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Author Topic: How do Orthodox think about Faith?  (Read 2154 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« on: August 24, 2012, 04:36:12 PM »

We Baptists and other Evangelicals have liberty to think about what we believe. But it seems to me that you Orthodox are committed to a system which a priori has all the answers to religious questions. What about speaking in tongues? divine healing? Should Christrians observe the sabbath? should they tithe? Will there be a millennium, after Christ's return? Is there a secret rapture? What about believers' or infant baptism? predestination? the place, if any, of free will or human response in soteriology? May women preach? Can a Christian lose his salvation? Is scripture inerrant in the Fundamentalist sense? If not, what do we make of divine inspiration? I am not talking about wild, unbridled individualism which ignores the core of Nicene, Chalcydonian Christianity and strikes out in imagined and isolated self-sufficiency, of some personal 'sola scriptura' which discards what all others have thought before; I am thinking of mainstream Christians who, in mutual acceptance, seriously and sincerely consider these and other issues and come to a clutch of beliefs which, no doubt as the years pass, will evolve and change whilst still remaining within the mainstream. Surely you Orthodox must have such questions in your minds. How do you deal with them, both individually and one with another?
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 04:42:27 PM »

We Baptists and other Evangelicals have liberty to think about what we believe. But it seems to me that you Orthodox are committed to a system which a priori has all the answers to religious questions.
If this were so in a restrictive form, then we Orthodox wouldn't debate all the things we do.

And yet we do.

St. Paul said this was a good thing.

What happens between death and the Resurrection? In what sense was the Theotokos sinless? Would Christ have died of natural causes? Toll Houses? How far can we take evil eye symbolism? Which episcopal model is appropriate for the diaspora? Etc.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2012, 04:56:13 PM »

Have you not had a look around this site? All of the issues you raise are discussed here, ad infinitum. Orthodoxy doesn't condemn thinking. But it is much more practical, experiential, and some would say "mystical" than other forms of Christianity. I doubt that thinking about stuff gets anyone closer to God... not ultimately, at least. Orthodox Hieromonk Fr. Seraphim Rose wrote or is quoted as having said somewhere that converts who think their way into the Church have to stop all of their searching and questioning at that point and enter more deeply into the life of the Church through praxis (communion, prayer, fasting, and so forth), or they are in danger of thinking their way right out of the Church. So Orthodoxy is definitely more about what one does and becomes through participation and practice than what one thinks about. At least this is my sense.
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2012, 04:58:57 PM »


....and when you think and think and think some more and cannot come up with an answer....it's good to have one provided from those who have also done a lot of thinking.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2012, 05:13:12 PM »

We Baptists and other Evangelicals have liberty to think about what we believe. But it seems to me that you Orthodox are committed to a system which a priori has all the answers to religious questions. What about speaking in tongues? divine healing? Should Christrians observe the sabbath? should they tithe? Will there be a millennium, after Christ's return? Is there a secret rapture? What about believers' or infant baptism? predestination? the place, if any, of free will or human response in soteriology? May women preach? Can a Christian lose his salvation? Is scripture inerrant in the Fundamentalist sense? If not, what do we make of divine inspiration? I am not talking about wild, unbridled individualism which ignores the core of Nicene, Chalcydonian Christianity and strikes out in imagined and isolated self-sufficiency, of some personal 'sola scriptura' which discards what all others have thought before; I am thinking of mainstream Christians who, in mutual acceptance, seriously and sincerely consider these and other issues and come to a clutch of beliefs which, no doubt as the years pass, will evolve and change whilst still remaining within the mainstream. Surely you Orthodox must have such questions in your minds. How do you deal with them, both individually and one with another?

