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Big Chris
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« on: May 30, 2012, 07:35:59 PM »

I'm just going to throw this out there because it's been floating around in my mind for some time now, and suppressing it doesn't last for long.

Considering that all I've really known is high church Catholicism and Orthodoxy, considering that I've never really taken the time to learn about all the nuances that shape Protestantism, considering that I've never really given any form of Protestantism a fair shot but repeatedly accepted some apologist's claim in order to maintain social stasis, I am now at this point where I wonder why I shouldn't become a Protestant.  It's a highly conflicting thought for me now.  Having attended more than a few low church Protestant services in my life now but so long ago, I can only vaguely remember what it's like to experience life as a Protestant.  If I knew then what I knew now, there might be an opportunity for a fair assessment. 

There's a large non-denominational church right down the road from me.  I've visited their website before and have really felt inspired by their mission.  I get the feeling that belonging to that particular body of Christ could help me in so many different ways - like being able to get involved more with the community, helping with outreach, learning more about the Bible through Bible Study, meeting people my own age, making great friends, experiencing the presence of Christ through the love of others, etc..  I honestly think my fiance - who was born Catholic - would really like it, as well.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

I don't write any of this to sound like a troll - but it's honestly something I'm wrestling with.  At times, I really have to think hard about why I am pursuing Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 08:09:18 PM »

I'll try to make it simple, and my personal reason for not being Protestant - It didn't exist until the reformation and is based on a rejection that the Holy Sprit has continuously and consistently guided the Church to the point where a brand new one (which gave birth to countless others based on the same premise) had to be started.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Yeah, but we have St Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom, St Mary of Egypt, St Moses the Black, St Seraphim of Sarov, St Nectarios of Aegina, and many others. As for the bolded name, his son is now Orthodox.

Just a couple of thoughts.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 09:20:20 PM »

Chris,
I applaud the openness and intellectual honesty in your query. I can't lay claim to the intellectual heights of the people you list but I can tell you why after 20 year in an Evangelical Church and 20 years in a Charismatic Church I am coming to Orthodoxy now. I can also tell you that in changing from Evangelical to Charismatic I didn't do it on a whim and that I put a fair amount of study into it. I can additionally tell you that when I decided to convert to Orthodoxy I put a year of near continuous study into it. I can further tell you I found it compelling enough to give up my ministerial license and to take my family out of the church we'd been in for 20 years and away from the people of that church. People that were not just friends to us but family.
The bottom line reason I'm switching is that Sola Scriptura Protestantism lies to itself without knowing it. They claim to follow scripture alone but each Protestant church also follows it's own Tradition, which they don't admit even to themselves. So when you get down to it your pitting Tradition against Tradition. When I did this, I had to ask myself,” which tradition should I trust?” On one hand a tradition that is ever changing, self-denying, and borrows piecemeal  from other traditions some of which it condemns, all while saying it's Bible only. On the other hand the Orthodox tradition that wrote the Bible and selected which books should be in the canon and which has remained almost unchanged for 2000 years.
Hope this help.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 10:53:55 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

There is a different ontology in the Orthodox Church than Protestantism.  Our ontological approach is spiritual, not intellectual.  We are not smart, we are blessed, there is a difference.  So when we come to Orthodox, it is to have an experience, not necessarily an understanding.  In you getting closer with Orthodox, perhaps you should shift your exploration towards the Spirit and not just the letter? After all, the Fathers of the Church have been quite intelligent and intellectual as well, but that is not exactly why we venerate or study them, but rather from the religious experience we have with our relationship with them as Saints.  Try to be a bit more spiritual about it, live in the moment rather than the mind.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 11:29:39 PM »

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Melodist has pointed out that you could likewise draw up an impressive list of Orthodox saints to compare (very favorably for Orthodoxy) to these men. Likewise, I could draw up a list of impressive pagans and even one of atheists with amazing intelligence to overshadow anything you are likely to find here or in your local parish.

In the end, you can't worry about what was 'good enough' for Bonhoeffer or Gandhi or Francis of Assisi or even St. John Chrysostom. What you have to worry about is what is the *truth* insofar as you are able to discern (or experience, to Habte's excellent point). If you 'go Protestant', it should be because you are convinced that that is the Church Christ founded. If you are concerned that they 'might' be because you haven't heard their side of the story, then by all means look into their side. But don't settle for 'good enough'.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 11:41:42 PM »

Good thing you're going through a long catechumenate.
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 11:41:59 PM »


Of all the thing I could site to you, one stands out, and the person who says it makes it perfectly clear as to where he got it from and the Orthodox Church makes it very clear where she got it from. Christ is Really Present within his Church, and I have no where else to go away from him !  

1 Corinthians 11: 23-32
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.


Yeah none of that it is a symbol nonsense! No Christianity with out the Eucharist and the Eucharist is the Real Presence ! the Paschal Lamb that came to take away the sin of the world is slain and he has given us his very body and blood so we may eat and live, for we have no life by ourselves, for this very reason he has come unto the world! To establish the New Covenant by His precious blood! To reject that is to reject everything!  If One must abandon Christ for being unable to handle this truth then so be it, but the Truth can not abandon itself nor deny itself!
The Lord did not appologise for those who were scandalized by the literality of what he said about his body and blood,  he did not say, oh wait I did not mean it, I meant in symbolism please don’t go away !’ rather said  to the apostles do you want to leave too?


John 6 :22-71 22On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59Jesusd said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
________________________________________


Yes Christ keeps me in his Church none other! everything else is beautiful and loveable in Him , and through Him. All the glorious saints men and women of Orthodox Faith I love and I revere through Christ, in Christ.  Without Him away from Him there is only  falsehood  and Death.


In Christ,
Hiwot.
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 01:37:58 AM »

I second what Hiwot said. The Eucharist. Don't be swayed by the glossy advertising when you can have the Body and Blood of Christ!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 01:38:32 AM by SeekingTruth » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 02:00:41 AM »

I'll try to make it simple, and my personal reason for not being Protestant - It didn't exist until the reformation and is based on a rejection that the Holy Sprit has continuously and consistently guided the Church to the point where a brand new one (which gave birth to countless others based on the same premise) had to be started.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Yeah, but we have St Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom, St Mary of Egypt, St Moses the Black, St Seraphim of Sarov, St Nectarios of Aegina, and many others. As for the bolded name, his son is now Orthodox.

Just a couple of thoughts.

To expound on this, if you are Protestant you dont believe in the Words of Christ. To paraphrase, 'the gates of hell will not prevail over it(the Church)." To believe in the ludicrous invisible church theory you have to believe the Church did fall and it was revived magically by Luther and his ilk like the bastard fiend Calvin to a banal, sick, rationalistic, mental belief and totally foreign to ancient worship all over the world, religion. Sola Scriptura? The scriptures themselves counter that argument.  I dont see how one can read John and not be Catholic (Orthodox or Roman). For people who claim to believe what the scriptures say, they sure dont believe in what the scriptures say.... I mean Ive seen the prelest arguments and it would be almost comical if it wasnt born of the father of lies. They construe some crazy stuff trying to justify thier beliefs in contrast to the plain sayings of the Scriptures (in the occasions they are plain).  Then stuff that should be taken as hyperbole they take seriously. Weird. Im almost certain its prelest.

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Church history started before 1500 AD. If you take the time to research this hard to believe fact....., I honestly dont see how one can remain protestant.
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 02:43:18 AM »

I can't think of a single thing to say that I could say any better than has already been posted, especially what Melodist, Maximum Bob, and KShaft said.  I do know that after being raised Catholic, I had a very broad exposure to various Protestant sects, one most recently.  They all left a very bitter taste in my mouth, yeah--especially that last one.  

One other thing--you don't go to church for 'splendor.'  And then last Sunday, I sat for the very first time in an Orthodox Matins and Liturgy completely surrounded by splendor--not the splendor of avarice.  I was completely swept away, back in time.  There's just no potluck or fellowship meeting in the world to rival that, and I've only now experienced it once.  Perhaps it's my 'noobiness' but I can't imagine walking away from that.  Check it out, but I think coming from the Orthodox church will only make you see quicker and clearer why you need to come back.  

I see many people every day who wear their faith like clothes--they wear it on the outside.  The lapels are starched and the creases are perfectly aligned in the pants, and the tie is straight.  They put their doctrine over God's Word, God's laws, and God Himself.  You're supposed to wear your faith on the inside.  Like your mind and your heart.  You'll see the difference.  When the flash and banter wears off, you'll see the difference.


Check it out because if you're asking questions and you don't check it out, you'll always be wondering.  Wish it didn't work that way but it does in most cases. 

This is going to sound flaky, I'm sure, but sometimes we don't find what we're looking for until we go looking for it in all the wrong places. 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:50:26 AM by gonefishing » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 04:02:38 AM »

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles. But this is not a kind of bragging as though we can rest on our laurels because we "have" St. Peter, St. Mark, St. Athanasius the Apostolic, St. Cyril, or whoever. It is more a matter of knowing where your faith comes from, why you believe and practice as you do, and living the Christian faith in the context of all that has nourished the Church and all of its people throughout the ages. If you are Protestant, you are essentially saying that 16th century European theologies, ecclesiologies, and modes of worship are Christianity in its most faithful form, which is clearly not true. If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

If you not historically-minded, there are still other problems. I can remember that as a young Presbyterian, we got a new pastor after our old pastor retired. This caused major problems within the church, as some didn't like his style (he was real slick, like a car salesman or something). My mother was one of the people who didn't care for him, so we began attending a Methodist church the next town over. Now, I'm the last one to disparage anyone for such a choice (my dear mother being one who made it, after all!), but I do know that it wasn't made because a significant portion of the congregation had shifted from being Calvinists to being Arminians. So there is also the sense that, while they may have certain proof-texts that they'll turn to in order to wax poetic about their deep commitment to Christ and the scriptures, much of modern (and indeed earlier) Protestantism isn't really about anything substantial, to say nothing of its lack of consistency. It really is a short step from the bland, vapid pietism of much of modern Protestantism (even the mainline denominations, as they race to the bottom, doctrinally and in terms of praxis, in their struggle to even get people in the door) to generic deism, to...well, I don't want to know what.

This one-two punch of a lack of Apostolic tradition and the attendant lack (for the most part) of any sort of care or even form to their praxis, theology, or doctrinal stances pretty much K.O.'s Protestantism for me, but your mileage may vary. I hope if you do start attending Protestant churches it will awaken you to what you are missing that can only be found in Orthodoxy (see: everyone else's posts). I agree with gonefishing in that regard. I know I wouldn't be Orthodox myself if I hadn't first been Protestant and then Catholic. Sometimes you have to take the long way home so that you'll know where all the wrong turns are.

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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 06:50:34 AM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 07:57:47 AM »

I'll try to make it simple, and my personal reason for not being Protestant - It didn't exist until the reformation and is based on a rejection that the Holy Spirit has continuously and consistently guided the Church to the point where a brand new one (which gave birth to countless others based on the same premise) had to be started.

All Baptised Christians receive the Holy Spirit, plus if there was a Schism then how do you explain that? How did the Holy Spirit guide the split? Men, who run churches are fallible. Holy Spirit can guide us but in no means make us (for sure) or our churches (at least in my feeble opinion) infallible. However, saying that, the Orthodox can claim to be the closest to the original faith and there really isn't many good arguments against it like there is with Roman Catholics and Protestants. Hearing a Roman Catholic and a Protestant (especially Baptist or nondenominational types) debate you almost always think they both lost the argument.

Being a Lutheran I'd agree that the Eucharist is of the highest importance and it wouldn't make sense to me to leave a church that believes in it for a church that does not.
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 08:50:26 AM »

Being a Lutheran I'd agree that the Eucharist is of the highest importance and it wouldn't make sense to me to leave a church that believes in it for a church that does not.
I must +1 for the Eucharist!  If the Eucharist is absent, all converse with the intention of conversion are over.  Finished, done...khalas Wink
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 10:00:43 AM »

Everybody thus far has raised some good points.  Since there is a great deal of overlap, I'll respond to the below post alone:

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles.

(snip)

If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

I question this.  Philip Scaff, for instance, was quite the patrologist and historian of early Church history and yet he was not compelled to grant Orthodoxy any special honorific position.  In our own day, Peter Lampe is thoroughly versed in the history of the early Church and yet he remains a Lutheran.  Furthermore, Andreas Köstenberger (Baptist) and Michael Kruger (Presbyterian), authors of the The Heresy of Orthodoxy - a book which indeed argues for one, holy, catholic and apostolic church - are convinced to see their own churches as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  And the previously mentioned Henry Chadwick was a devout Anglican.  Granted, one's motivations for choosing a church are often complicated, I think that if we're going to appeal to a "cursory study of Orthodoxy" then we need to be consistent in surveying the historiography.  It would seem that Orthodoxy is the church of preference for history majors - and I especially include myself in that category - because that is the constant appeal:  Orthodoxy is the historic church of the apostles, unchanged, etc, etc, etc..  And yet we seem to gloss over the great many Protestant scholars, both high church and low church, who understand this history better than many (if not all) of us here.  In short, an appeal to Orthodoxy as "the historical church" fails.  Likewise, an appeal to Protestant churches as being outside a definition of "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" fails.

