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Author Topic: λειτουργέω and liturgy - same idea?  (Read 868 times) Average Rating: 0
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dabster
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« on: May 22, 2012, 07:07:07 PM »

Hello everyone,

I've been flicking through Peter Gillquist's book Becoming Orthodox and balked at his translation of λειτουργέω in Acts 13:2.  He hoped to see the word 'liturgy' in the verb (and I suppose, who can blame him?) and concluded that those Protestants replaced the word in their bibles with 'ministry' (Catholic translations notwithstanding!).  This struck me as being, well - not putting too fine a point on it - a bit lame.

May I ask the Greek scholars among us please, if what Gillquist says has some validity - or can we simply understand that certain of the prophets and teachers at Antioch were worshipping God (minus a liturgy) and fasting?  Be objective and honest now!

Would the appearance of λειτουργέω e.g. in Romans 15:27 (clearly referring to service in physical concerns) not detract from Gillquist's understanding of the verse in Acts?

Be gentle with me - I'm a newcomer and this is my very first question ever.

Many thanks,

dabster
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ialmisry
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 07:54:54 PM »

Hello everyone,

I've been flicking through Peter Gillquist's book Becoming Orthodox and balked at his translation of λειτουργέω in Acts 13:2.  He hoped to see the word 'liturgy' in the verb (and I suppose, who can blame him?) and concluded that those Protestants replaced the word in their bibles with 'ministry' (Catholic translations notwithstanding!).  This struck me as being, well - not putting too fine a point on it - a bit lame.

May I ask the Greek scholars among us please, if what Gillquist says has some validity - or can we simply understand that certain of the prophets and teachers at Antioch were worshipping God (minus a liturgy) and fasting?  Be objective and honest now!

Would the appearance of λειτουργέω e.g. in Romans 15:27 (clearly referring to service in physical concerns) not detract from Gillquist's understanding of the verse in Acts?

Be gentle with me - I'm a newcomer and this is my very first question ever.

Many thanks,

dabster
λειτουργ-ία , ἡ, earlier Att. λητ- IG22.1140.14 (386 B.C.):—at Athens, and elsewhere (e.g. Siphnos, Isoc.19.36; Mitylene, Antipho 5.77),
A. public service performed by private citizens at their own expense, And.4.42, Lys.21.19, etc.; λ. ἐγκύκλιοι ordinary, i.e. annual, liturgies, D.20.21; λειτουργίαι μετοίκων, opp. πολιτικαἰ, ib.18.
II. any public service or work, PHib. 1.78.4 (iii B.C.), etc.; ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν λειτουργιῶν τεταγμένος, in an army, the officer who superintended the workmen, carpenters, etc., Plb.3.93.4; “οἱ ἐπί τινα λ. ἀπεσταλμένοι” Id.10.16.5: generally, military duty, UPZ15.25 (pl., ii B.C.).
2. generally, any service or function, “ἡ πρώτη φανερὰ τοῖς ζῴοις λ. διὰ τοῦ στόματος οὖσα” Arist.PA650a9, cf. 674b9, 20, IA 711b30; “φιλικὴν ταύτην λ.” Luc.Salt.6.
3. service, ministration, help, 2 Ep.Cor.9.12, Ep.Phil.2.30.
III. public service of the gods, “αἱ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς λ.” Arist.Pol.1330a13; “αἱ τῶν θεῶν θεραπεῖαι καὶ λ.” D.S.1.21, cf. UPZ17.17 (ii B.C.), PTeb.302.30 (i A.D.), etc.; the service or ministry of priests, LXX Nu.8.25, Ev.Luc.1.23.

