JamesR, your last post is so full of c*** that I am not going to bother to quote it. "Mainline" Protestant denominations have been around for far more than 100 years. Lutherans, Anglicans, and many Reformed have been here since Luther, Calvin and Zwingli started the Reformation (more than 500 years ago). They have also had their share of persecutions. The Communists did not discriminate when it came to sending Christians to the Gulags, and a lot of Baptists and other Protestants ended up there right next to the Orthodox. Only thing is, they did not make deals with the Communists like Sergius and other "Orthodox" Bishops. I don't even want to take the time to count the number of Protestant missionaries murdered trying to spread the Gospel. Also, not all of Protestantism is a "do nothing, feel good" religion. My father was a pastor in the LCMS and I was an elder in the WELS, and I have heard just as many "hellfire and brimstone" sermons (as well as preaching them myself) as I have heard in any Orthodox Church. I have also heard, and preached myself, that Faith without Works is dead. I find that many that condemn the three "Solas" of the Lutheran Church have absolutely NO idea of what they mean. It is funny that in my town of Omaha, there are six Orthodox Churches and not one Orthodox school. There are four WELS churches, two of which have schools. None of the WELS churches are as large (member wise) as the largest Orthodox Churches, yet their own members support the Churches AND schools without bingo and ethnic festivals and the like. The general view of the WELS (and LCMS) Churches that I have attended is "if our faith is so cold that we cannot even support our own pastors and workers, we do not deserve to exist". If the Orthodox adopted this idea of Stewardship, we would likely only have one parish left in Omaha. Interestingly, Greeks have been in Omaha nearly as long as anyone else, yet there was a Lutheran Hospital, a Methodist Hospital, and a Roman Catholic Hospital. Is there even an Orthodox Hospital in the whole of the United States? Our shelters are run by Protestants and Roman Catholics. Six Orthodox Churches and no visible sign of outreach whatsoever. THIS is what I am talking about when it comes to fruits. You can talk about your “correct faith” all you want, but if your only expression of it is to come to Church once a week (and late at that), perform your rituals and go home, you have no faith that I am interested in.
To be clear, not all Orthodox are as mentioned above, nor are all Protestants. There is plenty of good and bad in both. But it does strike me as odd that the one truly self-supporting Orthodox Church in the area, one that has its people volunteer in the Protestant run shelters and who has no shortage of people to serve in the Church, and the one that is even having other Orthodox start attending (including half of our Russians) is headed by a convert priest and now has a church board that is fully comprised of converts.
And what is the point? Simply this: it is getting harder for me to believe that the Orthodox Church is the ONLY true Church when I see more of Christ outside of it than in. Maybe we as Orthodox Christians need to stop making excuses and start living our Faith instead of talking about it, as the Patriarch of Moscow recently urged. Maybe instead of trash talking the Protestants, we should be ashamed that so many of them practice what we preach.