Quote
If you not historically-minded, there are still other problems.

(snip)

So there is also the sense that, while they may have certain proof-texts that they'll turn to in order to wax poetic about their deep commitment to Christ and the scriptures, much of modern (and indeed earlier) Protestantism isn't really about anything substantial, to say nothing of its lack of consistency. It really is a short step from the bland, vapid pietism of much of modern Protestantism (even the mainline denominations, as they race to the bottom, doctrinally and in terms of praxis, in their struggle to even get people in the door) to generic deism, to...well, I don't want to know what.

I think this is a very broad and, therefore, unfair stroke.  For an evangelist such as Billy Graham, there is a great deal of substance and consistency in modern Protestantism, for instance.  I have known Reformed Christians, Prebysterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans who all would be deeply insulted and would object strongly that their faith and that their church was "bland, vapid pietism" or prine to "generic deism."  Indeed, I have known Methodists who prostrate themselves before the real presence in the Eucharist.

Now, perhaps that large church down the road from me fits such a broad characterization, but I still think that if a person can have a lifelong commitment to Christ through the experience of such a church, then such a characterization is still unfair.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Concerning the Eucharist: I agree with everyone here that it, not the Bible or the Sermon, should be central to worship.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I last met with my Catholic priest - this is the Catholic priest who suggested that I continue attending my Orthodox parish - we were talking about some of my favorite spiritual authors, men like Thomas Merton and David Steindl-Rast, and he said that what made those people great spiritual writers is that they were rooted.  And it's true: they found religion, they planted their roots, and through all seasons they kept their roots firmly entrenched in the soil.  I've never really planted my roots anywhere.  Though I was Catholic for five years, I never really planted my roots in its soil.  During those five years, there are several gaps where I stopped attending Mass, I ceased believing in certain doctrines or ceased believing altogether.  The fear which permeates me is that no matter which church I go through the process to belong to - whether Presbyterian or Methodist or Orthodox or Anglican - given the right amount of time, my fickleness will show through and I'll stop attending services, I'll stop believing, and once again I'll be on the prowl for a new church.  This is especially painful for me considering that I'll be turning 31 this year and I'm engaged - so my decisions affect not only me but my fiance, and I'm feeling more and more guilty dragging her around from church to church, religion to religion like I've done.
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 11:16:34 AM »

For me, briefly (since others have done a much better job of answering), the major "failing" of Protestantism is the underlying principle of "every man his own pope." So that sincere, devout, well-meaning and intelligent Christians look at Scripture and come to not only different but often diametrically opposed beliefs and understanding. True, we all interpret Scripture according to our own knowledge, experience, biases etc. but if everyone gets to decide for themselves that the bread and wine is just a memorial, then what happens to truth? What happens to the Faith preached and taught by the Apostles?


Also your post has kind of touched on one of my pet peeves: people who say, "The nondenom megachurch has (insert particular ministry or activity) - why doesn't my parish (or the Orthodox Church) have a (insert particular ministry or activity)?" Folks, if it's important to you, start one. I will climb down off my soapbox now.
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 11:41:36 AM »

For me, briefly (since others have done a much better job of answering), the major "failing" of Protestantism is the underlying principle of "every man his own pope." So that sincere, devout, well-meaning and intelligent Christians look at Scripture and come to not only different but often diametrically opposed beliefs and understanding. True, we all interpret Scripture according to our own knowledge, experience, biases etc. but if everyone gets to decide for themselves that the bread and wine is just a memorial, then what happens to truth? What happens to the Faith preached and taught by the Apostles?


Also your post has kind of touched on one of my pet peeves: people who say, "The nondenom megachurch has (insert particular ministry or activity) - why doesn't my parish (or the Orthodox Church) have a (insert particular ministry or activity)?" Folks, if it's important to you, start one. I will climb down off my soapbox now.

Agreed on that last point.  We have fellowship all over the place in every other social arena.  I don't need potlucks or fellowship in a church where they're heavy on that and light on everything else. 

On your first point, I just recently went to a church that did just that.  Apparently, they only have Eucharist/Communion once a year.  At that start of it, the pastor chuckled and then proceeded to explain that it means absolutely nothing, they're just crackers (um, yeah) and that the only reason they do it at all is because Christ said 'do this in remembrance of me.'  Then he swaggers off to the side smirking and shaking his head.  Where I live, these churches take shots at catholicism because this area is overwhelmingly Catholic.  Point being, before beginning Eucharist, he goes to great lengths to show it means absolutely nothing.  "We do this because Christ said to, not because it means anything."  Hmmm.  Okay, get me outta there.  Then they pass a plate up and down the pews (as they do during collection) and the plates are full of busted up saltines. 

Gotta wonder to whose interest it would be to go through the motions of Eucharist after stripping it of all its meaning, separating the congregation from the body of Christ?  Hmm, I wonder.

Isn't there a Bible verse regarding doing things and reciting things without meaning or aptness?   
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 12:23:59 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2012, 01:00:51 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2012, 02:12:46 PM »

It is strange that you mention the intelligent men in Protestantism. Part of the reason I converted to Orthodoxy was because of the inspirational stories of intelligent Saints like St. Augustine of Hippo; my patron. I figured that if these people were inspired by God, which they obviously were, then God must be working through the Orthodox Church and I should join it.
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2012, 02:32:36 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?

 Now, you are puffing yourself up and not counter arguing it except by saying Ridiculous! Its like Im watching the third Harry Potter installment.

Everything about protestantism is banal when it becomes so far removed from Catholicism it is unrecognizable. Are you making a marxist argument about the development of music and literature post Christ? Its just all coincidence... of course...

You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them.
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2012, 02:58:32 PM »

I'm not sure if Cavaradossi is Protestant or not, but regardless he is right: you cannot make a claim that the entirety of Protestant history and culture is banal. If you're going to make an argument for Orthodoxy, try not using Roman Catholicism or Protestantism as a whipping boy. It would be nice to see people here stop appealing to sentimental generalizations and just argue hard doctrine. I know it's controversial, but I think what the modern world needs is a resurgence of people who are passionate enough to disregard controversy and take note of the elephant in the room.
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 03:03:04 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?

 Now, you are puffing yourself up and not counter arguing it except by saying Ridiculous! Its like Im watching the third Harry Potter installment.

Nonsense, you were the first to puff yourself up, talking about "us classically trained musicians," as if you knew anything about me. In fact, you're still doing it, by mentioning your military service. I thank you for your service, but that still doesn't make your opinion on music any more respectable. So far, the only counterarguments you have provided to my counterexample are that a) I am not a musician, b) you are a musician, c) music after the Romantic era is not worth listening to, and d) that cause and effect are not instantaneous. Argument a) aside from being false, is fallacious because it is an argument ad hominem. My credentials as a musician have nothing to do with my counterexample. Argument b) is also fallacious, because your credentials as a musician have nothing to do with whether my counterexample invalidates your observation. Argument c) is getting closer to a real argument (although it is unsubstantiated), but even if argument c) is true, it doesn't affect the validity of my counterexample, because Brahms, Bach and Handel all came before the post-Romantic era. Argument d) is too vague. How long of a delay should we expect to see between cause and effect? Furthermore, how do we know that your reasoning is not post hoc propter ergo hoc? How do we know that you are not confusing coincidence with cause, or perhaps not taking multiple causes into account (such as cultural or historical factors separate of the reformation)?

Everything about protestantism is banal when it becomes so far removed from Catholicism it is unrecognizable. Are you making a marxist argument about the development of music and literature post Christ? Its just all coincidence... of course...

You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them.

You are being the child right now. First you make incorrect assumptions about me, then you insult me when they turn out to be false and try to play internet tough guy. You want to have a real discussion? Fine. But first you have to cut the personal arguments. Whether I am a trained musician or a philistine, a soldier or a civilian, a Texan or God forbid a Yankee, that does invalidate any of my counterexamples. So, being generous and granting you that your argument d) (although as written above, I have objections to it) provides sufficient explanation for how Bach and Handel were still inspired composers, let's start with discussing the artistic merits of Brahms. Why does Brahms, who by all anecdotes was, far worse than being a Protestant, agnostic (a fact which seemed to upset Dvorak) not count as a counterexample to your assertion? Surely you cannot continue to use argument d) here as well, for a composer who lived over a century after Bach died, and over three centuries after the Reformation, lest d) should become a form of special pleading.
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2012, 03:06:30 PM »

Just wanted to pop in and say that Brahms' music is incredibly beautiful. My personal favorite is his second piano concerto.
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« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2012, 03:17:04 PM »

It would be nice to see people here stop appealing to sentimental generalizations and just argue hard doctrine.

The thing is though our history plays a part in doctrinal debates because anybody could develop a doctrine and make a case for it, but we have no way of understanding which one is correct unless we accept some type of authority or guidance. In our case, we see history of the Church as being our higher authority.
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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2012, 03:25:54 PM »

Just wanted to pop in and say that Brahms' music is incredibly beautiful. My personal favorite is his second piano concerto.

Mine is his Op. 118. The last piece of that set, with its paraphrase of the Dies Irae plainchant and the surprisingly heroic middle section is something special. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2012, 03:31:19 PM »

It is strange that you mention the intelligent men in Protestantism. Part of the reason I converted to Orthodoxy was because of the inspirational stories of intelligent Saints like St. Augustine of Hippo; my patron. I figured that if these people were inspired by God, which they obviously were, then God must be working through the Orthodox Church and I should join it.

Granted that Augustine could have remained a Manichee - however unlikely - and granted that he could have become a Donatist given that the Donatists were a majority in Augustine's day (and he was favorable of Tychonius's work), I still don't see the parallel between Augustine and "the intelligent men in Protestantism."  Like you, "the intelligent men in Protestantism" also know Augustine's story, some have written dissertations and monographs about him, others have written books, and none of them have felt equally compelled to spring towards Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2012, 03:55:42 PM »

It would be nice to see people here stop appealing to sentimental generalizations and just argue hard doctrine.

Indeed.

An appeal to Orthodoxy on the basis of history just doesn't work.  Neither do the broad strokes attempting to characterize the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as being the same as the non-denominational contemporary worship mega-church.
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2012, 03:56:33 PM »

I'm just going to throw this out there because it's been floating around in my mind for some time now, and suppressing it doesn't last for long.

Considering that all I've really known is high church Catholicism and Orthodoxy, considering that I've never really taken the time to learn about all the nuances that shape Protestantism, considering that I've never really given any form of Protestantism a fair shot but repeatedly accepted some apologist's claim in order to maintain social stasis, I am now at this point where I wonder why I shouldn't become a Protestant.  It's a highly conflicting thought for me now.  Having attended more than a few low church Protestant services in my life now but so long ago, I can only vaguely remember what it's like to experience life as a Protestant.  If I knew then what I knew now, there might be an opportunity for a fair assessment. 

There's a large non-denominational church right down the road from me.  I've visited their website before and have really felt inspired by their mission.  I get the feeling that belonging to that particular body of Christ could help me in so many different ways - like being able to get involved more with the community, helping with outreach, learning more about the Bible through Bible Study, meeting people my own age, making great friends, experiencing the presence of Christ through the love of others, etc..  I honestly think my fiance - who was born Catholic - would really like it, as well.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

I don't write any of this to sound like a troll - but it's honestly something I'm wrestling with.  At times, I really have to think hard about why I am pursuing Orthodoxy.


Hello Chris, First of all, it may very well be that this church you refer to is very good. Perhaps it has good programs, stimulating teaching, solid community life. I have also experienced excellent protestant churches that are totally outreach oriented, feed the poor, clothe the needy and visit those in prison. These are all great characteristics! And you mentioned the many great protestants, I agree that these are men worthy of respect.

However, there are numerous reasons to become (or stay) Orthodox. The historical, theological, and sacramental reasons have already been brought up. But for me beyond the historical and theological is spiritual practice. The Orthodox Church gives me concrete steps to take in progressing in the spiritual life. For example: a typical evangelical response to spiritual growth would be read the Bible and Pray. Fine that's great...how should I do that? How do I pray? how long should I pray for? What should I read? How do I read? These are questions that were almost never addressed in my protestant life. The spiritual life is always individualistic, for example: there is no particular expectation that you should have a spiritual guide.

Let's also bring up fasting. Something that is entirely Biblical but yet almost never talked about in a typical evangelical church. In the Orthodox Church, we fast together. Maybe we fail, maybe some people don't keep the fast at all....but the point is that we try together, fail together, get back up and try again. So for me, I need the structure, and spiritual disciplines of the Orthodox Church and I believe, humbly, that there is a fullness found in Orthodoxy that I cannot duplicate or find elsewhere.
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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2012, 04:02:48 PM »

Throughout my life I have come across the work of intelligent men, well-versed in history and philosophy, by which advocacy is granted to just about every creed that is worthy of the name. While I am not beholden to the same doctrines as these men, their perspectives have provided depth and clarity to my own, and thus have become part of the foundation of my argument for Orthodox Christianity. I have been influenced by the words of men from the likes of Plotinus, to Shankara, to Nietzsche, and yet am not a neoplatonist, an adherent of Advaita Vedanta, or a nihilist. I think the only answer to your question, as ambiguous as this answer may be, is to be able to find what you feel is the continuity between the ideas you have encountered.
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2012, 04:19:56 PM »

Everybody thus far has raised some good points.  Since there is a great deal of overlap, I'll respond to the below post alone:

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles.

