I don't have a problem with people believing the new liberal view, as innovative and unsubstantiated as it is. It's a valid opinion. I do have a problem with these people trying to set up their innovation as THE view to the exclusion of traditional ecclesiology - extra ecclesiam nulla salus, and feebly dismissing it as "absurd" and "from a different context."
That's fair. I guess I'm just unsure where your conception of the traditional ecclesiology is coming from. Do you really think someone like St Cyprian's writings can be applied to the current situation?
What I dismissed as absurd wasn't so much the view you're describing in and of itself -- I think it's absurd for anybody to make definitive statements about which professing "Christians" are "outside salvation," particularly when the vast majority of Orthodox tradition and its current leadership have insisted on willful agnosticism on the issue. I apologize for not communicating clearly enough, (and for being too harsh about it).
I think that St. Cyprian's maxim is true. I don't really understand what you mean by whether it can be "applied" to the situation at hand. I don't really see a difference between Protestants who deny the heart of the Christian faith - the sacraments - and groups from antiquity, besides that some Protestants are "born into it" (which was also true of some ancient heresies). Salvation is found only in the church, and Protestants are outside the church. The idea of being a Christian or being saved outside of the visible Orthodox Church would have been novel to the fathers. We call them "Christians" by convention and economy, not out of theological precision.
I can't agree that "the vast majority of Orthodox tradition and its current leadership have insisted on willful agnosticism on the issue." The majority of tradition that I've come across is definitely stricter than you would like to believer on who can be saved. I'm only really aware of St. Theophan saying otherwise. As for the opinion of bishops, what they teach has to be validated against tradition, not the other way around. And I don't know if the majority believe as you say they do, or if it's just the opinion of vocal figures like Metr. Ware.
This has been my understanding as well.
I agree. I'm actually, as a Protestant, quite happy that this is taken seriously. Roman Catholics don't seem to care, they just say 'we are all Christians' and ignore the differences, and their own Magisterium's theology. This has been my experience anyway.
I'm not entirely surprised that that has been your experience, but I'd like to assure you that not all Roman Catholics are like that.
Has not been my experience at all. For my Catholic friends, either Roman or Byzantine, the differences between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are real and important. Though, I suspect that we have a shorter list of what constitutes a real difference than do the Eastern Orthodox.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.