals, open houses, and "Get to know the Orthodox" firesides. I don't think its a lack of trying by Orthodox, most active Orthodox are very open about their faith even to inviting others to services and sharing with others  about their faith and relationship with the Lord---the reality is that in the US most people just equate the Orthodox Church as "just another Church" or see it as a"quaint" ethnic chutch (Like the Amish). Those who are seriously looking for the Apostolic Churchusually run onto Orthodoxy via their search for the Truth. Although there are many who dismiss the internet, there are an awful lot of converts who first are introduced to Orthodoxy by search engines that lead to it---IMHO the problem is there are as many websited with vacante presence as there are with legitimate orthodox jurisdictions.

Thomas
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2012, 11:02:29 AM »

I seriously can't believe that the writer of this article just said this"we do not bring anyone into the Church - its not our job. We do not attract people to the faith, we do not convince people of the Truth, we don't do any of that"
If someone has never heard of Eastern Orthodox church, how is "God" going to bring them there? I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

This is what I was thinking too.  People here have raised good points about how they found out about the Church by other means and not an evangelist.  I myself would be included in that category.  But I still have a hard time with the idea that "its not our job" to bring people to Church.  Im not saying the author is wrong and that Im right.  Its just something Im having a hard time with right now.

I do realize that you may not be able to convince anyone of anything, but I definitely think we have a responsibility to at least share it with people, and then, as the author says, to live it out with love and good deeds.
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2012, 11:04:24 AM »

Most Orthodox Evangelization in the US seems to be by  good works, church festivals, open houses, and "Get to know the Orthodox" firesides. I don't think its a lack of trying by Orthodox, most active Orthodox are very open about their faith even to inviting others to services and sharing with others  about their faith and relationship with the Lord---the reality is that in the US most people just equate the Orthodox Church as "just another Church" or see it as a"quaint" ethnic chutch (Like the Amish). Those who are seriously looking for the Apostolic Churchusually run onto Orthodoxy via their search for the Truth. Although there are many who dismiss the internet, there are an awful lot of converts who first are introduced to Orthodoxy by search i=engines that lead to it---IMHO the problem is there are as many websited with vacante presence as there are with legitimate orthodox jurisdictions.

Thomas

I love the fesivals the Churches have around here.  The Greek festival is so much fun!  And it is always PACKED with people.  That is definitely a good way to inform people about the Church. 
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2012, 12:54:49 PM »

I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

God brought me into my Parish without anyone from it officially evangelising me.

How did you find out about OC? I’m sure you didn’t just wake one morning and had an epiphany?

God definitely brought me to Orthodoxy. Oddly enough, He used the discernment committee of the ELCA, my former Lutheran pastor and a disabled Greek Orthodox girl and her parents to do it.
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2012, 02:31:51 PM »

The church festivals are great!  I'm looking forward to the Greek and Serbian and Coptic Orthodox church festivals that will be held this summer.   

But, I wonder if this just typecasts Orthodoxy to be for the ethnics and may not clearly show how open Orthodoxy is to new enquirers?

I lived in a town where Roman Catholics fought hard to have a procession through the streets to celebrate the Holy Cross.   The area threw so much red-tape, but those darn Roman Catholics just persisted.  Cheesy  It was quite amazing, as they proceeded through the streets following the Holy Cross, people on the streets might have been confused, but many kneeled down and crossed themselves.

It would be cool if all the different Orthodox churches got together for one big procession through the streets. To really say loud and clear, here we  are and we follow Jesus Christ.   At my Byzantine Catholic  church we just proceeded around the church building but never went out into the streets.  Maybe it's time to actually get out into the streets with our icons and crosses?

Another thing,   the sayings of the Early Church Fathers, the Dessert Fathers, the Elders are so *deep* and so *profound* and so *relevant*.  If people got to hear them, it would stir their souls.  Maybe it would be good to go to CafePress or something and put the sayings on T-shirts and just wear them out where everyone could read them.   Other churches might have really great contemporary praise bands, but that can't compare with the depth of the Fathers.   Orthodoxy doens't need gimmicks or marketing strategies.  The witness of Jesus Christ through the saints is enough.