(snip)

If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

I question this.  Philip Scaff, for instance, was quite the patrologist and historian of early Church history and yet he was not compelled to grant Orthodoxy any special honorific position.  In our own day, Peter Lampe is thoroughly versed in the history of the early Church and yet he remains a Lutheran.  Furthermore, Andreas Köstenberger (Baptist) and Michael Kruger (Presbyterian), authors of the The Heresy of Orthodoxy - a book which indeed argues for one, holy, catholic and apostolic church - are convinced to see their own churches as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  And the previously mentioned Henry Chadwick was a devout Anglican.


With all due respect, Chris, I don't think you've quite grasped my point. It is probably my fault, so let me try to come at it a slightly different way: The point is not that you should be convinced that Orthodoxy is the historical church and join accordingly (as I have written "even if you don't ultimately join it"), but that what you find in studying it is a historically-rooted faith that is not Protestant. While Protestants may see themselves as resurrecting the ancient church in some way, the actual extent to which they appeal to sources of a historical vintage similar to that of Orthodoxy is rather limited and involves a great deal of fanciful retroactive imagining (e.g., Landmarkism/Carroll's "Trail of Blood" theory), as the entire point of their enterprise was originally to rebel against the medieval excesses of Roman Catholicism in Western Europe, which had similarly unmoored itself from its own historical roots by the time of Luther, et al. (hence what little historical contact between Protestants and Orthodox that we have record of didn't really amount to much; the Protestants had expected to find in the Orthodox Church something approximating their own faith, and when they did not there was little that they could do beyond repeating their Rome-centric stances to Eastern bishops who eventually realized that they were a lost cause, as the Protestants were unwilling to recognize their own excesses inherent in their "reformation" and come back to an even older version of Christianity than that which they had rebelled against.)

Do you see what I mean now? You find in a historical study of Orthodoxy and a historical study of Protestantism fundamentally different faiths, as they have entirely different roots. It is not necessarily about being convinced by the historical claims of Orthodoxy, but about being limited by the historical facts of Protestantism. In order to project Protestantism back into history beyond its true 16th century beginnings (maybe even 14th century, if you count the likes of Wycliffe as its true origin; doesn't really matter, the point is that it's only so old), the Protestant historian must do the best that he can by reinterpreting whatever scraps he can find that look like they could be possibly referring to this or that Protestant doctrine or practice (hence my earlier example of Carroll's theory, in which he connected the Baptists with many heretical groups of the past in order to invent for them a lineage that goes back to the early centuries of Christianity, even when such lineage would make absolutely no sense when you compare what was believed by the supposed proto-Baptists like the Novatians, who had their own Pope, to what is believed by actual Baptists). It's a losing battle, whether you ultimately find Orthodoxy convincing or not.

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I think that if we're going to appeal to a "cursory study of Orthodoxy" then we need to be consistent in surveying the historiography.  It would seem that Orthodoxy is the church of preference for history majors - and I especially include myself in that category - because that is the constant appeal:  Orthodoxy is the historic church of the apostles, unchanged, etc, etc, etc..  And yet we seem to gloss over the great many Protestant scholars, both high church and low church, who understand this history better than many (if not all) of us here.  In short, an appeal to Orthodoxy as "the historical church" fails.  Likewise, an appeal to Protestant churches as being outside a definition of "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" fails.

I submit to you that the difference is that Orthodox Christians need not rely on later scholars interpreting the words of the ancients, because the liturgies, horologions, etc. used in the Orthodox Church are all of ancient vintage themselves. If you still make use of such primary sources yourself in your everyday worship, what does it matter what some intellectual from over a thousand years later has to say about them? At best, all it can do is provide another voice echoing what you already know; at worst, it can pervert the understanding maintained by the Church for centuries. When Protestants tackle early Church history, even for noble and right reasons (e.g., The Heresy of Orthodoxy -- I did quite enjoy this one, and found myself in substantial agreement with it, insofar as concerns the central thesis that the Bauer method is wrong), there is always a danger that they will use good sources or good scholarship and yet reach faulty conclusions because they do not live in the faith of the ancient Fathers, only maybe occasionally visit them academically to make a particular point in a book or a lecture. It's better than nothing, I suppose, but I'm pretty sure Orthodoxy does not exist to tear down any post-modernist theory of the Bible or Church origins or anything like that, as all of those things came around many centuries after the founding of the churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Cyprus, Antioch, etc.

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I think this is a very broad and, therefore, unfair stroke.  For an evangelist such as Billy Graham, there is a great deal of substance and consistency in modern Protestantism, for instance.
 

Yes, and for the Mormon it is the LDS "church" that teaches the true faith. What is your point? No heretic or otherwise misinformed person who persisted in their false teaching has ever thought of himself as a false teacher. I am at a loss to figure out what this means or proves.

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I have known Reformed Christians, Prebysterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans who all would be deeply insulted and would object strongly that their faith and that their church was "bland, vapid pietism" or prine to "generic deism."  Indeed, I have known Methodists who prostrate themselves before the real presence in the Eucharist.

And I have known Muslims who consider themselves better Christians than actual Christians, and likewise prostrate themselves a lot before their god. Again, so what? This is exactly the pietistic spirit that I am referring to: The content of a church's doctrine doesn't ultimately matter, only the personal piety of its members. That's wrong.

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Now, perhaps that large church down the road from me fits such a broad characterization, but I still think that if a person can have a lifelong commitment to Christ through the experience of such a church, then such a characterization is still unfair.

Nobody is talking about a "lifelong commitment to Christ" (whatever that means; I guarantee you that if you ask an Orthodox person and a Pentecostal person about that, they'll give you different answers). We are talking about Protestantism as a belief system and a historical reality, and why it is not a suitable alternative to Orthodox Christianity.

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The fear which permeates me is that no matter which church I go through the process to belong to - whether Presbyterian or Methodist or Orthodox or Anglican - given the right amount of time, my fickleness will show through and I'll stop attending services, I'll stop believing, and once again I'll be on the prowl for a new church.
 

If you know this about yourself, you probably know that there is no magical church (whether Orthodox or Protestant or whatever) that can keep you from experiencing these trials. For me this would be all the more reason to not be Protestant (my experience in Protestantism suggests that they don't offer all that much to keep the believer around after his or her initial bout of enthusiasm is gone, and it always leaves eventually), but this is ultimately something you have to figure out for yourself. I just hope that you take council from people who have the rootedness you seek. When I first began having doubts in RCism, a long-Orthodox acquaintance of mine advised me to bloom where I was planted (i.e., not go to the Orthodox Church), and so I did. I am glad that I did, because when I later actually did make the leap it was not with the fear and indecisiveness you describe, but with an appropriate calmness that came with knowing that I was not running away from anything or being impulsive, and so would be less likely to be a victim of "church-hopping", having been already Protestant and Catholic...or at least that's the hope. Only time will tell, I suppose.

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This is especially painful for me considering that I'll be turning 31 this year and I'm engaged - so my decisions affect not only me but my fiance, and I'm feeling more and more guilty dragging her around from church to church, religion to religion like I've done.

Maybe now is not the time to be making monumental decisions in your spiritual life?
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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2012, 04:31:06 PM »

So for me, I need the structure, and spiritual disciplines of the Orthodox Church and I believe, humbly, that there is a fullness found in Orthodoxy that I cannot duplicate or find elsewhere.

Thanks johann.

Provided that the pedantic hi-jackers in this thread don't return, allow me to offer a heartfelt response to what you say:

I don't feel at home in Orthodoxy.  At least, not at my Orthodox parish.  I thought that I felt at home there, I tried diligently to get to know people, begin the process of cultivating a relationship, but I have been leaving services and coffee hour feeling cold and alone.  I know names, faces, but there's no relationship, there's no "sharing" as a body.  And the ostentatious piety of some people is really beginning to get under my skin - some people who bow during the whole of communion while others remain standing, others who cross themselves every 10 seconds, and other stuff.  And I'm not going to the Greek parish in town - that experience was even colder and lonelier.
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2012, 05:17:51 PM »

 I know names, faces, but there's no relationship, there's no "sharing" as a body.  And the ostentatious piety of some people is really beginning to get under my skin - some people who bow during the whole of communion while others remain standing, others who cross themselves every 10 seconds, and other stuff.  

Ouch! I ask you to forgive me in advance, but could it be that people are sensing that kind of attitude from you?
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2012, 05:48:35 PM »


I don't feel at home in Orthodoxy.  At least, not at my Orthodox parish.  I thought that I felt at home there, I tried diligently to get to know people, begin the process of cultivating a relationship, but I have been leaving services and coffee hour feeling cold and alone.  I know names, faces, but there's no relationship, there's no "sharing" as a body.  
You haven't been at it that long, dude.

Relax.

And the ostentatious piety of some people is really beginning to get under my skin - some people who bow during the whole of communion while others remain standing, others who cross themselves every 10 seconds, and other stuff. 
if this bothers you, then you won't make it ten seconds among the non-denoms if you take an honest look around there.

Their ostentatious piety is bro hugs, hand raising, hard squinting, heel-rocking, constipated whispering, hip-uniform wearing, faux-smiling, bad-poetry writing funtimes.
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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2012, 06:25:53 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2012, 06:37:11 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.
I agree with your "feel good" statement. I've even heard preachers say, "Does everyone feel good, or do we need to stay a little bit longer?"

However, as for your second sentence, the same could be said of the Orthodox. 'Nuff said.
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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2012, 06:57:24 PM »

I've honestly yet to meet a fake person in an Orthodox Church even the nominal ones. People are pretty honest from the parishes I've been to. But YMMV
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« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2012, 07:28:43 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.

Well you just did paint with a broad brush. There is a huge diversity in protestantism it's not all the happy-clappy type. Do you honestly think that Chris is going to be convinced to stay trying it in Orthodoxy by telling him how much worse the Protestant churches are? That's a pretty weak argument.


To my knowledge the position of the Orthodox is that we acknowledge truth wherever we see it. (see Fr. Hopko's talk about how do Orthodox relate to other Christians on AFR). So to say that protestants have got it all wrong is nonsense. And to equate them with Muslims or Buddhists as others have done is even worse.

Chris:
There is a variance in practice, actually that's one of the things I like...ie: during the liturgy in my local parish there are times when it's acceptable to sit, about 90% of people do sit while others continue standing. I don't think that anyone looks at the standers as trying to show-off, we should be simply worrying about our own participation in the liturgy and worshipping God.

I suggest that you try to make a connection with your priest or a monk (if you have a monastery nearby), he can probably give you better advice and guidance than any of us here. I think there is a fullness in Orthodoxy, but it is up to each person to take advantage of that! I recently watched "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" and one of the things that struck me in the interviews with the monks is the theme of constant struggle. So I'm not surprised that you're having doubts and troubles; in my opinion the answer is not to withdraw but to immerse yourself more deeply into Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2012, 07:46:19 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.

You are right about this sense of "fakeness" or "putting on a good face". It's not something I used to notice much, but I do much more now. It strikes me as patronizing and insincere.
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« Reply #39 on: May 31, 2012, 07:47:56 PM »

I've honestly yet to meet a fake person in an Orthodox Church even the nominal ones. People are pretty honest from the parishes I've been to. But YMMV

i agree with this too. The Orthodox people i've met are sincere and real, whether that be kind, brash, or something in between.
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« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2012, 09:03:47 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?

 Now, you are puffing yourself up and not counter arguing it except by saying Ridiculous! Its like Im watching the third Harry Potter installment.

Nonsense, you were the first to puff yourself up, talking about "us classically trained musicians," as if you knew anything about me. In fact, you're still doing it, by mentioning your military service. I thank you for your service, but that still doesn't make your opinion on music any more respectable. So far, the only counterarguments you have provided to my counterexample are that a) I am not a musician, b) you are a musician, c) music after the Romantic era is not worth listening to, and d) that cause and effect are not instantaneous. Argument a) aside from being false, is fallacious because it is an argument ad hominem. My credentials as a musician have nothing to do with my counterexample. Argument b) is also fallacious, because your credentials as a musician have nothing to do with whether my counterexample invalidates your observation. Argument c) is getting closer to a real argument (although it is unsubstantiated), but even if argument c) is true, it doesn't affect the validity of my counterexample, because Brahms, Bach and Handel all came before the post-Romantic era. Argument d) is too vague. How long of a delay should we expect to see between cause and effect? Furthermore, how do we know that your reasoning is not post hoc propter ergo hoc? How do we know that you are not confusing coincidence with cause, or perhaps not taking multiple causes into account (such as cultural or historical factors separate of the reformation)?