λειτουργ-έω, earlier Att. λητουργέω IG22.1147.6 (iv B.C.), etc. (λειτ- 22.665.11 (282 B.C.)): pf.
   A λελειτούργηκα Lys.18.7, Is.6.60, Isoc.15.145:
   I at Athens, serve public offices at one's own cost, And.1.132, al., D.27.64: c. acc. cogn., λ. τὰ προσταττόμενα Is.6.61; δύο λειτουργίας D.50.9, cf. Lys.3.47; λ. ὑπέρ τινος serve these offices for another, Is.3.80, 6.64; τὰ λελειτουργημένα public services performed, D.21.169.
   II generally, perform public duties, serve the state, τῇ πόλει X.Mem.2.7.6; ἐκ τῆς ἰδίας οὐσίας ὑμῖν λ. Isoc.8.13; τὸ ταῖς οὐσίαις λειτουργοῦν, ὃ καλοῦμεν εὐπόρους Arist.Pol.1291a34; τοῖς σώμασιν καὶ τοῖς χρήμασιν λ. Id.Ath.29.5; λ. τοῖς σώμασιν D.21.165; τὸ περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς λ. Arist.Pol.1291a35; λ. τῇ πόλει ταύτην τὴν λειτουργίαν ib.37, cf. Plb.6.33.6; λ. πρὸς τεκνοποιΐαν Arist.Pol.1335b28; ἄρχειν καὶ λ. POxy.1119.16 (iii A.D.).
   III generally, serve a master, c. dat., οἱ ἑνὶ λειτουργοῦντες τὰ τοιαῦτα δοῦλοι [εἰσι] Arist.Pol. 1278a12, cf. PSI4.361.15 (iii B.C.), Nic.Dam.4 J.; λ. τρισὶν ἀνδράσιν, of a prostitute, AP5.48 (Gallus).
   2 perform religious service, minister, ἐπὶ τῶν ἱερῶν D.H.2.22; τῷ Κυρίῳ Act.Ap.13.2, etc. (Written λιτ- in Rev.Et.Anc.32.5 (Athens, i B.C.), etc., cf. λειτούργιον, λειτουργός.)

Father Peter is correct.  It is the term used for liturgy in the sense of worship service, etc., both by the pagans and the Septuagint for the Mosaic/Aaronic cult.
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 1
 edited by Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey William Bromiley
http://books.google.com/books?id=ltZBUW_F9ogC&pg=PA528&dq=theological+dictionary+of+the+new+testament+liturgy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bia8T_bcJ4nlggen24SgDw&ved=0CEYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
(though it tries to deny the obvious)

Romans is a play on words, on the older meaning of charity work, and the established usage as a term for cultic worship, and the contrast of the materially rich but spiritually poor gentiles sharing their material wealth to Jews who have shared their spiritual riches with the gentiles.
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 09:22:08 PM »

The word "Leitourgeo," in its Jewish religious context, referred to sacrifices, services, rituals, and even just the maintenance of the Temple. The word, of course, could also refer to ministries outside of worship.

Acts 13:2 could possibly refer to a service of worship, but according to St. Chrysostom, it means the Apostles were preaching--which would make "ministering" a proper translation. I don't think anyone will argue with St. John Chrysostom's Greek.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xxvii.html
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 09:44:27 PM »

Thank you both.  I'm writing this during a break at work and haven't had time to dissect your answer, ialmisry, but will do so later.  Rufus, far be it from me to contradict St. John Chrysostom!  I think Gillquist was trying overmuch to see the few referred to in Acts 13 of the church in Antioch as being engaged in a liturgy along the lines of that of eg. St. John Christostom.  This seems to be what he is arguing.
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 10:14:45 PM »

Thank you both.  I'm writing this during a break at work and haven't had time to dissect your answer, ialmisry, but will do so later.  Rufus, far be it from me to contradict St. John Chrysostom!  I think Gillquist was trying overmuch to see the few referred to in Acts 13 of the church in Antioch as being engaged in a liturgy along the lines of that of eg. St. John Christostom.  This seems to be what he is arguing.

Since Fr. Peter's writings are usually targeted at Evangelicals, and since most Evangelicals believe that early Christian worship was not liturgical, it would make sense for him to try to argue this. However, he doesn't have to. It's true that the Divine Liturgy is much more formal and ritualized than the Eucharist would have been in the Apostles' time; however, it was nonetheless a structured liturgical service, as we can see from the Didache and later sources. The Jewish Passover meal is also a liturgical service.

That the Apostles continued to worship in the Temple, and that many of the priests became Christians (Acts 6:7), is a significant fact that is not given enough attention. The pattern of worship given at Mount Sinai was never abolished--it was simply superceded by its fulfillment in the New Testament. As soon as the early Christians had the ability to build full-fledged temples, they did.
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 10:37:25 PM »

That the Apostles continued to worship in the Temple, and that many of the priests became Christians (Acts 6:7), is a significant fact that is not given enough attention.