Also, we all need to get out and openly take care of the poor and suffereing.  By our deeds we are known. ( I haven't done enough, sadly. )


In some Roman Catholic circles there is the Dead Theologians Society where people get together to study various theologians.    It would be nice if there was a group that met to discuss the Church Fathers, Icons, etc.(Maybe also serve some baklava or some poppyseed kolacz, that'll definately help the evangelization process!)


Just some ideas..... Cheesy
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2012, 04:09:01 PM »

The church festivals are great!  I'm looking forward to the Greek and Serbian and Coptic Orthodox church festivals that will be held this summer.   

But, I wonder if this just typecasts Orthodoxy to be for the ethnics and may not clearly show how open Orthodoxy is to new enquirers?

I lived in a town where Roman Catholics fought hard to have a procession through the streets to celebrate the Holy Cross.   The area threw so much red-tape, but those darn Roman Catholics just persisted.  Cheesy  It was quite amazing, as they proceeded through the streets following the Holy Cross, people on the streets might have been confused, but many kneeled down and crossed themselves.

It would be cool if all the different Orthodox churches got together for one big procession through the streets. To really say loud and clear, here we  are and we follow Jesus Christ.   At my Byzantine Catholic  church we just proceeded around the church building but never went out into the streets.  Maybe it's time to actually get out into the streets with our icons and crosses?

Another thing,   the sayings of the Early Church Fathers, the Dessert Fathers, the Elders are so *deep* and so *profound* and so *relevant*.  If people got to hear them, it would stir their souls.  Maybe it would be good to go to CafePress or something and put the sayings on T-shirts and just wear them out where everyone could read them.   Other churches might have really great contemporary praise bands, but that can't compare with the depth of the Fathers.   Orthodoxy doens't need gimmicks or marketing strategies.  The witness of Jesus Christ through the saints is enough.


Also, we all need to get out and openly take care of the poor and suffereing.  By our deeds we are known. ( I haven't done enough, sadly. )


In some Roman Catholic circles there is the Dead Theologians Society where people get together to study various theologians.    It would be nice if there was a group that met to discuss the Church Fathers, Icons, etc.(Maybe also serve some baklava or some poppyseed kolacz, that'll definately help the evangelization process!)


Just some ideas..... Cheesy

Thats exactly what I mean.  I would like to see the Orthodox get more "out there."  I guess where I am having my problem is that I am trying to compare Orthodoxy's evangelism to that of the western church.
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 04:19:07 PM »

How did you find out about OC? I’m sure you didn’t just wake one morning and had an epiphany?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42793.0.html

That is my full conversion story. But basically I found out about Orthodoxy through my studying of history. I knew it would be between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism but I chose Orthodoxy because it was older and did not initiate the schism. After deciding to become an Orthodox Christian I just started attending the closest Orthodox parish around and have been going there ever since.


Quote
the rest of your post-have you ever talked to Muslim about their religion? Do that and see just how difficult it is to convince them that their beliefs are wrong.

Yeah I know. But, it is no harder than talking to a hardcore Evangelical Baptist Protestant.
I came to OC the same way, noone evangelized me. However, I don't think that its good thing to sort of leave people to their own devices and let them find the way themselves.
as to your second point-its much more difficult to discuss Christianity with a Muslim then with a Protestant. Muslims view of Christianity is completely warped and its difficult to impossible to convince them otherwise
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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2012, 04:24:19 PM »

I seriously can't believe that the writer of this article just said this"we do not bring anyone into the Church - its not our job. We do not attract people to the faith, we do not convince people of the Truth, we don't do any of that"
If someone has never heard of Eastern Orthodox church, how is "God" going to bring them there? I have attended local OC for 1.5 and God didn't bring any new converts so far

This is what I was thinking too.  People here have raised good points about how they found out about the Church by other means and not an evangelist.  I myself would be included in that category.  But I still have a hard time with the idea that "its not our job" to bring people to Church.  Im not saying the author is wrong and that Im right.  Its just something Im having a hard time with right now.