Everything about protestantism is banal when it becomes so far removed from Catholicism it is unrecognizable. Are you making a marxist argument about the development of music and literature post Christ? Its just all coincidence... of course...

You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them.

You are being the child right now. First you make incorrect assumptions about me, then you insult me when they turn out to be false and try to play internet tough guy. You want to have a real discussion? Fine. But first you have to cut the personal arguments. Whether I am a trained musician or a philistine, a soldier or a civilian, a Texan or God forbid a Yankee, that does invalidate any of my counterexamples. So, being generous and granting you that your argument d) (although as written above, I have objections to it) provides sufficient explanation for how Bach and Handel were still inspired composers, let's start with discussing the artistic merits of Brahms. Why does Brahms, who by all anecdotes was, far worse than being a Protestant, agnostic (a fact which seemed to upset Dvorak) not count as a counterexample to your assertion? Surely you cannot continue to use argument d) here as well, for a composer who lived over a century after Bach died, and over three centuries after the Reformation, lest d) should become a form of special pleading.


 Brahms stood on the shoulders of guys who wrote stuff entirely for the church since Gregorian Chant, hell since Byzantine Chant. Todays societys are failing. What holds them up is the Christian capitol they are living off of.  As we go more and more away from the foundation they stood on they fall further and further on their face as Protestantism has failed and is in its death pangs. Perhaps you can even say the same about Catholicism if it keeps trying to be more protestant. If you believe in a Creator, you have two options. One I am right, and all the beauty in the world comes from the one True Church and if something isnt the true church the beauty or goodness it produces is proportional to the truth it does contain. Also one can imitate or use the capitol which something was built on such as Brahms or whoever. As I stated before, its not magic. Oh hey Im agnostic, poof. All this stuff that the Benedictine monks, throughout Shepard, Tallis, Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, etc... magically disappeared and I can no longer use it.... The other option is, that its strictly material by nature. Chance, luck, etc is the only reason we have anything from the first Cause and it all fell like this.  I dont believe that. You might, but I dont. Anglicans besides Henry VIII's sick decision to disband all the monasteries in Great Britain, were Catholic, Liturgical, and Eucharistic. So were the Lutherans. They dwindled in glory, and thanks to Calvin you have the rationalistic perverted versions of "Christianity." And from those churches were hardly any fruits of merit and more often than not quite perverse and contrary to Orthodoxy and patristic understandings of everything.

Protestantism is nothing but a protest. How can you affirm anything when you're doctrine is based on complaints? When your cure is 100s times worse than the disease.

Oh BTW Im not a internet tough guy. I defend the faith and if Im willing to die or kill for this dying country, what do you think Ill do for the Orthodox faith?  Tough guys are morons on Jersey Shore or perhaps criminals in the mafia who can only shoot unarmed people from from 2 feet away.  My fellows conquer nations, easily, when the rules of engagement dont tie our hands. I dont like attitude, in light of where Ive been and who I rolled up. Perhaps I should learn more humility(I definately should), but sometimes it builds up and bubbles over. I put my life on the line for an entitlement minded, whinny, arrogant, godless society. Defend yourselves... Stop putting the burden on .005 of the population and then giving them shit. If I had to do it over again, it wouldnt be for the people. No. It be because it was the right thing to do, despite the worthless denizens.
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« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2012, 09:23:58 PM »

KShaft can you please respond to my post please?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41863.msg753826.html#msg753826
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« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2012, 11:33:24 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.
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« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2012, 11:36:14 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?
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« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2012, 11:39:28 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?

It is the demand of respect that bothers me, not the free giving of it.
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« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2012, 11:40:47 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?

It is the demand of respect that bothers me, not the free giving of it.

Huh?

You did worse than 'ruffle.' A lot worse. And I thought you were pretty cool.  Undecided
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« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2012, 11:42:45 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.
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« Reply #47 on: May 31, 2012, 11:43:13 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

I read his post and that's not what I got from it.
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« Reply #48 on: May 31, 2012, 11:45:18 PM »

“I love the troops. Because if they weren’t the troops, I would be the troops. And I would be the worst troops.” -Mike Birbiglia

Pretty much, yeah...
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« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2012, 11:45:45 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?

It is the demand of respect that bothers me, not the free giving of it.

I should point out that the demand for respect frequently comes from people who didn't serve, have no idea what they're talking about, but think it's critical to "support the troops."

 
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« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2012, 11:47:47 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

I read his post and that's not what I got from it.

My thanks to LBK and my apologies to biro: what I meant is exactly what LBK said I did.

I will also add that I personally find the following (directed to a person I consider to be sensitive to the feelings of others and intellectually rigorous at least most of the time) to be rude and offensive:

"You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them."
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« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2012, 11:48:22 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

I read his post and that's not what I got from it.

You frequently misunderstand people's points and overreact.  FACT!

You can't challenge that statement, because I wrote "FACT!" at the end.  It's a FACT!
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« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2012, 11:49:00 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

I read his post and that's not what I got from it.

You frequently misunderstand people's points and overreact.  FACT!

You can't challenge that statement, because I wrote "FACT!" at the end.  It's a FACT!



Thanks, Cognomen. I used to be friends with you, too...   Cry Cry
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 11:49:22 PM by biro » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: May 31, 2012, 11:52:27 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

I read his post and that's not what I got from it.

You frequently misunderstand people's points and overreact.  FACT!

You can't challenge that statement, because I wrote "FACT!" at the end.  It's a FACT!



Thanks, Cognomen. I used to be friends with you, too...   Cry Cry

I hope my post just above makes it clear I wasn't meaning to be offensive and that my words were meant as LBK interpreted them.

I only knew my thoughts might ruffle feathers because of the respect I know you Americans have for your servicemen (not undeserved, mind you!).
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« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2012, 12:03:27 AM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

I read his post and that's not what I got from it.

You frequently misunderstand people's points and overreact.  FACT!

You can't challenge that statement, because I wrote "FACT!" at the end.  It's a FACT!


Thanks, Cognomen. I used to be friends with you, too...   Cry Cry

Not intended that way, but overly jerky on my part.
I should have just said that you (along with me and others) have a tendency to jump on statements.  I've had to issue plenty of corrections and apologies to folks for misunderstanding their point and attacking it before my mind caught up (not saying that's the culprit with you, only me).  The "Fact" bit was meant as a laugh, to take some edge off an otherwise seemingly untactful statement.  It didn't work.  My apologies.  I'm just too arguey tonight.  Must've been some sort of evil in the curry I ate.
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« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2012, 12:39:45 AM »

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?
Perhaps you might consider asking a slightly different question. Is there something about Orthodoxy that strikes you as wrong? If so you are not ready for Orthodoxy. If not, why remain divided from her?
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« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2012, 12:48:28 AM »

Whoa.  Lookit what all's poppin' off in here!
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« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2012, 04:23:56 PM »

Quote
I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?
Intelligent men can be, and often are, dramatically wrong.

My questioning of protestantism became narrowed down quickly. "If Luther was so right, why didn't the Apostles teach it? If they did teach it, why didn't their disciples teach it?"

PP
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« Reply #58 on: June 03, 2012, 10:43:01 AM »

Quote
I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?
Intelligent men can be, and often are, dramatically wrong.

My questioning of protestantism became narrowed down quickly. "If Luther was so right, why didn't the Apostles teach it? If they did teach it, why didn't their disciples teach it?"

PP

According to Lutherans, they did teach it.

Patristics resembles something like a Venn Diagram where that which overlaps represents Orthodoxy and that which exists in its own circle represents "proof-texting."

Though, for the record, I did a Google search for "Orthodox converts to Protestantism" and hardly nothing came back.
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« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2012, 11:02:08 AM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?

Scroll up. A serviceman is basically saying, "I'm a soldier so you should not question the crap I'm writing."
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« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2012, 01:28:08 PM »

Quote
I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?
Intelligent men can be, and often are, dramatically wrong.

My questioning of protestantism became narrowed down quickly. "If Luther was so right, why didn't the Apostles teach it? If they did teach it, why didn't their disciples teach it?"

PP

According to Lutherans, they did teach it.


Furthermore, Andreas Köstenberger (Baptist) and Michael Kruger (Presbyterian), authors of the The Heresy of Orthodoxy - a book which indeed argues for one, holy, catholic and apostolic church - are convinced to see their own churches as one, holy, catholic and apostolic. 

This to me is the crux of the matter The Lutherans say Lutheranism is the what the fathers taught, the Presbyterians say is was Presbyterianism, the Baptists say is was their faith and of course the Orthodox say it was Orthodoxy. If they all taught the same things it wouldn't matter, but they don't even on major issues like salvation there are differences. The Eucharist which you previously mentioned is a prime example of this. The differences of course are not just between Orthodoxy and Protestantism but between different branches of Protestantism. So as I posed earlier the question becomes which Tradition can you trust.

For me, anyway, the answer to this was that in reading Church history and with a decent understanding of the modern Orthodox church I could see a Church that was still practicing virtually unchanged what I was reading in the Fathers, I could see a church that was still only one step removed from it's Jewish roots and I could see a church that maintained it contact with the Holy Spirit throughout the ages.

I don't know why some people who have read church history have not come to this same conclusion. Perhaps they aren't familiar with modern Orthodoxy I have a friend who is currently very interested in our journey because although he read church history and Fathers he read without the idea that any semblance of the early church survived other than the Roman church.

Obviously some of the people you referenced are very aware of the Orthodox church. I don't know their minds but perhaps they read and studied without any openness to anything beyond their own Tradition.  When I first began this journey the was not the trip I was leaving on. God had convicted me that even as a minister I couldn't sing things like "I surrender all" without being willing to truly surrender all. I stepped back from my ministerial duties and began a period of prayer and fasting seeking God's will. I thought at the time perhaps I was being called to the mission field. In the middle of that I was also convicted by a song that expressed the idea that I needed to be willing to surrender even what I believed. To me that is even my beliefs weren't mine to hold onto but they belonged to God. Didn't know what to do with that at the time. Though retrospectively, to me, it's obvious.

Perhaps some labor under a false idea of what the earlier church looked like or under the conclusion that anything that looked liturgical must have been a corruption added in, initially by Constantine, and then earlier and earlier until Christianity doesn't even survive the apostles. I know for myself it wasn't until I came to a better understanding of what Judaism looked like at that time that I could see how the Orthodox church did come straight out of it. I previously had the idea that the early church was much more loosly organized and resembled the Pentecostal churches  of today.

Again, I don't know why some have not come to the same conclusions, but that's okay. I don't hate them or the Protestant church I do have to go where I feel God is calling me. I hope this helps.
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« Reply #61 on: June 03, 2012, 01:39:46 PM »


This to me is the crux of the matter The Lutherans say Lutheranism is the what the fathers taught, the Presbyterians say is was Presbyterianism, the Baptists say is was their faith and of course the Orthodox say it was Orthodoxy. If they all taught the same things it wouldn't matter, but they don't even on major issues like salvation there are differences. The Eucharist which you previously mentioned is a prime example of this. The differences of course are not just between Orthodoxy and Protestantism but between different branches of Protestantism. So as I posed earlier the question becomes which Tradition can you trust.


This right here is such irrefutable truth, it bears repeating.  And I've said this more times than I can count.  They ALL say they're right and they're the only true church and all other churches lead to damnation.  All of them.  I tried in desperation to explain this to my friend who couldn't seem to understand it, and then simply kept on with she had been told which of course, boils down to this same thing--we're 'it' because we say we're 'it.'  Tried to explain to her also the game of tic-tac-toe.  She didn't get that either.  This is one of those diehards who never ever ever ventures off the compound.

So I can't go by who says they're right.  Did Jesus leave the earth as a man without having something in place?  I can hardly imagine that He would.  That's why I'm confident now that Orthodoxy is the right direction.
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« Reply #62 on: June 03, 2012, 05:33:34 PM »

guys, why are we arguing about stuff like this in the convert issues forum? Sad
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« Reply #63 on: June 03, 2012, 05:38:17 PM »

guys, why are we arguing about stuff like this in the convert issues forum? Sad

It went a little off course, maybe, but when someone decides to convert, they continue to struggle a while with the faith/denomination they're coming from.  I'm still making Catholic/Orthodox comparisons.
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« Reply #64 on: June 03, 2012, 06:07:53 PM »


  That's why I'm confident now that Orthodoxy is the right direction.

What is such confidence honestly worth, though?

Two people fall in love, are honestly confident that they are each other's soulmates, and yet their marriage fails regardless.

Even someone like Maximum Bob admits to at one time being honestly confident of his call to be a minister and various other paths.

Heaven's Gate was honestly confident that Haley's comet was a spaceship come to take them home.