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Within the bounds set by the fathers, as Scripture says.  We have a wide berthe, a wide pasture in which to roam, but must not transgress the boundaries.  The ultimate guide for boundaries is the Symbol of the Faith (the Creed) and other horoi of the faith.  It binds us to a faith in the Trinity, to the Holy Spirit as Lord and giver of life who spoke by the prophets, to the Church as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.  This binds us to the Lord in synergy via the commandments in Apostolic and Catholic understanding.   
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2012, 05:26:03 PM »

Some words from Fr Georges Florovsky on the matter:

Moreover, we have to distinguish between “doctrine”—in the strict sense of the term—and “theology.” Indeed, “doctrine” is a matter of faith, credendum de fide, and “theology” is a realm of interpretation, rational or spiritual, and there is here a certain room for freedom and for a variety of options, as difficult as it is to draw an exact line of demarcation.
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 10:38:00 AM »

We have a wide berthe, a wide pasture in which to roam, but must not transgress the boundaries. 

I believe this is the same as with us, although no doubt the parameters lie in different places. Yet some of you good people say we are each a law unto himself, each his own pope, sovereignly and independently constructing his own beliefs. But it is not so. I find it hard to believe that two Orthodox, sitting companionably over their ale in a quiet nook of a pub, discussing their faith and spiritual experience, would be very different from two Baptists engaged in the same activity.
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 10:41:20 AM »

Somehow this makes me think of the book of Proverbs: "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set"
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 11:18:31 AM »

We have a wide berthe, a wide pasture in which to roam, but must not transgress the boundaries. 

I believe this is the same as with us, although no doubt the parameters lie in different places. Yet some of you good people say we are each a law unto himself, each his own pope, sovereignly and independently constructing his own beliefs. But it is not so. I find it hard to believe that two Orthodox, sitting companionably over their ale in a quiet nook of a pub, discussing their faith and spiritual experience, would be very different from two Baptists engaged in the same activity.


We know different kinds of Baptists then, because I know quite a few who would quarrel with each other - to begin with, over going to a pub, much less drinking ale.
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 12:16:07 PM »

I think the more desacramentalised churches within Protestantism have a bias perception towards Orthodox, Catholics, etc. that liturgical worship is inherently a ritual in which the layperson does not engage their mind & then lacks a sense of relationship with Jesus Christ. This is factually in error and there is too much of the sermon in some Protestant churches in which a faith topic is focused on instead of the totality of the faith already evident in liturgical worship. There are Protestants who may rightly observe a lack of awareness among an Orthodox layperson who is truly ignorant of their faith & may not hear an adequate sermon needed for thought in faith. I think certain Protestants need to understand that liturgical worship is not meant to be an alleged ritualism although they may rightly observe laity who have succumbed to a sense of ritualism because of ignorance of their faith in Christ. The 2 main aspects of the liturgy are the liturgy of the word culminating in the sermon and then the liturgy of thanksgiving culminating in the blessed Eucharist.
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 01:01:20 PM »

We Baptists and other Evangelicals have liberty to think about what we believe. But it seems to me that you Orthodox are committed to a system which a priori has all the answers to religious questions. What about speaking in tongues? divine healing? Should Christrians observe the sabbath? should they tithe? Will there be a millennium, after Christ's return? Is there a secret rapture? What about believers' or infant baptism? predestination? the place, if any, of free will or human response in soteriology? May women preach? Can a Christian lose his salvation? Is scripture inerrant in the Fundamentalist sense? If not, what do we make of divine inspiration? I am not talking about wild, unbridled individualism which ignores the core of Nicene, Chalcydonian Christianity and strikes out in imagined and isolated self-sufficiency, of some personal 'sola scriptura' which discards what all others have thought before; I am thinking of mainstream Christians who, in mutual acceptance, seriously and sincerely consider these and other issues and come to a clutch of beliefs which, no doubt as the years pass, will evolve and change whilst still remaining within the mainstream. Surely you Orthodox must have such questions in your minds. How do you deal with them, both individually and one with another?
Faith isn't a check list of beliefs.  It is the life of Christ in His Body, the Church.
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 10:33:26 PM »

We have our own questions as well, only, we rely on the guidance of the Holy Tradition and Councils to guide us, along with the personal care from our Bishops. Some of the questions I have are what happens to us after we die before the Resurrection/Second Coming and whether or not toll houses exist and what they even are exactly.
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2012, 08:14:22 AM »