Interesting point.  I hadn't considered this.  The apostles were Jews, of course, and did worship in the temple.  Do we have evidence that this was also true of the Gentile believers?
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 10:43:55 PM »

That the Apostles continued to worship in the Temple, and that many of the priests became Christians (Acts 6:7), is a significant fact that is not given enough attention.

Interesting point.  I hadn't considered this.  The apostles were Jews, of course, and did worship in the temple.  Do we have evidence that this was also true of the Gentile believers?

Gentile believers who were not circumcised could not worship in the Temple. See Acts 21:29. Paul almost got killed for supposedly bringing a gentile into the Temple.
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 11:54:08 PM »

The word "Leitourgeo," in its Jewish religious context, referred to sacrifices, services, rituals, and even just the maintenance of the Temple. The word, of course, could also refer to ministries outside of worship.

Acts 13:2 could possibly refer to a service of worship, but according to St. Chrysostom, it means the Apostles were preaching--which would make "ministering" a proper translation. I don't think anyone will argue with St. John Chrysostom's Greek.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xxvii.html
I'm not seeing the contrast. "In Antioch he is ordained, where he preaches."  It is not clear that St. Chrysostom is even saying St. Paul is preaching at the service in question. If St. Luke meant preaching, he could have used διαλέγομαι, as he does elsewhere in Acts when he means "preaching."  Preaching, although it did happen at liturgy (as Acts 20, for instance, tells us), would NOT be indicated by λειτουργέω, which is never so used, in the NT or elsewhere.
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 11:57:14 PM »

Gentile believers who were not circumcised could not worship in the Temple. See Acts 21:29. Paul almost got killed for supposedly bringing a gentile into the Temple.

Right.  Given that this was so and that only a few requirements were placed on the Gentiles at the Council of Jerusalem, I'm missing the continuity of temple worship into the Gentile church.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 12:14:50 AM »

Gentile believers who were not circumcised could not worship in the Temple. See Acts 21:29. Paul almost got killed for supposedly bringing a gentile into the Temple.

Right.  Given that this was so and that only a few requirements were placed on the Gentiles at the Council of Jerusalem, I'm missing the continuity of temple worship into the Gentile church.
The Hebrew worshipers continued until the Temple's destruction.  They worshiped in their synagogues (which had elements of the Temple worship, e.g. chanting of Pslams) with the "God-fearers" (Judeophil Gentiles who did not convert and get circumcized) before the destruction of the Temple, and continued to do so after.  In time, the Hebrew simply became outnumbered by the Gentile worshipers, although for centuries, the archaeological remains of Christians are always in association with the archaeological evidence of Jews.
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 12:23:37 AM »

Ah, okay.
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 12:57:20 AM »

Thanks!
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2012, 01:06:06 AM »

The word "Leitourgeo," in its Jewish religious context, referred to sacrifices, services, rituals, and even just the maintenance of the Temple. The word, of course, could also refer to ministries outside of worship.

Acts 13:2 could possibly refer to a service of worship, but according to St. Chrysostom, it means the Apostles were preaching--which would make "ministering" a proper translation. I don't think anyone will argue with St. John Chrysostom's Greek.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xxvii.html
I'm not seeing the contrast. "In Antioch he is ordained, where he preaches."  It is not clear that St. Chrysostom is even saying St. Paul is preaching at the service in question. If St. Luke meant preaching, he could have used διαλέγομαι, as he does elsewhere in Acts when he means "preaching."  Preaching, although it did happen at liturgy (as Acts 20, for instance, tells us), would NOT be indicated by λειτουργέω, which is never so used, in the NT or elsewhere.

Farther up the page:
Quote
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (v. 2, 3.) What means, “Ministering?” Preaching.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2012, 03:23:53 AM »

Would someone write for me what this word is that you are discussing in Greek, in phonetics?  I understand some Greek and liturgical Greek, but I cannot read it?  I'll comment if I am at all familiar with the term.