I was at one time honestly confident that there was nothing better beyond being Catholic.
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« Reply #65 on: June 03, 2012, 07:05:35 PM »

Big Chris-

What it really comes down to is what several posters have gotten at already: You say you're interested in "Protestantism" and that maybe you should give it a chance, but "Protestantism" is quite a big field of many differing denominations. Even trying to narrow it down to something like "Presbyterianism" or "Methodism" (in which you expressed interest in a previous thread) or "Baptist" or "Lutheran" or "Anglican" leaves you with a large list of possibilities and options and doctrines and a whole host of things you will need to search through, especially in America.

Do you believe practicing homosexuals in committed relationships should be ordained? Then you might fit in with the Episcopal Church or the Evangelical Lutherans or the Presbyterian Church (USA). If you don't, then seek elsewhere.

Do you believe in the ordination of women? Then the above listed churches along with the United Methodists will suit you. If not, then the Missouri or Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, most of the American Baptists churches, and a few of the Presbyterian denominations are the places to start hunting.

All this isn't getting into what the "Protestants" consider actual doctrine.

Do you believe in Sacraments? Hunt in the Lutheran and Anglican fields- but then carefully, for there are high and low churches. Do you believe in Ordinances that are merely symbolic? Stick with the more "Evangelical" churches. Do you believe salvation is found through an altar call and a five minute prayer or do you believe that works and sacraments can play an element in that?

Chadwick is all very well and good- a dedicated Anglican that worked towards the ecumenical Christian hodge-podge that is the dream of the Anglican via media. But you can find no one more different than Francis Schaeffer- his ecumenism was a political one, with a "no Catholics allowed" stamped in big bold letters on the front door of his Calvinist's worldview.

These men may have been "learned" and may have known more about Church history than me or you (though, truth be told, I highly doubt Schaeffer was ever all that learned in anything pre-Reformation), but knowing about something and drawing the correct conclusions from that knowledge are two entirely different things.
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« Reply #66 on: June 03, 2012, 07:36:53 PM »


  That's why I'm confident now that Orthodoxy is the right direction.

What is such confidence honestly worth, though?

Two people fall in love, are honestly confident that they are each other's soulmates, and yet their marriage fails regardless.

Even someone like Maximum Bob admits to at one time being honestly confident of his call to be a minister and various other paths.

Heaven's Gate was honestly confident that Haley's comet was a spaceship come to take them home.

I was at one time honestly confident that there was nothing better beyond being Catholic.

For me, that confidence is worth making a lifelong change to Orthodoxy.  This is the one and only Christian church whose beginnings overlap with 10 of the 12 apostles still being alive when they established the church and appointed their first bishop.  Did any of those apostles raise a ruckus and try to shut them down? No.

All the original apostles were dead by nine hundred years and more when the rest of these offshoots--including the Catholic church I'm leaving--broke off to start their own sects.

Oh yeah, my mind's made up.  And it has nothing to do with love at first site or Haley's comet.
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« Reply #67 on: June 03, 2012, 08:30:08 PM »

Everybody thus far has raised some good points.  Since there is a great deal of overlap, I'll respond to the below post alone:

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles.

(snip)

If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

I question this.  Philip Scaff, for instance, was quite the patrologist and historian of early Church history and yet he was not compelled to grant Orthodoxy any special honorific position.  In our own day, Peter Lampe is thoroughly versed in the history of the early Church and yet he remains a Lutheran.  Furthermore, Andreas Köstenberger (Baptist) and Michael Kruger (Presbyterian), authors of the The Heresy of Orthodoxy - a book which indeed argues for one, holy, catholic and apostolic church - are convinced to see their own churches as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  And the previously mentioned Henry Chadwick was a devout Anglican.  Granted, one's motivations for choosing a church are often complicated, I think that if we're going to appeal to a "cursory study of Orthodoxy" then we need to be consistent in surveying the historiography.  It would seem that Orthodoxy is the church of preference for history majors - and I especially include myself in that category - because that is the constant appeal:  Orthodoxy is the historic church of the apostles, unchanged, etc, etc, etc..  And yet we seem to gloss over the great many Protestant scholars, both high church and low church, who understand this history better than many (if not all) of us here.  In short, an appeal to Orthodoxy as "the historical church" fails.  Likewise, an appeal to Protestant churches as being outside a definition of "one, holy, ca

I wonder if you have missed a point that Koestenberger and Kruger made in pages 53-55 of their book. As you may remember, they believe that there are but four explanations of the development of early Christianity. Harnack (Hellenistic influences corrupted the Church); Bauer/Ehrman (orthodox Christianity was one of many types that existed before it was imposed by Rome); Cardinal Newman (Early Christianity merely the starting point of theological developments that continue to this day); and Fr. John Behr, Dean of St Valdimir's Theological Seminary (basically the Orthodox Church is indeed The True Church that is a continuous uninterrupted stream. The authors reject the first three and accept Fr Behr's explanation. Now, it may be that they think their respective churches are somehow connected to the One True orthodox Church (the Orthodox Church). That is another issue altogether; my question to them and to you would be: Given the chance to be orthodox in the Orthodox Church, why would you settle for another?
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« Reply #68 on: June 03, 2012, 11:07:38 PM »

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

George Bernard Shaw
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« Reply #69 on: June 03, 2012, 11:28:38 PM »

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

George Bernard Shaw

Oh, please don't let it get uncivilized in here.  We're all just debating and giving our opinions.
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« Reply #70 on: June 03, 2012, 11:29:40 PM »

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

George Bernard Shaw

Oh, please don't let it get uncivilized in here.  We're all just debating and giving our opinions.

please excuse my levity...back to regularly scheduled programming Cheesy
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« Reply #71 on: June 03, 2012, 11:32:12 PM »

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

George Bernard Shaw

Oh, please don't let it get uncivilized in here.  We're all just debating and giving our opinions.

please excuse my levity...back to regularly scheduled programming Cheesy

lol.  np.  Just don't want to see the ugliness here that develops on other forums.  Everyone's got their own perspectives but we can still respect each other, even after expressing them.
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« Reply #72 on: June 04, 2012, 12:16:30 AM »

“I love the troops. Because if they weren’t the troops, I would be the troops. And I would be the worst troops.” -Mike Birbiglia

Pretty much, yeah...

Mike Birbiglia! "I need to find a woman who loves me for my money, but doesn't understand math that well."
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« Reply #73 on: June 04, 2012, 12:23:51 AM »

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

George Bernard Shaw

Oh, please don't let it get uncivilized in here.  We're all just debating and giving our opinions.

please excuse my levity...back to regularly scheduled programming Cheesy

lol.  np.  Just don't want to see the ugliness here that develops on other forums.  Everyone's got their own perspectives but we can still respect each other, even after expressing them.

oh i wasn't referring to anyone in particular. i was just playing off the thread title  angel
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« Reply #74 on: June 04, 2012, 01:20:47 AM »

“I love the troops. Because if they weren’t the troops, I would be the troops. And I would be the worst troops.” -Mike Birbiglia

Pretty much, yeah...

Mike Birbiglia! "I need to find a woman who loves me for my money, but doesn't understand math that well."

Hahaha. Hey...he stole my joke with that one...well, not so much a joke, really...
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« Reply #75 on: June 04, 2012, 12:12:23 PM »

For me, that confidence is worth making a lifelong change to Orthodoxy.  This is the one and only Christian church whose beginnings overlap with 10 of the 12 apostles still being alive when they established the church and appointed their first bishop.  Did any of those apostles raise a ruckus and try to shut them down? No.

All the original apostles were dead by nine hundred years and more when the rest of these offshoots--including the Catholic church I'm leaving--broke off to start their own sects.

Oh yeah, my mind's made up.  And it has nothing to do with love at first site or Haley's comet.

I'm glad for you.  However, like you, my mind had been made up, convinced that Orthodoxy is the "one holy, catholic and apostolic church" - many, many of my initial posts on this forum express just that.  My former Catholic priest even saw how convinced I was and urged me to become Orthodox - not something which happens every day.  I've read the books, I've engaged in the internal rhetoric, I've followed the same historic rabbit trails, etc..  So, I'm not talking about love at first sight; I'm talking about a substantial relationship, tried and tested over the course of time, that still unfortunately ends in dissaffected lovers and divorce.  And I'm not talking about Haley's comet, but about a firm conviction rooted in experience that, for all we know, is myopia and delusion.

Thanks to everyone for giving me an outlet for my doubts.
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« Reply #76 on: June 04, 2012, 02:24:08 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
For me, that confidence is worth making a lifelong change to Orthodoxy.  This is the one and only Christian church whose beginnings overlap with 10 of the 12 apostles still being alive when they established the church and appointed their first bishop.  Did any of those apostles raise a ruckus and try to shut them down? No.

All the original apostles were dead by nine hundred years and more when the rest of these offshoots--including the Catholic church I'm leaving--broke off to start their own sects.

Oh yeah, my mind's made up.  And it has nothing to do with love at first site or Haley's comet.

I'm glad for you.  However, like you, my mind had been made up, convinced that Orthodoxy is the "one holy, catholic and apostolic church" - many, many of my initial posts on this forum express just that.  My former Catholic priest even saw how convinced I was and urged me to become Orthodox - not something which happens every day.  I've read the books, I've engaged in the internal rhetoric, I've followed the same historic rabbit trails, etc..  So, I'm not talking about love at first sight; I'm talking about a substantial relationship, tried and tested over the course of time, that still unfortunately ends in dissaffected lovers and divorce.  And I'm not talking about Haley's comet, but about a firm conviction rooted in experience that, for all we know, is myopia and delusion.

Thanks to everyone for giving me an outlet for my doubts.

We all have doubts, hence why we need faith.  How else could Apostle Paul spoken of  in Hebrews 11:1 "Faith being the substance of things not yet seen" and again in Romans 8:25 "But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. "

The Church is where we come with our hopes, fears, and doubts. If we all knew everything, where would there be room for God?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #77 on: June 04, 2012, 02:32:20 PM »

There seems to be a belief underlying some of these posts that because there are multiple claimants to the title "the true Church" that therefore all theoretical possibilities surrounding that claim are equally likely. I don't know why that is, because it's clearly not the case. Not only are many of these groups, despite being full of very sincere and intelligent men and women, built upon some variation of restorationism (an idea which directly contradicts the word of Christ; you know "the gates of hell will not prevail against it" and all that), but they disagree with one another on major doctrinal issues. How can it be that we have some ecclesiologies in Protestantism (e.g., the Lutheran "branch" theory) that say all may be members of the church if they can't agree on basic doctrine like whether or not baptism does anything for you, whether or not the Eucharist is real or symbolic, or even a proper and consistent exposition of the Holy Trinity? The alternative to this kind of ecclesiology is, of course, that there be one Protestant church that is the true church, and all thousands of others (and all Orthodox, and all under Rome) are wrong. Well, how likely is that, given the above-mentioned reality? It is a lot more sensible to pick between two or three clearly delineated options that are historically rooted in the churches that the Holy Bible testifies to (i.e., the RC, the EO, and the OO, even though of course these hadn't developed their subsequent distinctives at that the time of the Bible) than to believe that somehow, again completely against the word of Christ and the promise of the Holy Spirit, the true Church disappeared, or was destroyed, or whatever other origin myths necessary to justify the founding of the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Mormons, the Christadelphians, the Moonies, the Seventh Day Adventists, etc. As I wrote earlier, even if Orthodoxy is ultimately unconvincing to you, that shouldn't therefore make these other options more convincing or plausible. Really, to say all of this is somehow an equally likely option is ultimately to say that either Christ, or the Apostles, or the Disciples, or the Early Church Fathers, etc. ultimately utterly failed, despite all evidence to the contrary from the time of Christ to the middle of the 4th century AD, by which time Christianity was firmly established on all the lands of the known world (Asia, Africa, Europe), all prior to the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire in AD 380 under Theodosius I.
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« Reply #78 on: June 04, 2012, 03:10:48 PM »

There seems to be a belief underlying some of these posts that because there are multiple claimants to the title "the true Church" that therefore all theoretical possibilities surrounding that claim are equally likely. I don't know why that is, because it's clearly not the case. Not only are many of these groups, despite being full of very sincere and intelligent men and women, built upon some variation of restorationism (an idea which directly contradicts the word of Christ; you know "the gates of hell will not prevail against it" and all that), but they disagree with one another on major doctrinal issues. How can it be that we have some ecclesiologies in Protestantism (e.g., the Lutheran "branch" theory) that say all may be members of the church if they can't agree on basic doctrine like whether or not baptism does anything for you, whether or not the Eucharist is real or symbolic, or even a proper and consistent exposition of the Holy Trinity? The alternative to this kind of ecclesiology is, of course, that there be one Protestant church that is the true church, and all thousands of others (and all Orthodox, and all under Rome) are wrong. Well, how likely is that, given the above-mentioned reality? It is a lot more sensible to pick between two or three clearly delineated options that are historically rooted in the churches that the Holy Bible testifies to (i.e., the RC, the EO, and the OO, even though of course these hadn't developed their subsequent distinctives at that the time of the Bible) than to believe that somehow, again completely against the word of Christ and the promise of the Holy Spirit, the true Church disappeared, or was destroyed, or whatever other origin myths necessary to justify the founding of the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Mormons, the Christadelphians, the Moonies, the Seventh Day Adventists, etc. As I wrote earlier, even if Orthodoxy is ultimately unconvincing to you, that shouldn't therefore make these other options more convincing or plausible. Really, to say all of this is somehow an equally likely option is ultimately to say that either Christ, or the Apostles, or the Disciples, or the Early Church Fathers, etc. ultimately utterly failed, despite all evidence to the contrary from the time of Christ to the middle of the 4th century AD, by which time Christianity was firmly established on all the lands of the known world (Asia, Africa, Europe), all prior to the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire in AD 380 under Theodosius I.