Baptists... quite a few who would quarrel with each other

Sadly, quite true. Christians are a quarrelsome lot, aren't we?
 Sad
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 08:16:17 AM »

churches within Protestantism have a bias perception towards Orthodox, Catholics, etc. that liturgical worship is inherently a ritual in which the layperson does not engage their mind & then lacks a sense of relationship with Jesus Christ. This is factually in error and there is too much of the sermon in some Protestant churches

You are right.
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2012, 08:17:33 AM »

Faith isn't a check list of beliefs.  It is the life of Christ in His Body, the Church.

Quite so; and in a different but closely related sense, within each believer.
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2012, 08:21:48 AM »

what happens to us after we die before the Resurrection/Second Coming and whether or not toll houses exist

Interestingly, I think all Evangelicals would agree that we go directly and consciously to the presence of Christ, "which is far better" (as Paul says). The doctrine of 'soul sleep' is deemed a heresy. Then at Christ's Second Coming - I interrupt with a heartfelt Maranatha! - we are raised from the dead with a body like his glorious body.

I don't think we have ever heard of toll houses.
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« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2012, 09:51:55 AM »

We have our own questions as well, only, we rely on the guidance of the Holy Tradition and Councils to guide us, along with the personal care from our Bishops.

See, this is the difference - it's not relying on the guidance and teachings of the Church but upon one's own personal interpretation and understanding that leads to the "every man his own pope" attitude.
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« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2012, 10:28:24 AM »

relying on... one's own personal interpretation and understanding that leads to the "every man his own pope" attitude.

I know what you mean, and I have encountered Christians (as I dare say you have too) who cannot or will not fit into any church, and either wander restlessly from church to church, or start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group. From what I have read, this type of Christian spoils the American scene more than the English, but we have more than enough of them as well. But they are not widely regarded as healthy or normal Christians, and you should not consider them typical of Evangelical religion. After all, some of the above posts concede the existence of nominal Orthodox who have little appreciation in heart or mind of the real Faith: we are not alone in supplying examples of what religion ought not to be like. We remain, during our speculations over our ale or by our firesides, within the historic faith, at least as handed down from the time of the Reformation. You may think that tradition is wrong, or even novel; but it is a tradition, and we do abide within it, albeit speculating and discussing concerning such matters as I mentioned in my opening post on the thread - indeed (as one pointed out above) including on whether it is licit for Christians to discuss over ale at all!
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« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2012, 09:25:07 PM »

relying on... one's own personal interpretation and understanding that leads to the "every man his own pope" attitude.

I know what you mean, and I have encountered Christians (as I dare say you have too) who cannot or will not fit into any church, and either wander restlessly from church to church, or start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group. From what I have read, this type of Christian spoils the American scene more than the English, but we have more than enough of them as well. But they are not widely regarded as healthy or normal Christians, and you should not consider them typical of Evangelical religion.

An interesting thought has come to me here is the difference between "every man his own pope" Christians who ... start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group, and major protestant denominations possibly little more than a few hundred years and some thousands of followers?

Not meaning to be flip, I'm actually pondering this.
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« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2012, 10:13:40 PM »

We Baptists and other Evangelicals have liberty to think about what we believe. But it seems to me that you Orthodox are committed to a system which a priori has all the answers to religious questions. What about speaking in tongues? divine healing? Should Christrians observe the sabbath? should they tithe? Will there be a millennium, after Christ's return? Is there a secret rapture? What about believers' or infant baptism? predestination? the place, if any, of free will or human response in soteriology? May women preach? Can a Christian lose his salvation? Is scripture inerrant in the Fundamentalist sense? If not, what do we make of divine inspiration? I am not talking about wild, unbridled individualism which ignores the core of Nicene, Chalcydonian Christianity and strikes out in imagined and isolated self-sufficiency, of some personal 'sola scriptura' which discards what all others have thought before; I am thinking of mainstream Christians who, in mutual acceptance, seriously and sincerely consider these and other issues and come to a clutch of beliefs which, no doubt as the years pass, will evolve and change whilst still remaining within the mainstream. Surely you Orthodox must have such questions in your minds. How do you deal with them, both individually and one with another?