Ignore this post, or delete it, I just saw the word in phonetics and cannot offer any more than what has already been stated.
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2012, 07:54:43 AM »

The word "Leitourgeo," in its Jewish religious context, referred to sacrifices, services, rituals, and even just the maintenance of the Temple. The word, of course, could also refer to ministries outside of worship.

Acts 13:2 could possibly refer to a service of worship, but according to St. Chrysostom, it means the Apostles were preaching--which would make "ministering" a proper translation. I don't think anyone will argue with St. John Chrysostom's Greek.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xxvii.html
I'm not seeing the contrast. "In Antioch he is ordained, where he preaches."  It is not clear that St. Chrysostom is even saying St. Paul is preaching at the service in question. If St. Luke meant preaching, he could have used διαλέγομαι, as he does elsewhere in Acts when he means "preaching."  Preaching, although it did happen at liturgy (as Acts 20, for instance, tells us), would NOT be indicated by λειτουργέω, which is never so used, in the NT or elsewhere.

Farther up the page:
Quote
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (v. 2, 3.) What means, “Ministering?” Preaching.
Ah. It seems the St. Chrysostom is guilty here of what Fr. Guillquist is accused of.  Lampe records only this passage, the rest of patristic usage following the same of Classical Greek (which St. John used) and of the New Testament and Early Greek Fathers (as Liddell & Scott and Bauer show).  Of course, St. John was known as a preacher, who insisted that a homily was an integral part of the Divine Liturgy, an idea that still hasn't caught on with some.
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2012, 01:57:52 PM »

Glad you made it here dabster. You'll get much better answers to your questions here than I could ever give you.
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2012, 03:40:27 PM »

The word "Leitourgeo," in its Jewish religious context, referred to sacrifices, services, rituals, and even just the maintenance of the Temple. The word, of course, could also refer to ministries outside of worship.

Acts 13:2 could possibly refer to a service of worship, but according to St. Chrysostom, it means the Apostles were preaching--which would make "ministering" a proper translation. I don't think anyone will argue with St. John Chrysostom's Greek.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xxvii.html
I'm not seeing the contrast. "In Antioch he is ordained, where he preaches."  It is not clear that St. Chrysostom is even saying St. Paul is preaching at the service in question. If St. Luke meant preaching, he could have used διαλέγομαι, as he does elsewhere in Acts when he means "preaching."  Preaching, although it did happen at liturgy (as Acts 20, for instance, tells us), would NOT be indicated by λειτουργέω, which is never so used, in the NT or elsewhere.

Farther up the page:
Quote
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (v. 2, 3.) What means, “Ministering?” Preaching.
Ah. It seems the St. Chrysostom is guilty here of what Fr. Guillquist is accused of.  Lampe records only this passage, the rest of patristic usage following the same of Classical Greek (which St. John used) and of the New Testament and Early Greek Fathers (as Liddell & Scott and Bauer show).  Of course, St. John was known as a preacher, who insisted that a homily was an integral part of the Divine Liturgy, an idea that still hasn't caught on with some.

Ah, I've got you now. St. John is known for occasionally fudging the meaning of a passage, albeit with good intentions. I've also noticed that the NRSV translates the word "worshipping" in Acts 13:2.

Do we know if the word was used for other forms of worship outside of temples, e.g. synagogue services, passover meals, etc.?
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2012, 06:02:24 PM »

Glad you made it here dabster. You'll get much better answers to your questions here than I could ever give you.
Hello Dyhn, nice to see you here too!  Yes, aren't they good?
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2012, 06:31:57 PM »

The word "Leitourgeo," in its Jewish religious context, referred to sacrifices, services, rituals, and even just the maintenance of the Temple. The word, of course, could also refer to ministries outside of worship.

Acts 13:2 could possibly refer to a service of worship, but according to St. Chrysostom, it means the Apostles were preaching--which would make "ministering" a proper translation. I don't think anyone will argue with St. John Chrysostom's Greek.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xxvii.html
I'm not seeing the contrast. "In Antioch he is ordained, where he preaches."  It is not clear that St. Chrysostom is even saying St. Paul is preaching at the service in question. If St. Luke meant preaching, he could have used διαλέγομαι, as he does elsewhere in Acts when he means "preaching."  Preaching, although it did happen at liturgy (as Acts 20, for instance, tells us), would NOT be indicated by λειτουργέω, which is never so used, in the NT or elsewhere.