The one true church claim by Eastern Orthodoxy, and Rome, and the Mormons, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Apostolic Pentecostal Church are not at all lost upon Protestants; they are simply not credible interpretations of biblical ecclesiology. You might even say that the claim itself should make one wary of whomever makes the claim.

Visible churches, like RCC, EO and OO, have a passing value but only as a manifestation of a larger whole passing through history. Their value is measured by their purity, not their age or descent. This is known by their understanding and conformity to Scripture. If there is, was, or will be a True Church, there is no possible measurement of that identity other than from Scripture.

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« Reply #79 on: June 04, 2012, 03:18:43 PM »

The one true church claim by Eastern Orthodoxy [is] simply not credible...
Um... horsefeathers...

Credible to whom?

and the Mormons, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Apostolic Pentecostal Church... you might even say that the claim itself should make one wary of whomever makes the claim.
From our side of the fence, the denial is sufficient to make one wary.

The fact that dubious groups X, Y, Z hold some claim A does not in and of itself invalidate claim A; even a broken clock is right twice a day.
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« Reply #80 on: June 04, 2012, 03:26:14 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!




Visible churches, like RCC, EO and OO, have a passing value but only as a manifestation of a larger whole passing through history. Their value is measured by their purity, not their age or descent. This is known by their understanding and conformity to Scripture. If there is, was, or will be a True Church, there is no possible measurement of that identity other than from Scripture.



That is a backwards analysis, albeit I do appreciate the poetry.  The first part is cool in the sense that at a localized level, each individual parish or jurisdiction is a temporal manifestation of the universal, One, eternal Church which is the Body of Jesus Christ!  However, the value is not measured by purity over age or descent, rather through Apostolic Succession it precisely the "descent" which gives value and legitimacy, not purity.  Only God is pure, the Church suffers from sin like the rest of us.  At various times various priests or communities have had one error or another.  The Church is perfect, but that does not make our human experiences in the Church yet perfected.  If anything, it is because of our inherent weakness that the Church expresses Her ultimate Truth.  God chose the Church not out of merit, but mercy.  Our flaws and sins ALL THE MORE exemplify the love of God for His Church.  Therefore it is not our merits which defines the truth of our Church, it is the age, descent, and perpetuity through Apostolic Succession.  

Quote
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Romans 4

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #81 on: June 04, 2012, 04:53:55 PM »

Therefore it is not our merits which defines the truth of our Church, it is the age, descent, and perpetuity through Apostolic Succession.  

I find this questionable.  If anyone wants to make such a claim, they will need to justify their authority. And how will they do it? How will they justify the identity, nature, offices, authority, and powers of the Church in history? There is only one option; they will need to argue from the Scriptures. And when they do, they have practically admitted what Protestants have simply revived as the dominant Christian knowledge tradition.  Furthermore, as to the question of the Church needing to be very old and have very old ways in order to be the legitimate Church, the Church that wrote the Holy Scriptures is recognized and admitted by all parties to have been the newest of new churches; you can’t get any newer than the writers of the New Testament.

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« Reply #82 on: June 04, 2012, 05:03:27 PM »

How will they justify the identity, nature, offices, authority, and powers of the Church in history? There is only one option; they will need to argue from the Scriptures.

Balderdash. Poppycock. Codswallop. You speak as though there is a "Scriptures" that people agree upon. Even the traditional Churches have different ideas about the canonicity of a certain number of books. If Christianity is to have any solid foundation, you either have to throw your lot in with one of those groups and their arbitrarily selected collection of books, while chastising any who disagree, or accept reality for what it is: a good deal messier than we would like. You rebel against certain claims to exclusivity, while wishing to simultaneously promote your own favored exclusive claims.

Also, I am beginning to think that you are really just a sock account--probably created by Alveus or Iconodule--to poke fun at me (or parody me) by out-crazying me. It won't work. No one is crazier. No one.
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« Reply #83 on: June 04, 2012, 05:06:40 PM »

How will they justify the identity, nature, offices, authority, and powers of the Church in history? There is only one option; they will need to argue from the Scriptures.

Balderdash. Poppycock. Codswallop. You speak as though there is a "Scriptures" that people agree upon. Even the traditional Churches have different ideas about the canonicity of a certain number of books. If Christianity is to have any solid foundation, you either have to throw your lot in with one of those groups and their arbitrarily selected collection of books, while chastising any who disagree, or accept reality for what it is: a good deal messier than we would like. You rebel against certain claims to exclusivity, while wishing to simultaneously promote your own favored exclusive claims.

Also, I am beginning to think that you are really just a sock account--probably created by Alveus or Iconodule--to poke fun at me (or parody me) by out-crazying me. It won't work. No one is crazier. No one.

I second that.  Well-worded. 
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« Reply #84 on: June 04, 2012, 05:10:25 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Therefore it is not our merits which defines the truth of our Church, it is the age, descent, and perpetuity through Apostolic Succession.  

I find this questionable.  If anyone wants to make such a claim, they will need to justify their authority. And how will they do it? How will they justify the identity, nature, offices, authority, and powers of the Church in history? There is only one option; they will need to argue from the Scriptures. And when they do, they have practically admitted what Protestants have simply revived as the dominant Christian knowledge tradition.  Furthermore, as to the question of the Church needing to be very old and have very old ways in order to be the legitimate Church, the Church that wrote the Holy Scriptures is recognized and admitted by all parties to have been the newest of new churches; you can’t get any newer than the writers of the New Testament.



Hence why I mentioned Paul's references to Abraham's faith, and also the fact that we hope for that we don't yet have.  We have faith in the Church's legitimacy, and we hope for this to be true.  Argue from the Scripture? Which version? Translation? Oh yeah, what about before the 4th century AD when there was no canonized Scriptures in the first place?  In Orthodox we have Apostolic Succession.  That is to say, continuity.  The Orthodox Church is an unbroken line, we don't need to "make such claim" as the reality is self-evident by the continuity.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #85 on: June 04, 2012, 06:09:04 PM »

To understand that every single denominational sect claims that they are the one true church, the only one with an accurate understanding of scripture, and the only path to heaven and God Himself is to have a firm grasp on the game of tic-tac-toe.  They are what they say they are based on nothing more than that they have said they are.  Ooh, where's that emote?  Oh, okay, here it is:  Huh

Anyone can cherry-pick scripture and historical fact with sufficient skill to start their own denominational sect while arriving at wildly flaky and bizarre conclusions.  They all do it.  Walk into any of these churches or halls or tabernacles and watch it happen before your eyes.  Every one without exception or fail can sit you down and lay out their doctrine to precise detail and then proceed to explain every single one.  The only way you can counter-point is to argue against their doctrine armed only with your own doctrine, and since they've already decided your doctrine is invalid from get-go, your counter-points fail before you even open your mouth.  

They all claim to be the only ones who understand the Bible and that they interpret scripture 'literally.'  The last person who told me this--I won't mention specific denominations but considering the one she belonged to, I swear I nearly passed hot coffee through my nasal passages.  Trust me, their interpretation of the Bible is anything but literal.  

Denominational sects will even--and with a straight face--claim apostolic succession.  If your sect has broken from the first church, then you've broken your apostolic succession, right?  

The only way is to go back as far as you can.  Which was the first Christian church?  What was the Christian church that existed prior to Orthodoxy?  I want to go all the way back to camels and sand dunes and "Hey, Luticus, we've got another crucifixion scheduled for next week.  We'd better clean this up or Pontius is going to start messing with our hours again. I've already lost my medical coverage."  Go back that far.  Where do you land?
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« Reply #86 on: June 04, 2012, 06:45:59 PM »


  That's why I'm confident now that Orthodoxy is the right direction.

What is such confidence honestly worth, though?

Two people fall in love, are honestly confident that they are each other's soulmates, and yet their marriage fails regardless.

Even someone like Maximum Bob admits to at one time being honestly confident of his call to be a minister and various other paths.

Heaven's Gate was honestly confident that Haley's comet was a spaceship come to take them home.

I was at one time honestly confident that there was nothing better beyond being Catholic.

You're absolutely right, confidence is worth little to nothing. What is truly worth something is the commitments that you fulfill regardless of your emotions, which are as changeable as whether you feel nauseas or not. Still, what's worse than both of them is doing nothing out of uncertainty.
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« Reply #87 on: June 04, 2012, 07:22:41 PM »



They all claim to be the only ones who understand the Bible and that they interpret scripture 'literally.'  

All human judgements can err but the Scriptures cannot and do not err, therefore they themselves are the ultimate and final authority in matters of faith and practice.  You will say about this, that it leaves everyone to judge for themselves what the Scriptures mean, and so it is, by necessity. Even if someone chooses to believe that whatever the Church says must be correct, they have chosen what to believe. The question is, have they believed the right thing for the right reasons. The Church saying that the Church is right because the Church is right is not a reason.  And if someone says, you can’t know what the Scriptures are apart from the Church telling you what they are, I would need to ask, “What Church?” and “How do you know that?” If they say it is from the Scriptures, they have shown their argument to be circular and largely meaningless, because they would have needed to reference Scripture itself in order to know what Scripture was.
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« Reply #88 on: June 04, 2012, 07:26:11 PM »



Hence why I mentioned Paul's references to Abraham's faith, and also the fact that we hope for that we don't yet have.  We have faith in the Church's legitimacy, and we hope for this to be true.  Argue from the Scripture? Which version? Translation? Oh yeah, what about before the 4th century AD when there was no canonized Scriptures in the first place?  In Orthodox we have Apostolic Succession.  That is to say, continuity.  The Orthodox Church is an unbroken line, we don't need to "make such claim" as the reality is self-evident by the continuity.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

If we say “tradition” and mean by this something other than the Scriptures themselves as a means of identifying the Scriptures themselves, we have unhinged ourselves from any meaningfully verifiable account of the authenticity and veracity of the Christian religion.  By definition within the ambit of the early first century Church, we have no record of any tradition outside of the Scriptures and thus no way to measure what that tradition did or did not entail. The traditions that we do have are, predictably, the ones preserved within the Scriptures themselves.

Furthermore, when you say that some tradition existed in the early Church in order to claim continuity, the reality is that we don’t have anyone that wrote of such until decades or centuries later, which makes such claims a guess, not tradition.
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« Reply #89 on: June 04, 2012, 07:26:34 PM »

All human judgements can err

Says you.

Quote
but the Scriptures

Which Scriptures? Those accepted by the Greeks and/or Russians? Catholics? Lutherans? Ethiopians?

Quote
[Scriptures] cannot [err]

Says you.

Quote
[Scriptures] do not err

Says you.

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they themselves are the ultimate and final authority in matters of faith and practice

Says you.

Well, I could continue, but I think you get the point. Or maybe you don't.
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« Reply #90 on: June 04, 2012, 07:32:55 PM »



They all claim to be the only ones who understand the Bible and that they interpret scripture 'literally.'  

All human judgements can err but the Scriptures cannot and do not err, therefore they themselves are the ultimate and final authority in matters of faith and practice.  You will say about this, that it leaves everyone to judge for themselves what the Scriptures mean, and so it is, by necessity. Even if someone chooses to believe that whatever the Church says must be correct, they have chosen what to believe. The question is, have they believed the right thing for the right reasons. The Church saying that the Church is right because the Church is right is not a reason.  And if someone says, you can’t know what the Scriptures are apart from the Church telling you what they are, I would need to ask, “What Church?” and “How do you know that?” If they say it is from the Scriptures, they have shown their argument to be circular and largely meaningless, because they would have needed to reference Scripture itself in order to know what Scripture was.

Sounds way too much like sola scriptura and is therefore flawed.  Scriptures don't err--those misinterpretations are all pilot errors.  Every single protestant who told me scriptures don't err then proceeded to bend, twist, wrangle, and skew their meanings so as to bear little if any semblance to the words on the page.  

Read "Sola Scriptura: an Orthodox Analysis of the Cornerstone of Reformation Theology" by Fr. John Whiteford.  This method is what has lured 'ten-percenters' into the delusion that they have the right to interpret scripture any way they see fit.  These people end up thinking they can just mold God and the Bible into not what it is but what they want it to be, and then run off and start a new sect.  I've seen numbers between 20,000 and 38,000 referring to how many Christian denominations there are.  Sola Scriptura is the battle axe of the disgruntled.
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« Reply #91 on: June 04, 2012, 07:34:22 PM »


Quote
[Scriptures] do not err

Says you.