I think and form opinions. I just try not to let them run contrary to what has been believed with consistency (which I believe comes from the Holy Spirit) throughout the centuries. You speak of Nicene and Chalcedonian Christianity, but the same men who made those statements of faith also agreed (for the most part) on where they stand on many if not all of the issues you mention above. But most of the areas for open for opinion are the "how" or the "why" or the "means of expressing", not the "what" of what we believe.

I don't know if this helps at all, but I hope it does.
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2012, 03:29:42 AM »

[W]here is the difference between "every man his own pope" Christians who ... start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group, and major protestant denominations possibly little more than a few hundred years and some thousands of followers?

I think the difference largely lies in this: that the major Protestant denominations were (a) attempting to return to a tradition or structure of belief and practice which they felt had been abandoned and betrayed by the mother body; and (b) were expelled by the mother body for their efforts; whereas a "tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group" often starts over some personality struggle or some comparatively minor point of doctrine and practice locfated among the adiaphora.
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2012, 09:26:20 AM »

[W]here is the difference between "every man his own pope" Christians who ... start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group, and major protestant denominations possibly little more than a few hundred years and some thousands of followers?

I think the difference largely lies in this: that the major Protestant denominations were (a) attempting to return to a tradition or structure of belief and practice which they felt had been abandoned and betrayed by the mother body; and (b) were expelled by the mother body for their efforts; whereas a "tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group" often starts over some personality struggle or some comparatively minor point of doctrine and practice locfated among the adiaphora.

I can agree that many protestants want to return to the ancient beliefs, only problem is they are doing it within the current culture.  What do I mean, they tend to use Renaissance and current philosophies/scientific methods, that is men by there own ability can understand which does lead to all sorts of opinions even on the very basics.   Protestants felt betrayed and abandoned by RCism, but they are guilty of not seeking out the Church also.  I know I was guilty of both, oh what a mess my Ego created.   

Interesting side note.  My wife is still Baptist, I am now fully in the Orthodox Church, it took several years until she was at peace with the idea of me moving towards Orthodoxy.  In the mean time, she has personally seen my journey, spoken with the Priest, seen the teachings in practice and has come to realize that many things that were not taught in the Baptist Church, that she felt was true and experience those truths outside of Orthodoxy,  have been confirmed to be true by the Orthodox Church.  She recently confessed, to me and friends of hers, on a couple occasions to be now heading towards the Church seeing the healing power of the practices. 
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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2012, 09:32:04 AM »

...but the same men who made those statements of faith also agreed (for the most part) on where they stand on many if not all of the issues you mention above.

This is an excellent point. Those same men also agreed on many things which Protestants do not believe, teach or preach.
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2012, 08:55:48 PM »

I just want to say that we need more love of our neighbors, which means all other faiths and people who do not have any faith.

I like reading most opinions here, just always hope we can someday be united in Jesus name.

God bless all.
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« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2012, 12:39:35 AM »

[W]here is the difference between "every man his own pope" Christians who ... start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group, and major protestant denominations possibly little more than a few hundred years and some thousands of followers?

I think the difference largely lies in this: that the major Protestant denominations were (a) attempting to return to a tradition or structure of belief and practice which they felt had been abandoned and betrayed by the mother body; and (b) were expelled by the mother body for their efforts; whereas a "tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group" often starts over some personality struggle or some comparatively minor point of doctrine and practice locfated among the adiaphora.
Okay perhaps, as far as the first generation go, but thereafter if it continued that wouldn't all Protestant worship resemble that of high church Anglicans and high church Lutherans?
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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2012, 08:13:00 PM »

We have a wide berthe, a wide pasture in which to roam, but must not transgress the boundaries. 

