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Author Topic: Will ALL Christians ever become one? Thought?  (Read 4486 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« Reply #45 on: March 14, 2013, 05:10:45 PM »

That being said, how could those outside of the Church possibly be seen as "Christians"? As far as we can tell, they are not.
So, according to the Eastern Orthodox teaching,  the Oriental Orthodox are not Christians? 

I don't know enough about the situation between us and them to answer.
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« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2013, 05:16:38 PM »

Did the Fathers have an equally clear consensus understanding of what that means?

From the ones I've read, with the guidance of my Priest, it seems so.

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How can followers of Christ outside the Church NOT be seen as Christian in any way?

Because they aren't following the real Christ, but the Christ of heresy--their own idol of what they believe Christ is like. We worship the Christ that the teachings of the Orthodox Church bear witness to. You reject those teachings, then you reject our Christ, and thus, reject the true Christ.

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Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?

No, even worse. We treat them as someone who has a flawed view of Christ, and thus, even more work must be done for their salvation because we now have to heal their distorted views of Christ. A non-Christian is probably better, since they are a blank-slate when it comes to perceptions of Christ in most cases.

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As far as we can tell, they are.

I prefer pessimism to optimism.

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How are you able to presume that?

The Holy Spirit produces unity and adherence to the Church--1 Corinthians 1:10. Just as St. Paul submitted to the Church when he converted, opposed to forming his own Church and predicting the rapture on a billboard like many Protestants with no sense of direction do.
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« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2013, 05:41:03 PM »

Did the Fathers have an equally clear consensus understanding of what that means?

From the ones I've read, with the guidance of my Priest, it seems so.
Which Fathers have you read? BTW, I really don't care how your priest tells you to read these Fathers, for your priest could be wrong.

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How can followers of Christ outside the Church NOT be seen as Christian in any way?

Because they aren't following the real Christ, but the Christ of heresy--their own idol of what they believe Christ is like. We worship the Christ that the teachings of the Orthodox Church bear witness to. You reject those teachings, then you reject our Christ, and thus, reject the true Christ.
But only those who know what we teach and consciously reject our teachings can be said to reject Christ. Those who have never heard of the Orthodox Church and follow Christ as best they know Him cannot be said to reject Him at all.

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Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?

No, even worse. We treat them as someone who has a flawed view of Christ, and thus, even more work must be done for their salvation because we now have to heal their distorted views of Christ.
You can treat them any way you want, but I'm not going to join you, nor do I think many Orthodox will join you. So please don't presume to speak for all of us.

A non-Christian is probably better, since they are a blank-slate when it comes to perceptions of Christ in most cases.
So you believe that the Gospel of Christ has no power when it's not received and taught in its fullness, without any additional junk? What do you think of the Samaritan woman who was willing to eat of the crumbs that fell off the Master's table? Is it not better to receive even the crumbs of truth then to receive nothing at all?

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As far as we can tell, they are.

I prefer pessimism to optimism.
That's your loss.

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How are you able to presume that?

The Holy Spirit produces unity and adherence to the Church--1 Corinthians 1:10. Just as St. Paul submitted to the Church when he converted, opposed to forming his own Church and predicting the rapture on a billboard like many Protestants with no sense of direction do.
Can you blame the Protestants for starting their own churches, though? They've never even known that they've never had the fullness of the Gospel. Give them credit for being faithful to what little of the Gospel they've received, and I pray that God will do the same. You and I, however, have been given so much more. So what are we doing with what we've been given?
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« Reply #48 on: March 15, 2013, 04:02:55 AM »

Yes, eventually. If not in this life then in the next. We are all spokes in the wheel of the Church, directed toward Christ, the Author and the Center of the universe. So it is inevitable that all true Christians will be one. In fact, we already are one, but we just don't realize it or always act like it.



Selam

No we aren't and never will be. To be one is actually heretical. I am surprised this thread has gone this long. We are persons and like the Persons of the Trinity we are not and never will be one. Persons are never one. Human beings can be. But never persons.

Sorry. But this is a pagan hope that needs to be jettisoned.

Persons can commune. And to the degree any being is a person they are in communion with another person.

Communion isn't union although you can't with spell the former without the latter.


"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. [St. John 17:22-23]

Of course Jesus probably wasn't as philologically advanced as you are.  Wink



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« Reply #49 on: March 15, 2013, 06:35:59 AM »

Assuming that there are "other" Christians...All Christians already are one.
It's difficult for me to believe that all Christians already are one as you say. Suppose for example, that a Roman Catholic was in an Orthodox country such as Russia and he was hit by a car and he was dying. Would an Orthodox priest hear his confession and give him Sacramental absolution and the last rites, or would he let him drop dead without the benefit of the Last Sacraments? If Christians were already one, as you claim, wouldn't the Orthodox priest administer the last rites to the dying non-Orthodox Christian man?