That the Word of God is not self-justifying seems problematic, since it seems to be the methodology of Jesus.
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« Reply #92 on: June 04, 2012, 07:36:58 PM »

Between A) not reading the Bible at all and B) reading it but woefully misinterpreting and then misrepresenting it to others, I'd bet God would rather you choose option A and just go get hooked on Sudoku.
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« Reply #93 on: June 04, 2012, 07:42:59 PM »

Umm, nobody's saying servicemen don't deserve respect. ISTM what Akimori's saying is that being a veteran doesn't mean we're obliged to take the veteran's opinions on matters not pertaining to his service as the final word.

Like when I say the Marine Corps has the best looking uniforms out of all the branches of the US military.

FACT!

You can't challenge that statement, because I wrote "FACT!" at the end.  It's a FACT!
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« Reply #94 on: June 04, 2012, 07:49:20 PM »


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[Scriptures] do not err

Says you.


That the Word of God is not self-justifying seems problematic, since it seems to be the methodology of Jesus.

What Scriptures did Jesus (or the Apostles) use? Greek Septuagint? Hebrew text? Aramaic Targums? And I speak as though there was one Septuagint, one Hebrew text, etc., which there were not.* And this also ignores that the Jewish Bible was not set in stone at the time Jesus lived anyway (nor, IMO, was it even set, as is sometimes claimed, at the later Council at Jamnia).

This is not to say that I necessarily disagree. For example, to "All human judgements can err" I said "Says you."  I actually agree with that one. My point is that you are throwing these chains of ideas out there as though they are self-evidently true, when they are not. In fact, I think you have some of them completely bass-ackwards.


*Actually that's a fairly amusing thing--that many of the "extra" books in the Septuagint were written after the traditional time/date for the creation of the Septuagint, putting an exclamation point on this collection of texts being a work on progress over the course of a couple centuries.
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« Reply #95 on: June 04, 2012, 07:52:19 PM »

  My point is that you are throwing these chains of ideas out there as though they are self-evidently true, when they are not. In fact, I think you have some of them completely bass-ackwards.


Mmkay, I wish we had a 'like' button in here.  Who wants to start a petition?
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« Reply #96 on: June 04, 2012, 08:55:58 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



They all claim to be the only ones who understand the Bible and that they interpret scripture 'literally.'  
The Church saying that the Church is right because the Church is right is not a reason. 

Really? You seem quite comfortable accepting "the Scriptures" as inerrant and perfect, and yet the very Scriptures you trust are only "the" Scriptures because of the Church saying these Scriptures are "the" Scriptures because the Church says so Wink

By the way, I seriously applaud your faith if you can live with only the Bible, that is remarkable.  No disrespect or sarcasm, I am serious.  You haven't been trolling, and you've been polite enough to read our responses and consider and reply.  Clearly you have faith in the authenticity of the Scriptures as miraculous, which they are.  However, and this is the meaning of life, when we become convinced by faith that the Scriptures are the word of God, we must then ask ourselves, "If these Scriptures are God speaking to me, where did they come from? Where can I get more of this?" The answer is the Church  Smiley

As for me, I came to Church exactly because of the Scriptures, but because the Scriptures come from the Church.  It is like reading any novels, if you enjoy a particular book, you look for more by that author.  In this case, if you love the Bible, you should come to the Church where the Bible comes from, because in the Church, we love the bible too!

stay blessed,
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« Reply #97 on: June 04, 2012, 09:01:14 PM »


 The Church saying that the Church is right because the Church is right is not a reason.  


Exactly, which is why I never could accept any Protestant denomination, because that's all you get.  "We're right because we say we're right."  Been there, done that, with just about all of them.
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« Reply #98 on: June 04, 2012, 10:07:09 PM »

  You haven't been trolling, and you've been polite enough to read our responses and consider and reply.  Clearly you have faith in the authenticity of the Scriptures as miraculous, which they are. 

Thank you.  I do have great love for the Scriptures.  I have been playing the devil's advocate, though, and arguing from a Protestant POV.  I just don't think I could ever make a good Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist even if I wanted to.  It seems that in the end I am stuck with Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #99 on: June 04, 2012, 10:13:01 PM »

  You haven't been trolling, and you've been polite enough to read our responses and consider and reply.  Clearly you have faith in the authenticity of the Scriptures as miraculous, which they are. 

Thank you.  I do have great love for the Scriptures.  I have been playing the devil's advocate, though, and arguing from a Protestant POV.  I just don't think I could ever make a good Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist even if I wanted to.  It seems that in the end I am stuck with Orthodoxy.

If you're feeling 'stuck,' then explore another faith.  If your heart's not in it, then in coming to church, you're only taking your body for a walk. 

I fault no one for considering other options.  Realize that every church on earth is armed with compelling arguments, and through all that, you have to sift through and find the truth.  It's like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles, and not just any needle will do.  You weren't responding to me but I'm Italian and female so I'm going to respond anyway--I can be just as wrong as the next guy.  You've got to make your own choices.
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« Reply #100 on: June 04, 2012, 10:59:52 PM »

  You haven't been trolling, and you've been polite enough to read our responses and consider and reply.  Clearly you have faith in the authenticity of the Scriptures as miraculous, which they are. 

Thank you.  I do have great love for the Scriptures.  I have been playing the devil's advocate, though, and arguing from a Protestant POV.  I just don't think I could ever make a good Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist even if I wanted to.  It seems that in the end I am stuck with Orthodoxy.

You don't have to be "stuck" with anything.  Some people create a hybrid of religions while worshiping no one - that's called Unitarian Universalists.

Quote
Our Unitarian Universalist faith has evolved through a long history, with theological origins in European Christian traditions. Today Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith which allows individual Unitarian Universalists the freedom to search for truth on many paths. While our congregations uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about spiritual, ethical, and theological issues.

source
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« Reply #101 on: June 04, 2012, 11:10:19 PM »

  You haven't been trolling, and you've been polite enough to read our responses and consider and reply.  Clearly you have faith in the authenticity of the Scriptures as miraculous, which they are. 

Thank you.  I do have great love for the Scriptures.  I have been playing the devil's advocate, though, and arguing from a Protestant POV.  I just don't think I could ever make a good Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist even if I wanted to.  It seems that in the end I am stuck with Orthodoxy.

You don't have to be "stuck" with anything.  Some people create a hybrid of religions while worshiping no one - that's called Unitarian Universalists.

Quote
Our Unitarian Universalist faith has evolved through a long history, with theological origins in European Christian traditions. Today Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith which allows individual Unitarian Universalists the freedom to search for truth on many paths. While our congregations uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about spiritual, ethical, and theological issues.

source

Bunch of hacks.
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« Reply #102 on: June 04, 2012, 11:40:40 PM »

Even someone like Maximum Bob admits to at one time being honestly confident of his call to be a minister and various other paths.

Someone like?  Huh  Wink  I don't know that I used the word confident anywhere but it was a fair and accurate thing to imply from what I said.

Thank you.  I do have great love for the Scriptures. 

I share your love of the scriptures, though I do stand by my earlier points. But, I also agree that it doesn't help to broadly lambast all Protestants for proclaiming themselves to be the one true church or condemning to hell anyone who does not agree with them. The Church I left was one that held to a unity among Protestants. Even ironically Protestants that didn't share that view and would be all to happy to condemn them. I know some of that sort also.

I have been playing the devil's advocate, though, and arguing from a Protestant POV.  I just don't think I could ever make a good Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist even if I wanted to.  It seems that in the end I am stuck with Orthodoxy.

Well, that explains a few things.  Cheesy So is there any actual crisis of faith that we can help with?  Not that there has to be, of course, just wanting to be helpful if needed.  angel
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« Reply #103 on: June 04, 2012, 11:43:18 PM »

  You haven't been trolling, and you've been polite enough to read our responses and consider and reply.  Clearly you have faith in the authenticity of the Scriptures as miraculous, which they are. 

Thank you.  I do have great love for the Scriptures.  I have been playing the devil's advocate, though, and arguing from a Protestant POV.  I just don't think I could ever make a good Lutheran, Anglican or Methodist even if I wanted to.  It seems that in the end I am stuck with Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #104 on: June 05, 2012, 12:50:12 AM »





I'll bet everyone in here just stole that pic. 

I know I just did.   Wink
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« Reply #105 on: June 05, 2012, 12:56:50 AM »



You don't have to be "stuck" with anything.  Some people create a hybrid of religions while worshiping no one - that's called Unitarian Universalists.


source

Never heard of this group before in my life.  I clicked on the link above, and now regret those 3 minutes of my life which I will never get back.  I went into the site thinking "what is this all about?" 

And then I left the site still thinking that.

Um....
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« Reply #106 on: June 05, 2012, 03:19:07 AM »

Big Chris, judging from many of your recent posts and ideas, you seem to be stuck in a lucid state of doubt and uncertainty. If you do not mind my advice, I would recommend perhaps spending a period of time at a monastery or performing something ascetic like a solitary fasting period or something. Maybe it would help you clear out your mind and decide what you want to do.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #107 on: June 05, 2012, 04:04:17 AM »

 

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?


Do you know what everyone on the board knows? If not then how can you assume that the ones you named know more about Church history than everyone here? You do know that their are college professors as well as others here who either don't post as much or not at all, but they are here. I chatted with a couple through e-mail. Also, as a former protestant, I already know of alot of various protestant church history scholars from different protestant churches. Everything from the churches of christ, to Baptist, Anabaptist, to Methodist, to Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican, Congregationalist to even Assembly of God. And so I already know about a number of them. I knew about a good chunk of them even way back in my protestant years.

And so there is nothing wrong in reading good secondary and Tertiary protestant sources when it comes to church history, but nothing beats reading the primary sources for yourselves. I personally do both! It's a hobby of mine since 1997/1998.


Quote
There's a large non-denominational church right down the road from me.

There is no such thing as non-denominational. Why not read history books about the various kinds of Protestantism?


I've noticed what you said about "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church". Do you know what the bishops of 381 A.D. believed about that? They believed it meant all those who were in communion with them at the time. That is what it originally meant. The nonsense of a lower "c" catholic is nothing more than a modern protestant concept that they read back into the text.

What I've noticed over the years is that it's best to read multiple protestant sources when it comes to church history for you won't get the full scope nor the full depth of everything if you just rely on one. But what I would like you to do is read the pre-nicene fathers, nicen fathers, and post nicene fathers for yourself, along with the protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox church historians.

Then compare them when it comes to the issues of:

1.) The Trinity, especially in regards to the role of the Father. Pay attention to the details and see who is more faithful to the original interpretation

2.) Christology, pay attention to the details, and see which group is more faithful to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Ecumenical councils and the theology behind those councils.

3.) The Church (Apostolic Succession included.....for you will see that when you read some of the fathers and witnesses), pay close attention to the details and see which group/groups is more faithful to the interpretations of the first 1,000 years.

4.) The Eucharist and Water Baptism, pay close attention to the details and see which groups are the closest to the interpretations of the first 1,000 years.

5.) Free Will, pay very close attention to the details and see which group is more faithful when it comes to this issue.



Do this and then you will understand why most protestant groups will be automatically crossed out when it comes to the issue of what is the Historic Christian Faith. What it always was and what it always will continue to be!



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« Reply #108 on: June 05, 2012, 10:15:27 AM »

Even someone like Maximum Bob admits to at one time being honestly confident of his call to be a minister and various other paths.

Someone like?  Huh  Wink  I don't know that I used the word confident anywhere but it was a fair and accurate thing to imply from what I said.

Honestly, I think you're the only person participating in this thread who intimately understands what I'm currently experiencing.  Perhaps that's for no other reason than you, too, have not yet fully committed yourself to Orthodoxy, or maybe it's because you're capable of seeing the good and unity among Protestants.

Quote
So is there any actual crisis of faith that we can help with?  Not that there has to be, of course, just wanting to be helpful if needed.  angel

What I should have said is that these last few posts I've been using some "strong" Protestant objections a la Christopher Neiswonger, a Protestant my own age whom I sort of envy for many reasons but mostly because he's thoroughly convinced of the Protestant dialectic and can defend such with great rhetorical skills.

There is definitely a crisis, though.  In my heart of hearts, I currently think Orthodoxy is the summit of my spiritual journey.  My faith in Christ has never been more stable.  Even as I've wrestled with thoughts of becoming Lutheran or Anglican, it's been Orthodoxy that has sustained my faith and my prayer life.  And my thoughts continually refer back to my OCA priest, whom I now regard as a spiritual father.  I don't think I'm so much worried about 'what if Protestantism is right' but rather 'what if Orthodoxy is wrong'.  While I truly am amazed that a respected scholar like James. D.G. Dunn can be Methodist or N.T. Wright can be Anglican, convinced as they might be of the invisible church rhetoric and other doctrinal matters, I can't see either Methodism or Anglicanism working for me, sustaining my faith.  Though I've read Luther, and even agreed with him and some 20th century Lutheran theologians on several points, becoming Lutheran still seems like a regression for me.  What I've realized from reading Luther is that I disagree with the ecclesial and doctrinal structure of Roman Catholicism - yet, the developments in Lutheranism since Luther are, if nothing, less than satisfactory.  They certainly haven't been stable.  I think the faith of Bonhoeffer closely resembles Orthodoxy more than Lutheranism these days.