I do realize that you may not be able to convince anyone of anything, but I definitely think we have a responsibility to at least share it with people, and then, as the author says, to live it out with love and good deeds.
its our responsibility as Christians to reach out and evangelize others. Early church fathers and apostles did. If they said “gee, if people are interested, they will find us” there would be no Christianity. I’m not saying that we have to push religion down someone’s throat but this “we don’t need to do anything” approach is 100% wrong
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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2012, 04:37:20 PM »

Victoria raises a point. St. Cyril and Methodius did not just stand by the Slavic borders and wait for converts to come to them. Instead, they translated scripture and important texts into their native language and tried evangelising the people. While it is true that God will bring converts to the Church by Himself, I do not think that it is an excuse for us to be lazy and separate ourselves from the western world. Personally, I think that the biggest problem with Orthodoxy in America is the fact that people just view us as some ethnic convention for Greeks and Russians. And, to be honest, I do not think I can really blame them for it. We do indeed put off that attitude among people. Let's be honest here, how many Orthodox parishes are really friendly, welcoming and hospitable to visitors? Maybe a few parishes in the OCA, but other than that, there really are none. If you walk into a Greek or Russian parish you will see them performing their services in their native language with people staring at you awkwardly, acting like you're intruding on them or something. We are the ones who have given the western world this conception about us because of our ethnic tendencies. I think that it is our duty to try to fix this as well.
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2012, 04:52:11 PM »

Victoria raises a point. St. Cyril and Methodius did not just stand by the Slavic borders and wait for converts to come to them. Instead, they translated scripture and important texts into their native language and tried evangelising the people. While it is true that God will bring converts to the Church by Himself, I do not think that it is an excuse for us to be lazy and separate ourselves from the western world. Personally, I think that the biggest problem with Orthodoxy in America is the fact that people just view us as some ethnic convention for Greeks and Russians. And, to be honest, I do not think I can really blame them for it. We do indeed put off that attitude among people. Let's be honest here, how many Orthodox parishes are really friendly, welcoming and hospitable to visitors? Maybe a few parishes in the OCA, but other than that, there really are none. If you walk into a Greek or Russian parish you will see them performing their services in their native language with people staring at you awkwardly, acting like you're intruding on them or something. We are the ones who have given the western world this conception about us because of our ethnic tendencies. I think that it is our duty to try to fix this as well.
I agree with this completely Grin
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« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2012, 05:31:33 PM »

Then, though, you have the case of Alaska where - if I am not mistaken - the monastics who moved there lived out their lives the way they had in Russia, and soon the natives of Alaska saw their holiness and invited them to come and preach.

It is certainly true that Paul, and probably most of the other Apostles, first preached in the synagogues to spread the Gospel.  It may even be true that early Christians stood on street corners and preached Christ.  It was also true that Martin Luther nailed his Theses to a church door.  However, none of these things are acceptable in today's society.  If I go into a Jewish synagogue today, or a Muslim mosque, etc., and begin preaching, I have either lied and said I am a Jew or a Muslim or whatever, or I have unilaterally decided it is a good idea to interrupt their services.  This will anger those present, and while it is possible someone in the audience will be interested in what I had to say, most everyone will instead be forever turned off to Orthodoxy.  If I go into a Baptist church or a Catholic church, I was also most likely not invited, in which case my previous sentence applies.  If I was invited, then by all means I should preach, and some Orthodox priests have gone to local Protestant churches and shared Orthodoxy with the people there, at the invitation of the pastor.  

If I go and stand on a street corner, do you really think anyone will pay attention to what I have to say?  When I see someone, in today's world, preaching about anything via a street corner, I do not think to myself, "Maybe he will make a good point; perhaps I should stay and listen."  I, instead, think to myself, "That man is probably crazy."