The problem is that you are asserting that the Roman Catholic is already a "Christian"--when in reality, the Fathers are very clear that there is no salvation outside of the Church.
Did the Fathers have an equally clear consensus understanding of what that means?

That being said, how could those outside of the Church possibly be seen as "Christians"?
How can followers of Christ outside the Church NOT be seen as Christian in any way? Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?

As far as we can tell, they are not.
As far as we can tell, they are.

If they were, then they would submit to the Church--provided it was available to them.
How are you able to presume that?

And administering the Sacraments to them when they do not belong to the Church would be to their condemnation, not to their salvation.
This may be true.

Now, if that Roman Catholic wanted to convert last minute on his deathbed, then that's different. But ask yourself, why would a devout Roman Catholic want the Orthodox Sacraments if he weren't willing to convert?

Mormons and jeovah witnesses also talk about Christ in their assemblies and they are not christians.
You do realize that that has nothing to do with what I just said?

Do you realize it has everything to do with your comment "Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?" i was responding to?
I know you're responding to my comment, but based on what I mean to communicate, your response has nothing to do with what I just said. Must we treat the non-Orthodox as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies simply because they're not Orthodox?

And your question also applies to Mormons or JW, so my comment has everything to do with it.
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« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2013, 11:33:34 AM »

Assuming that there are "other" Christians...All Christians already are one.
It's difficult for me to believe that all Christians already are one as you say. Suppose for example, that a Roman Catholic was in an Orthodox country such as Russia and he was hit by a car and he was dying. Would an Orthodox priest hear his confession and give him Sacramental absolution and the last rites, or would he let him drop dead without the benefit of the Last Sacraments? If Christians were already one, as you claim, wouldn't the Orthodox priest administer the last rites to the dying non-Orthodox Christian man?

The problem is that you are asserting that the Roman Catholic is already a "Christian"--when in reality, the Fathers are very clear that there is no salvation outside of the Church.
Did the Fathers have an equally clear consensus understanding of what that means?

That being said, how could those outside of the Church possibly be seen as "Christians"?
How can followers of Christ outside the Church NOT be seen as Christian in any way? Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?

As far as we can tell, they are not.
As far as we can tell, they are.

If they were, then they would submit to the Church--provided it was available to them.
How are you able to presume that?

And administering the Sacraments to them when they do not belong to the Church would be to their condemnation, not to their salvation.
This may be true.

Now, if that Roman Catholic wanted to convert last minute on his deathbed, then that's different. But ask yourself, why would a devout Roman Catholic want the Orthodox Sacraments if he weren't willing to convert?

Mormons and jeovah witnesses also talk about Christ in their assemblies and they are not christians.
You do realize that that has nothing to do with what I just said?

Do you realize it has everything to do with your comment "Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?" i was responding to?
I know you're responding to my comment, but based on what I mean to communicate, your response has nothing to do with what I just said. Must we treat the non-Orthodox as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies simply because they're not Orthodox?

And your question also applies to Mormons or JW, so my comment has everything to do with it.
Please try to understand what I'm trying to communicate and not what you wish my words to mean.

Let's look at my arguments this way: Must we act as if Orthodox Christianity is the only place where the name of Christ is proclaimed at all?
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« Reply #51 on: March 23, 2013, 02:09:00 AM »

As a proud Orthodox Christian, and a firm believer that what I believe in, and how, is the truest way, I'm saddened that we as Christians are divided. I respect every Christian as they are, but I can't help be really feeling a sense of disappointment when, though we believe in the core aspect of the religion (Christ/God, Theotokos, and Holy Spirit,) why must we have different ways of believing the same concept? Thoughts?
Getting back to the original question, will all Christians become one? I don't see it happening for all Christians. Episcopalians, for example, have women bishops and at least one same sex married bishop. So I don't see a union between EO and Episcopalians.  However, between OO and EO, I think it could occur. I am not so sure about EO and RC, as there are serious differences which would have to be resolved, such as the place of the papacy in a reunited Church. It is possible, but the RCC would have to re-evaluate its Vatican I teaching on the papacy and bring it in line to what was taught before 1054. And there is the question of the modern RC liturgy and whether these modern types of charismatic worship we have seen would be something that the Orthodox would accept. 
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« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2013, 12:42:38 AM »

Assuming that there are "other" Christians...All Christians already are one.
It's difficult for me to believe that all Christians already are one as you say. Suppose for example, that a Roman Catholic was in an Orthodox country such as Russia and he was hit by a car and he was dying. Would an Orthodox priest hear his confession and give him Sacramental absolution and the last rites, or would he let him drop dead without the benefit of the Last Sacraments? If Christians were already one, as you claim, wouldn't the Orthodox priest administer the last rites to the dying non-Orthodox Christian man?