I believe this is the same as with us, although no doubt the parameters lie in different places. Yet some of you good people say we are each a law unto himself, each his own pope, sovereignly and independently constructing his own beliefs. But it is not so. I find it hard to believe that two Orthodox, sitting companionably over their ale in a quiet nook of a pub, discussing their faith and spiritual experience, would be very different from two Baptists engaged in the same activity.

lol.  Except that it is only the two Baptists that would say "do you think anyone from church saw us walk in here?"   Wink

But yes, I suppose there would be comparable discussion, except that the content matter would probably be sometimes different, and sometimes the same.  Where I think it would be the same in our place and time, would be that maybe one of either set might offer up sympathy for our modern secular way of looking at matters of the commandments (ethics, morality, etc.), and that the other might not.  Other doctrinal discussion and matters of church polity would be different subjects matters between the two. 

And actually even there, Orthodox and Baptists may be more similar than two Episcopalians sitting in another booth regarding what is acceptable in terms of basics of either.  For example, I would think that two Baptists and two Orthodox would all agree that you cannot be a Christian while professing a disbelief in the Trinity, in the Incarnation, in certain aspects of fundamental moral behavior.  With two Episcopalians, I suppose even these might be a matter in which they disagree and can still consider themselves Episcopalians and Christians.     
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« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2012, 04:58:35 PM »

lol.  Except that it is only the two Baptists that would say "do you think anyone from church saw us walk in here?"   Wink

Ah! How well you know us! Even nowadays, some 40 years after abandoning what I have heard called "an American heresy" (i.e. that Christians should be teetotal), I still get that sneaky feeling here in the town where I live when I walk into the pub with my book or to meet a friend or whomever. I remember from 40-50 years ago people saying things like, "I wouldn't drink alcohol if I did go into a pub, but people might think I was going to drink it, so I don't go in at all." Happily in our church we have both strict teetotalers and people who make their own wine, and go to pubs alone, with wives, or with friends, and I think that is how it should be - each granting the others the Christian liberty of walking before God in the light of their own consciences.

On a more serious matter, I couldn't help be glad for some of the challenging and penetrating posts there on been on the Forum over the years on the matter of the nature of the Lord's Supper, as I (to use the old English word) houseled the congregation this evening (Sunday), for it has been good to be made to think deeply and at length about what I believe concerning the Supper.

In re fireside or over-ale discussions, the nature of the Lord's Supper is something we would (and do) discuss - Is it a 'bare memorial' or a sacrament? If a sacrament, how does it 'work'? It is doubtless one area of discussion which does not feature in your corresponding conversations.
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2012, 06:01:36 PM »

A few thoughts:

[W]here is the difference between "every man his own pope" Christians who ... start their own tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group, and major protestant denominations possibly little more than a few hundred years and some thousands of followers?

I think the difference largely lies in this: that the major Protestant denominations were (a) attempting to return to a tradition or structure of belief and practice which they felt had been abandoned and betrayed by the mother body; and (b) were expelled by the mother body for their efforts; whereas a "tiny and probably idiosyncratic splinter group" often starts over some personality struggle or some comparatively minor point of doctrine and practice locfated among the adiaphora.

Truth be told, it is the idea of (a) that spawned and continues to spawn so many of the different "tiny and idiosyncratic splinter groups" in America. The Restorationist movement of the 19th Century saw an explosion in denominations that flares back up every few decades or so- one of the last explosions being the late '60s and early '70s Jesus movement that saw the birth of both the Jesus People USA (sort of like Evangelical hippies living in an intentional commune) and the Evangelical Orthodox Church (which has now largely joined various official Orthodox bodies).


On a more serious matter, I couldn't help be glad for some of the challenging and penetrating posts there on been on the Forum over the years on the matter of the nature of the Lord's Supper, as I (to use the old English word) houseled the congregation this evening (Sunday), for it has been good to be made to think deeply and at length about what I believe concerning the Supper.