Farther up the page:
Quote
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (v. 2, 3.) What means, “Ministering?” Preaching.
Ah. It seems the St. Chrysostom is guilty here of what Fr. Guillquist is accused of.  Lampe records only this passage, the rest of patristic usage following the same of Classical Greek (which St. John used) and of the New Testament and Early Greek Fathers (as Liddell & Scott and Bauer show).  Of course, St. John was known as a preacher, who insisted that a homily was an integral part of the Divine Liturgy, an idea that still hasn't caught on with some.

Ah, I've got you now. St. John is known for occasionally fudging the meaning of a passage, albeit with good intentions. I've also noticed that the NRSV translates the word "worshipping" in Acts 13:2.

Do we know if the word was used for other forms of worship outside of temples, e.g. synagogue services, passover meals, etc.?
Not really.  There is some use by the Rabbis for study in the yeshiva, but besides the residual original meaning of public service (it became a form of tax on the rich), it is only used in connection with some cult, pagan, Hebrew, Jewish or Christian, including cult taxes.
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2012, 08:27:50 PM »

I understand the appeal of the continuity of a form of worship from the early church and earlier.  How do the Orthodox view Western forms?
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2012, 08:42:02 PM »

Not really.  There is some use by the Rabbis for study in the yeshiva, but besides the residual original meaning of public service (it became a form of tax on the rich), it is only used in connection with some cult, pagan, Hebrew, Jewish or Christian, including cult taxes.

Thank you. I was wondering, because in modern usage people apply the word "liturgy" to synagogue services and sometimes the passover meal.
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2012, 08:57:30 PM »

I understand the appeal of the continuity of a form of worship from the early church and earlier.  How do the Orthodox view Western forms?

If by Western forms you mean the Mass--the Mass and the Divine Liturgy are simply Eastern and Western counterparts to one another. Both share the same basic structure, and many of the words are exactly the same. Although both forms of the Liturgy have evolved over time, the Eastern Church values continuity more and has therefore been more concerned with preserving liturgical tradition intact. However, Western liturgical forms are not fundamentally different.
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2012, 09:28:22 PM »


If by Western forms you mean the Mass--the Mass and the Divine Liturgy are simply Eastern and Western counterparts to one another. Both share the same basic structure, and many of the words are exactly the same. Although both forms of the Liturgy have evolved over time, the Eastern Church values continuity more and has therefore been more concerned with preserving liturgical tradition intact. However, Western liturgical forms are not fundamentally different.

Oh, sorry Rufus, I worded that poorly.  Thank you though, that's interesting to know just the same.  But no, I was thinking more in terms of the orders of service of evangelical Protestant churches.  I'm guessing anathema.
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Rufus
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2012, 09:59:44 PM »


If by Western forms you mean the Mass--the Mass and the Divine Liturgy are simply Eastern and Western counterparts to one another. Both share the same basic structure, and many of the words are exactly the same. Although both forms of the Liturgy have evolved over time, the Eastern Church values continuity more and has therefore been more concerned with preserving liturgical tradition intact. However, Western liturgical forms are not fundamentally different.

Oh, sorry Rufus, I worded that poorly.  Thank you though, that's interesting to know just the same.  But no, I was thinking more in terms of the orders of service of evangelical Protestant churches.  I'm guessing anathema.

The denial that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ is anathema. The two other big issues that I can think of have to do with the validity of the Christian priesthood and of iconography. Although most Orthodox would also take issue with other aspects of Evangelical worship services (e.g. musical trends), I don't think there are any other doctrinal conflicts.
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2012, 10:19:04 PM »


The denial that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ is anathema. The two other big issues that I can think of have to do with the validity of the Christian priesthood and of iconography. Although most Orthodox would also take issue with other aspects of Evangelical worship services (e.g. musical trends), I don't think there are any other doctrinal conflicts.

I see.  That answers a further question I'd have had.  For you, worship "in spirit and in truth" would necessarily include the teaching that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ; it is "truth" in your view.  Perhaps this is something we can discuss at another time.
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