So, exactly, what do you think the Apostles and early Christians did that we don't do today?  Go to new lands?  Well, the first monastery in Thailand was just consecrated by the Russians.  I assume the monks there already have, or are working towards, translation of liturgical works into the native language.  Or there is Japan, where it was only in the late 1800's that they first got an Orthodox priest, and today have many thousands of members, all using Japanese.  Or the ROCOR just sent the first missionary priest to Tonga.  Or we could discuss the reception into Orthodoxy over something like, I believe, 2,000 protestants when the Evangelical Orthodox Church decided to become truly Orthodox.  Perhaps we could talk about the Church of China, which is being revived, with Chinese students going to study theology in Russia, and then return to China.  Maybe we could discuss how Pakistan now has, I believe, two Orthodox Churches.  Or we could talk about the massive missionary work going on within Russia, revitalizing the faith there.  Or maybe we could speak about how the Ecumenical Patriarchate now has at least some liturgies served in Turkish.  

What is it that anyone thinks the Apostles did, that we do not do today, that we should do today?
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« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2012, 06:03:30 PM »

We actually have a few missionaries today under the auspices of the OCMC, and about ten more that are being trained. 
See http://www.ocmc.org/missionaries/missionaries.aspx

In addition, we all could (and some of us do) take opportunities to bear witness individually and as parishes. In my town, the GOA parish has its Greek Festival twice a year and it is as much a part of our civic life as anything else. The OCA parish has an annual St Nicholas Festival that is free to the public and anything that is made out of food sales is donated to local charities. All the local priests are constantly talking to various groups and witnessing day in and day out. Some of the lay folks do what they can, by taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to them. Another way to evangelize is to establish and support missions; instead of growing so much that you must built a huge new edifice, why not start spreading the good news by establishing missions? The OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese seem to be doing a great job in the South (the only region with which I am familiar).
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« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2012, 06:49:07 PM »

Interesting thread. Some good ideas.

Regarding street corners I wonder how culturally acceptable that was 1500 to 2000 years ago? It may not have been acceptable either but I have somehow gotten the impression that Saint Paul did this at the least. If it was acceptable then and not now what is the modern equivalent?

Regarding churches being cold I can certainly say that our Antiochian church was not at all. They were warm and welcoming right from the start. I have visited another church that was more ethnic and the liturgy was a bit cooler than what I'm used to, but the coffee hour after was great and we had no end of people to talk to and a very good time. Don't know beyond that those are the only two Orthodox Churches I've been to.

For me I wasn't directly evangelized into Orthodoxy either I have an Uncle who's now a retired Orthodox priest when he and my aunt converted they told the rest of the family and shared a book from Father Gilquist to any family members that were interested. I read it but that was maybe 15 years ago. It planted a seed perhaps and gave me enough information to know Orthodoxy wasn't a cult, but when we finally came to Orthodoxy it was because God put it in my heart to do some soul searching. Frankly He spoke to me through lyrics from some of those sappy contemporary protestant worship songs everyone is always complaining about. That led me to the early Church Fathers and the Church Fathers led me to the church.

Most fun though  laugh or as I like to tell people what really watered the seed my Aunt and Uncle planted was video games. Most notably Medieval Total War where I was always playing the Byzantines and building Orthodox churches, lol.
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« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2012, 02:03:14 AM »

Interesting thread. Some good ideas.

Regarding street corners I wonder how culturally acceptable that was 1500 to 2000 years ago? It may not have been acceptable either but I have somehow gotten the impression that Saint Paul did this at the least. If it was acceptable then and not now what is the modern equivalent?

The modern equivalent is the internet.
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« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2012, 04:38:10 AM »

i like biro's idea of printing leaflets, also we can put small adverts up in local shops, a lot of places have a notice board where people can advertise for a small fee. or we can put an advert in the local newspaper.
internet is also good!
 Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2012, 11:57:31 AM »

I think it's really funny that most people are all "don't judge and be pushy; no proselytism; just be quiet and pray and be holy."

But then somebody comes along who actively engages with people in the public sphere through actual evangelism, and they are almost always made a saint. The New-Hieromartyr Daniel in Russia will be canonized, and he had his parishioners street-witnessing. He lauded the sectarians in their engagement of the public. St. Alexis Toth brought in thousand and thousands of Greek Catholics into Orthodoxy. The list goes on and on.