In re fireside or over-ale discussions, the nature of the Lord's Supper is something we would (and do) discuss - Is it a 'bare memorial' or a sacrament? If a sacrament, how does it 'work'? It is doubtless one area of discussion which does not feature in your corresponding conversations.

Well, while we would never have "in-house" discussions (that is, between ourselves- we do, of course, have these conversations with certain brands of Protestant family and friends) about whether or not the Eucharist is a "bare memorial" or a sacrament- this has been answered going back to St Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, there can be discussion as to how the sacrament "works". We have a few off-topic areas- no Lutheran "consubstantiation" for us, but we still have a certain amount of leeway.
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Great googly moogly!


« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2012, 08:12:26 PM »

<< Luke 5:32 >>

New International Version (©1984)
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I came not to call the righteous,.... Such as the Scribes and Pharisees were in their own apprehension, and in the esteem of others, who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ: these Christ came not to call by his grace, and therefore did not associate himself with them: but sinners to repentance; such as the publicans, and others, with them, were; and therefore he was chiefly with such, and chose to be among them: these he not only called to repentance by the outward ministry of the word, but brought them to it; he having power to bestow the grace of repentance, as well as to call to the duty of it; See Gill on Matthew 9:13. See Gill on Mark 2:17.

Please consider if you are righteous or a sinner, the arguments for or against other denominations sounds a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus day.
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« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2012, 02:45:10 AM »

<< Luke 5:32 >>

New International Version (©1984)
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I came not to call the righteous,.... Such as the Scribes and Pharisees were in their own apprehension, and in the esteem of others, who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ: these Christ came not to call by his grace, and therefore did not associate himself with them: but sinners to repentance; such as the publicans, and others, with them, were; and therefore he was chiefly with such, and chose to be among them: these he not only called to repentance by the outward ministry of the word, but brought them to it; he having power to bestow the grace of repentance, as well as to call to the duty of it; See Gill on Matthew 9:13. See Gill on Mark 2:17.

Please consider if you are righteous or a sinner, the arguments for or against other denominations sounds a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus day.
How so?
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« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2012, 07:25:34 AM »

Drawing two motifs here together - alcohol and the Lord's Supper - it often strikes me as odd that those who strongly assert that the Supper is only symbolic, then go ahead and destroy a large part of the very symbol by using some liquid other than wine: for when a chap takes a glass of wine, he feels it coursing through his whole body via his bloodstream. Whatever blessing it is that God gives in the Eucharist, ought we not to feel that blessing - nay, that life - coursing through our whole soul? I never get that symbolic sensation at the Baptist and Congregational churches where I communicate from time to time, either as minister or in the congregation.

One of Charles Wesley's hymns comes to mind:

I feel the life his wounds impart;
I feel my Saviour in my heart.


Ought this not to be what the Cup conveys to us?
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Great googly moogly!


« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2012, 07:15:26 PM »

<< Luke 5:32 >>

New International Version (©1984)
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I came not to call the righteous,.... Such as the Scribes and Pharisees were in their own apprehension, and in the esteem of others, who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ: these Christ came not to call by his grace, and therefore did not associate himself with them: but sinners to repentance; such as the publicans, and others, with them, were; and therefore he was chiefly with such, and chose to be among them: these he not only called to repentance by the outward ministry of the word, but brought them to it; he having power to bestow the grace of repentance, as well as to call to the duty of it; See Gill on Matthew 9:13. See Gill on Mark 2:17.

Please consider if you are righteous or a sinner, the arguments for or against other denominations sounds a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus day.
How so?
By implying we are righteous and he is the sinner who needs our church.

Also this story Jesus told about those who think they are better than the other sinner,

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed abouta himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
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« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2012, 08:54:19 PM »

<< Luke 5:32 >>

New International Version (©1984)
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I came not to call the righteous,.... Such as the Scribes and Pharisees were in their own apprehension, and in the esteem of others, who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ: these Christ came not to call by his grace, and therefore did not associate himself with them: but sinners to repentance; such as the publicans, and others, with them, were; and therefore he was chiefly with such, and chose to be among them: these he not only called to repentance by the outward ministry of the word, but brought them to it; he having power to bestow the grace of repentance, as well as to call to the duty of it; See Gill on Matthew 9:13. See Gill on Mark 2:17.