Realizing this, though, two things concern me:  There was a time when I was thoroughly convinced that the RCC was the true, apostolic church.  However, I also now realize that the reason why I believed this is because Orthodoxy was barely on my radar, the mission church which I currently attend was then holding Liturgy in a hotel room, and I blindly accepted some apologist's claim that EO was schismatic.  Now, having read about the history of the churches much more thoroughly, having researched the ECF, and having become disaffected with the current abuses of the RCC, I am more convinced now that I can no longer remain RC and must seek shelter elsewhere.  However this is where my second concern comes in:  Convinced as I may be about the historical roots of EO and their connection to contemporary Orthodoxy, realizing that Orthodoxy is most likely the best soil to plant my roots, being an inquirer and having to go through the catechumenate process makes me feel alienated, homeless and in limbo.  I feel like a shipwrecked sailor clutching a piece of driftwood hovering over the abyss.  And it is for this reason that I'm grasping for any reason whatsoever not to become Orthodox.
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« Reply #109 on: June 07, 2012, 12:27:31 AM »

Even someone like Maximum Bob admits to at one time being honestly confident of his call to be a minister and various other paths.

Someone like?  Huh  Wink  I don't know that I used the word confident anywhere but it was a fair and accurate thing to imply from what I said.

Honestly, I think you're the only person participating in this thread who intimately understands what I'm currently experiencing.  Perhaps that's for no other reason than you, too, have not yet fully committed yourself to Orthodoxy, or maybe it's because you're capable of seeing the good and unity among Protestants.
Well, while I thank you, I would like to think that resigning my ministerial credential and leaving the church I went to for 20 years would show I was rather committed to Orthodoxy (unless you mean "the less than a Catechumen" part of my faith statement), so lets assume this is about seeing the good and unity among Protestants.

If so, that is true. I have said before my leaving Protestantism was less about leaving and more about coming, to Orthodoxy. I don't hate Protestantism and while I think there are some mistakes in how the Protestant churches view things, as previously noted, I also do see much sincerity in those Churches as well. I know a lot of these people. I've seen what some are trying to do, from the inside. I don't see it as all show. I know there are people in Protestantism who are sincerely trying to follow God with all their hearts. On this forum I have criticized Protestantism but I've also defended it. In this, however, let me say I'm not alone on the forum, there are many who have been here much longer than I who have done the same.
 
Quote
So is there any actual crisis of faith that we can help with?  Not that there has to be, of course, just wanting to be helpful if needed.  angel


There is definitely a crisis, though.  ... I don't think I'm so much worried about 'what if Protestantism is right' but rather 'what if Orthodoxy is wrong'.  
Okay, so there is a confidence issue here, that's understandable. It seems to me that it's part and parcel of such a change. Having once been confident of something when we loose that and go to something else it's doubly hard to gain that confidence again, after all we were wrong before...


Realizing this, though, two things concern me:  ... There was a time when I was thoroughly convinced that the RCC was the true, apostolic church.  However, I also now realize that the reason why I believed this is because Orthodoxy was barely on my radar,...
For me too but not the RCC rather the Protestant church I was part of. I have spent much time as noted studying the EOC, but also some studying the RCC, the Oriental Orthodox church, the Assyrian Church of the East, splinters from  these and even many of the Protestant cults. I can say with some confidence now that I don't think there's anything flying below my radar, but then we don't know, what we don't know, do we. I think at some point we just have to let go of the unknown and operate on faith, that God want us more than we want him and will guide us to truth if we seek it.

...this is where my second concern comes in:  Convinced as I may be about the historical roots of EO and their connection to contemporary Orthodoxy...being an inquirer and having to go through the catechumenate process makes me feel alienated, homeless and in limbo.  I feel like a shipwrecked sailor clutching a piece of driftwood hovering over the abyss.  And it is for this reason that I'm grasping for any reason whatsoever not to become Orthodox.
So I think I hear you saying here that your tempted to reject Orthodoxy before it rejects you. Rather to truly argue those opposite positions to see them fail so they're not hanging over your head as things that might be, or simply as a very human defence mechanism I don't' know.

Either way your about as patient as I am I see.  Grin The one word that concerns me though is "alienated", don't know if there's much there or not but it makes me wonder if you feel welcome and at home with the people of your church. That is a boon, I feel lucky to have the people of our new church have definitely shown us love.

I wish you well my friend and pray God's mercy and grace be upon you.  Smiley
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« Reply #110 on: June 07, 2012, 08:48:00 AM »

 However this is where my second concern comes in:  Convinced as I may be about the historical roots of EO and their connection to contemporary Orthodoxy, realizing that Orthodoxy is most likely the best soil to plant my roots, being an inquirer and having to go through the catechumenate process makes me feel alienated, homeless and in limbo.  I feel like a shipwrecked sailor clutching a piece of driftwood hovering over the abyss.  And it is for this reason that I'm grasping for any reason whatsoever not to become Orthodox.

Big Chris,

I have been following this thread and think I also know what you are going through. I left a denomination that considered itself as the only correct religion and all others as heretic and bound for perdition (they do not express this as much now).  When I left and after looking into the other faiths I was bound and determined to never join another organized religion. I did not want to get burned again.

After a few years I found Orthodoxy. As a former Spiritual Father expressed to me; "Orthodoxy is Catholicism without additions and Protestantism without subtractions". There is truth in every faith but the orthodox church has the fullness of the faith handed down of the Apostles.

If you are comfortable with some one at you parish, ask them be you sponsor. Use them as your sounding board, they may even accompany you in you journey as a catechumen.  You do not have to do this alone.  I was lucky mine was my wife.

This is just my humble opinion and very simplistic but it worked for me.
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« Reply #111 on: June 07, 2012, 11:08:25 AM »

So I think I hear you saying here that your tempted to reject Orthodoxy before it rejects you.

If you are comfortable with some one at you parish, ask them be you sponsor. Use them as your sounding board, they may even accompany you in you journey as a catechumen.  You do not have to do this alone.  I was lucky mine was my wife.

The only person I currently feel comfortable talking to at my parish is my priest, yet I am reluctant to express any feelings of doubt to him because I fear that will only delay my ability to join the catechumenate and ultimately become Orthodox.  I expressed some doubt to him once before and he was quick to nearly dismiss me.  While I do understand the importance of being fully open with our spiritual fathers, I think much of what I'm currently experiencing will resolve itself in time.  Within the span of this thread alone, I have flip-flopped many, many times.  If I had burdened my priest with these thoughts, I think an inaccurate cariacture would have been formed.

When my fiance attended DL with me for the first time, everybody was very gracious to us.  Since then, as I've attended by myself (because she has been unable to), I almost have to pull teeth to get some friendly interaction.  Perhaps people have become more comfortable with my presence, but, even so, no relationships are being formed no matter how hard I try to engage conversation.  The last DL I attended a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting during Matins to rest my lower back, and this woman walks again and stands right in front me, not even one foot away, like I wasn't even there even though the whole church was practically empty.  In a couple more weeks, my fiance will start attending DL with me on a regular basis, and I bet you anything that suddenly these people will become interested again.  Single men are strange, but couples are received warmly.
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« Reply #112 on: June 07, 2012, 11:15:33 AM »

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The only person I currently feel comfortable talking to at my parish is my priest, yet I am reluctant to express any feelings of doubt to him because I fear that will only delay my ability to join the catechumenate and ultimately become Orthodox
Given your wrestling, I'd slow it down and make sure its what you want, and what is comfortable for you. The LAST thing you want is to be a Catechumen and be Chrismated or baptised doubting all the way.

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I expressed some doubt to him once before and he was quick to nearly dismiss me
I think that is the wrong way to approach it. Casting you out does not help you grow spiritually. Seems to me that he just needs to spend more time addressing your concerns.

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While I do understand the importance of being fully open with our spiritual fathers, I think much of what I'm currently experiencing will resolve itself in time
Possibly, but time alone wont do it. Voicing your concerns and having them addressed will help give you peace about them.


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When my fiance attended DL with me for the first time, everybody was very gracious to us.  Since then, as I've attended by myself (because she has been unable to), I almost have to pull teeth to get some friendly interaction.  Perhaps people have become more comfortable with my presence, but, even so, no relationships are being formed no matter how hard I try to engage conversation.  The last DL I attended a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting during Matins to rest my lower back, and this woman walks again and stands right in front me, not even one foot away, like I wasn't even there even though the whole church was practically empty.  In a couple more weeks, my fiance will start attending DL with me on a regular basis, and I bet you anything that suddenly these people will become interested again.  Single men are strange, but couples are received warmly
I personally think that this is more of a perception thing, but I'd definitely bring that to your priest's attention.

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« Reply #113 on: June 07, 2012, 12:15:03 PM »

Perhaps people have become more comfortable with my presence, but, even so, no relationships are being formed no matter how hard I try to engage conversation. 

That could be the case I know in our Parish after someone has been there few times they become "a common sight". I fear that some try not to press this person, while others just dismiss the need to reach out.  I know I have (to my sham) been one to not want to press the visitor.  I would welcome the opportunity to be a supporter/guide if asked. 
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 12:17:24 PM by soderquj » Logged

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« Reply #114 on: June 07, 2012, 12:51:17 PM »

I just want to throw this out there, as well, but not necessarily in response to anyone in particular...

During Lent, a young couple in our parish lost their newborn infant only moments after it was born.  My heart truly went out to them, and I prayed for them.  As is typical, the Psalter was chanted during the all-night vigil.  Being capable of chanting the Psalms myself, I wanted to share in their sorrow by helping to chant the Psalms but I'm not allowed to because I'm not Orthodox - and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You need to have passed through the initiatory clubhouse rites before chanting the Psalter in a time of need??  The sign-up list of volunteers for the chanting was practically empty and I would have been glad to have chanted from 3 AM to 5 AM, but no - I am not allowed.  So, it's almost like my non-christmation is standing in the way of forming any relationships.
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« Reply #115 on: June 08, 2012, 08:22:22 AM »

I do not know if this correct or not but I was told that the chanter is an actual position in the church and therefore requires one to be of the body.  I do not know if there is any special blessing or ritual needed to performed to become a chanter.
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« Reply #116 on: June 08, 2012, 08:58:20 PM »

I have seen non-orthodox families being allowed to read from the Psalter in honor of their Orthodox family member, especially in convert parishes and small missions. I believe it is based upon the charism of the priest to determine if he will allow it for such a situation. Apparrently the parish priest either felt he could not or was encouraging members of the church family to step up and do their last duty to the child.

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« Reply #117 on: July 02, 2012, 02:28:02 AM »



I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Whilst these are very smart men, I think that if you take a step back and question the Protestant paradigm/ideology itself, you would find that it leaves a lot to be desired - particularly philosophically. Many Calvinists like the late Francis Schaeffer are very smart. But they operate within a system of thought that they have accepted from the start. To be an very good apologist for an ideology such as Calvinism says nothing about its goodness. I happen to believe that the philosophical foundations of Calvinism are so barren that you almost have to believe that God is something close to being simply wicked to accept it. But once you accept Calvinism, then yes, you kind make all sorts of clever arguments in support of it.

Those Protestants that know intuitively that there is something utterly wrong with the fundamentalists often end up being liberals who compromise on some of the most important doctrines or they leave the faith altogether. Think of Bart Ehrman. A fiercely intelligent man. He rejected Christianity because the foundations of the fundamentalist positions he once believed in are philosophically untenable. E.g. Inerrancy of Scripture (as formulated by fundamentalist Protestants) and so on. Being a textual scholar, he knew that the inerrancy position of fundamentalists is simply wrong. And he's right about that. Unfortunately, because he is a child of the Enlightenment, he can't think outside the sort of scholastic tradition that he is accustomed to. In other words, concepts that are central for Orthodox Christians ar like "mystery" are simply incomprehensible to people like Ehrman.

I would also add that in the history of Christendom, those who come from a high church tradition have been, by far, the most intellectually convincing. In modern times think of high church Anglicans such as CS Lewis and NT Wright. Roman Catholics such as Chesterton and Tolkien. Eastern Orthodox such Dostoevsky, Richard Swinburne and Pelikan. These intellectuals are not only great apologists for their respective denominations, but are very highly regarded across Christendom and by secularists also. The Protestant intellectuals you name above are really only big names in the evangelical sub culture in America. Men like Dostoevsky and Lewis are able to transcend sectarian boundaries. I think this is because there is truth in what they are saying. Intelligent people intuitively know that the god of modern evangelicalism is based on legal fictions (e.g. penal substitutionary atonement). Ontologically, Protestant fundamentalism is indefensible. It can not stand up to scrutiny beyond the boundaries of evangelical sub culture. That is why fundamentalist evangelicals have retreated from secular universities and have to set up their own institutions. They have simply lost the intellectual argument and are now fearful the outside world.
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