Go knock on your neighbor's door and tell them about Jesus. The Genuine True Pravoslav Brotherhood might mistake you for a Protestant at first, but after you die they will canonize you.
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« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2012, 06:45:37 PM »

I think it's really funny that most people are all "don't judge and be pushy; no proselytism; just be quiet and pray and be holy."

But then somebody comes along who actively engages with people in the public sphere through actual evangelism, and they are almost always made a saint. The New-Hieromartyr Daniel in Russia will be canonized, and he had his parishioners street-witnessing. He lauded the sectarians in their engagement of the public. St. Alexis Toth brought in thousand and thousands of Greek Catholics into Orthodoxy. The list goes on and on.

Go knock on your neighbor's door and tell them about Jesus. The Genuine True Pravoslav Brotherhood might mistake you for a Protestant at first, but after you die they will canonize you.

It isn't that I object to telling people about Orthodoxy and Christ.  I most certainly don't.  It is that I believe some ways of doing so are much more likely to succeed than others.  On St. Daniel's Orthodoxwiki page, it mentions things like his parish holding lots of classes on a variety of topics, and having frequent open-houses where St. Daniel was available for questions.  Those are good ways of evangelizing.  I also think that, whenever there is a legitimate opportunity in conversation, mention Orthodoxy.  Whenever you see an opening, take it.  However, if you try and make or create artificial openings in a conversation, I think you're going to push a lot of people away.

I, and many, many people I know, have an extreme dislike of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses for their rather annoying interruption of my life by bothering me and asking me if I'd like to hear more about their church.  That is what I feel would happen if Orthodox went door to door.  Now, if your parish is hosting some sort of event, then by all means go door to door and invite people.  But if we all just start going door to door to tell people about the Church, before long nearly everyone will decline any invitation - no matter the location - to hear about Orthodoxy, much as most people do with regards to Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

If Orthodox start preaching from the streets in America, I have a very strong feeling that we will soon all be classes as loons.
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« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2012, 10:55:45 PM »

Lets just go ahead and drop the whole "yell at people from the street corner" idea as a means of evangelism.  Thats not what I am talking about.  Maybe its because I am so much more familiar with the protestant world, or maybe its just that most of my friends are protestant.  Maybe I dont really know what I am trying to say.  I guess i just see so much more evangelism coming from my protestant friends.  But then again, that may be an unfair thing for me to say because thats really all Im familiar with. 

Like I mentioned earlier about the pastors in iran.  I just had so much admiration for what they are doing.  They are going into a dangerous place and sharing the Gospel.  Many, many people have been baptized in that country through this organization.  Even though theyre protestant, I just have a hard time not appreciating what they do.  Most protestants today are not still trying to protest the Catholic or Orthodox church.  Many of the ones I know are just concerned with telling people about Jesus. 

Is there anything we can do to have more people coming to Orthodox parishes rather than the protestant churches?  Shouldnt we want this if Orthodoxy is the True faith?  Are we really supposed to just stand by and not be active in making this happen?  These are the questions I am struggling with.
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« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2012, 01:42:11 AM »

Ya know I was just mentioning to someone at church today bout a Christian Motorcycle group I'm still technically part of though not very active in any more (Comes among other things with not having a motorcycle that has worked right for awhile.) who had a motto of "Serve first and earn the right to speak". I've seen that work too. Had a guy I knew who felt he should reach out to a group of particularly tough bikers walked right up to them and started preaching and they scattered to the four winds. Seen others that spent time volunteered to help with things etc. have been invited into clubhouses had actual chances to share been asked to pray for people etc.

On another related note had a friend who used to say about Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses it was like having someone walk up to your door wearing a pin that says "I'm lost and going to hell and I want to talk about God". I think there could be a unique opportunity for the Orthodox there too.

Corrected a typo. MB
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« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2012, 05:56:32 AM »

Lets just go ahead and drop the whole "yell at people from the street corner" idea as a means of evangelism.  Thats not what I am talking about.  Maybe its because I am so much more familiar with the protestant world, or maybe its just that most of my friends are protestant.  Maybe I dont really know what I am trying to say.  I guess i just see so much more evangelism coming from my protestant friends.  But then again, that may be an unfair thing for me to say because thats really all Im familiar with. 