Please consider if you are righteous or a sinner, the arguments for or against other denominations sounds a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus day.
How so?
By implying we are righteous and he is the sinner who needs our church.

Also this story Jesus told about those who think they are better than the other sinner,

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed abouta himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I still don't know what you're talking about. Are you trying to say that our insistence that the Orthodox Church is the one true Church and that Christians of other denominations or churches must join the Orthodox Church to be Christian in the fullest sense is somehow Pharisaical?
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« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2012, 09:18:38 PM »

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

We Baptists and other Evangelicals have liberty to think about what we believe. But it seems to me that you Orthodox are committed to a system which a priori has all the answers to religious questions.


Haha!! How can the Church of the Divine Mysteries also have all the answers?

Quote
What about speaking in tongues?
You mean translating texts and prayers into different languages? Yeah, we got that Wink

Quote
divine healing?
You mean like the the Divine Mystery of the Anointing of the Sick and the constant prayers during the Divine Liturgy dedicated to the sick? Yeah, we got that Wink

Quote
Should Christrians observe the sabbath?
You mean like when we go to the Divine Liturgy and drink blessed win and consume blessed bread just like the Jewish Shabat mimics to this day? Yeah we got that Wink

Quote
should they tithe?
Of course, who doesn't?
Quote
Will there be a millennium, after Christ's return?
There is debate about this in the Church, the Revelations is written in very mystical and esoteric language. Our fathers tend to prefer to connect the symbolism and imagery of the Revelations to the routine celebrations of the Divine Liturgy rather then speculating about a specific sequence of prophetic events.e

Quote
Is there a secret rapture?\
No.
Quote
What about believers' or infant baptism?
Yes, we have "believers' baptism in the sense of what the fathers call Baptism by Blood also known as the Crown of Martyrdom.  As to Infant Baptism, yeah we got that Wink

Quote
predestination?
What about free will?
Quote
the place, if any, of free will
So why are you talking about predestination then?

Quote
or human response in soteriology?
That is complicated, the Fathers applied a theological term to describe this gradual process, its called Synergy which leads to Theosis.  

Quote
May women preach?
Depends on the circumstance.

Quote
Can a Christian lose his salvation?
That is debatable.
Quote
Is scripture inerrant in the Fundamentalist sense?
No, that is naively superstitious and a bit too hokey even for us as gaudy and anachronistic as we tend to be Wink

Quote
If not, what do we make of divine inspiration?
See SYNERGY

Quote
I am not talking about wild, unbridled individualism which ignores the core of Nicene, Chalcydonian Christianity and strikes out in imagined and isolated self-sufficiency, of some personal 'sola scriptura' which discards what all others have thought before; I am thinking of mainstream Christians who, in mutual acceptance, seriously and sincerely consider these and other issues and come to a clutch of beliefs which, no doubt as the years pass, will evolve and change whilst still remaining within the mainstream.
There is no way to affirm the Creed or to read the Scriptures accurately and in the same breath completely and utterly defy and disrespect the Apostolic authority and continuity of the Holy Spirit which gave life to these in the first place.  Outside of the Church, the raw Tradition (which in the Orthodox ontology equally includes the Scriptures as synonymous) is confusing and empty.

Quote
Surely you Orthodox must have such questions in your minds. How do you deal with them, both individually and one with another?

Yes, of course we do, after all, we have thousands of years of thinking to sort out, however we also have been taught by the Fathers unique observation of the human condition that we are fractured, broken.  Our minds are not exactly reliable, neither are our feelings and emotions.  Rather, we must follow the spirit of worship and developing a spiritual relationship with God through the core and depth of our being.  It is God first, questions second.  Then when we have specific questions we have an age old adage that is as valuable is it is campy and cliched, "Ask your priest." Wink



stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 09:23:02 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

"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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