Like I mentioned earlier about the pastors in iran.  I just had so much admiration for what they are doing.  They are going into a dangerous place and sharing the Gospel.  Many, many people have been baptized in that country through this organization.  Even though theyre protestant, I just have a hard time not appreciating what they do.  Most protestants today are not still trying to protest the Catholic or Orthodox church.  Many of the ones I know are just concerned with telling people about Jesus. 

Is there anything we can do to have more people coming to Orthodox parishes rather than the protestant churches?  Shouldnt we want this if Orthodoxy is the True faith?  Are we really supposed to just stand by and not be active in making this happen?  These are the questions I am struggling with.

There are Orthodox priests working in Iran.  There were countless priests working in Communist Russia, secretly, to keep the faith there strong.  There have been countless priests butchered by the Muslims, massacred by the Catholics, annihilated by the Communists and Fascists, because they were spreading the faith.  What the Orthodox do in dangerous countries, they try not to publicize to the entire world, so that regimes like that of Iran don't get wind of where they are and execute them all, preventing the spread of Orthodoxy in those dangerous countries. 

Anyways, I have been a Protestant.  I was an Evangelical Protestant.  I even went to a megachurch for a while, several thousand people were present every Sunday, spread over six service times.  They were very, very good at attracting people into their church, both other Protestants and non-Christians (or Christians who were quite lapsed).  It was while there that I ceased to consider myself a Christian.  I know quite a few people who attended Protestant churches that are very good at getting people in the door, only to then see them stop having anything to do with religion.  Religious groups that focus chiefly on getting people in the door - which is what every church I have ever had any experience with, that puts a massive focus on evangelism, does - seem to always then lose most of their converts, who are often times in a worse spiritual place after leaving those churches. 

Orthodoxy does not put all of her effort towards getting people in the door, but rather making sure those who do come now what they are getting into, and making sure they will stay in the door. 

Also, I do see Orthodox people engaging in evangelism.  They don't go 'round to doors inviting people to Church, nor do they constantly interject their religion into any conversation they are having, even if it's just about how much rain their city's been getting lately.  Rather, they witness to the world the Love that is God, the love that Christ says we are to be known by.  It is that love that draws so many people in.
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« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2012, 10:04:10 AM »

Quote
I know quite a few people who attended Protestant churches that are very good at getting people in the door, only to then see them stop having anything to do with religion.  Religious groups that focus chiefly on getting people in the door - which is what every church I have ever had any experience with, that puts a massive focus on evangelism, does - seem to always then lose most of their converts, who are often times in a worse spiritual place after leaving those churches.

I have seen this too.  I even heard a statistic growing up (not sure how true it is) that 85% of Christian kids quit going to church after they leave for college.  I wonder how these numbers compare in Orthodoxy. 

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« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2012, 12:12:12 PM »

Just FYI for y'all considering evangelism methods, do not under any circumstances put a leaflet on my car (it's called littering) nor show up uninvited at my door to tell me about Jesus (it's called trespassing).
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« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2012, 12:48:59 PM »

Just FYI for y'all considering evangelism methods, do not under any circumstances put a leaflet on my car (it's called littering) nor show up uninvited at my door to tell me about Jesus (it's called trespassing).

This goes for me too!!  When someone puts something on my car its like theyre saying, "Here, YOU throw this away!"
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« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2012, 01:16:26 PM »

I think it's really funny that most people are all "don't judge and be pushy; no proselytism; just be quiet and pray and be holy."

But then somebody comes along who actively engages with people in the public sphere through actual evangelism, and they are almost always made a saint. The New-Hieromartyr Daniel in Russia will be canonized, and he had his parishioners street-witnessing. He lauded the sectarians in their engagement of the public. St. Alexis Toth brought in thousand and thousands of Greek Catholics into Orthodoxy. The list goes on and on.

Go knock on your neighbor's door and tell them about Jesus. The Genuine True Pravoslav Brotherhood might mistake you for a Protestant at first, but after you die they will canonize you.

lol.

The sad thing about many Americans is that they have never knocked on their neighbor's for anything.

Not for a cup of sugar, much less Christ.
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