The problem is that you are asserting that the Roman Catholic is already a "Christian"--when in reality, the Fathers are very clear that there is no salvation outside of the Church.
Did the Fathers have an equally clear consensus understanding of what that means?

That being said, how could those outside of the Church possibly be seen as "Christians"?
How can followers of Christ outside the Church NOT be seen as Christian in any way? Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?

As far as we can tell, they are not.
As far as we can tell, they are.

If they were, then they would submit to the Church--provided it was available to them.
How are you able to presume that?

And administering the Sacraments to them when they do not belong to the Church would be to their condemnation, not to their salvation.
This may be true.

Now, if that Roman Catholic wanted to convert last minute on his deathbed, then that's different. But ask yourself, why would a devout Roman Catholic want the Orthodox Sacraments if he weren't willing to convert?

Mormons and jeovah witnesses also talk about Christ in their assemblies and they are not christians.
You do realize that that has nothing to do with what I just said?

Do you realize it has everything to do with your comment "Must we treat them as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies?" i was responding to?
I know you're responding to my comment, but based on what I mean to communicate, your response has nothing to do with what I just said. Must we treat the non-Orthodox as though the name of Christ had never been professed at all in their assemblies simply because they're not Orthodox?

And your question also applies to Mormons or JW, so my comment has everything to do with it.
Please try to understand what I'm trying to communicate and not what you wish my words to mean.

Let's look at my arguments this way: Must we act as if Orthodox Christianity is the only place where the name of Christ is proclaimed at all?

Yes, because it is the truth. The Christ in the Mormon church, the Protestant churches, the Papist church, the various churches condemned in the councils is not the same Christ as the Orthodox Church.

Or else, perhaps the nicene creed is outdated when it proclaims "I believe in the ONE holy catholic and apostolic Church"
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« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2013, 12:44:41 AM »

And for the OP, assuming christian means all who claim to be christian, then no.

There is no chance not a single chance any church which has female bishops and priests will ever theoritically join the orthodox church. So that is quite a few churches already impossible to be in union with. No point in going much further explaining every single one...
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« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2013, 07:41:02 PM »

As a proud Orthodox Christian, and a firm believer that what I believe in, and how, is the truest way, I'm saddened that we as Christians are divided. I respect every Christian as they are, but I can't help be really feeling a sense of disappointment when, though we believe in the core aspect of the religion (Christ/God, Theotokos, and Holy Spirit,) why must we have different ways of believing the same concept? Thoughts?

Christians have never been one, since New Testament times, so...

Many Christians take the approach that they long for unity, but are realistic and don't want a watering-down/unionist/ecumaniac kind of unity. Which I think is the right approach.

But, having said that, it occurs to me that there can be times when they (or should I say we) can get a little overly dramatic or melodramatic about the "longing".

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« Reply #55 on: June 26, 2013, 03:15:38 AM »

No.

Churchy folks and the general public in the '60s were wrong about that. Catholics had Vatican II (ew) and the world thought the church was getting with the unity program. The Pope and Constantinople symbolically lifted excommunications, which didn't mean anything since they applied to individuals who were long dead, and Catholics thought the Orthodox were coming in, and hardline Orthodox freaked and joined the Old Calendarists or ROCOR. The Pope gave the Archbishop of Canterbury his ring, and two very different groups, libcaths and Anglo-Catholics, swooned for different reasons: libcaths thought they were becoming Anglicans and A-Cs thought they were becoming Catholics. Then the Anglicans ordained women and that was that; the dumb churchies nattered on at ARCIC, though. The American mainline Protestants were cuckoo for COCU. The English Anglicans and Methodists almost got back together. And mainline Prots and Catholics started acting like Pentecostals.

Ah, well.

We've gone as far as we can with ecumenism. Each side knows what the other teaches and is no longer trying to kill the other.

Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy, OO, and Assyrian (Nestorian): the nature and scope of the papacy; otherwise the same religion.

All of us vs. Protestantism, left and right: different principle of the church and its authority, infallible one true church vs. private judgement.
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« Reply #56 on: June 27, 2013, 05:58:54 PM »

and Catholics thought the Orthodox were coming in, and hardline Orthodox freaked and joined the Old Calendarists or ROCOR.

Indeed. It seems like every time the pope or the head of the PCPCU (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) renounces uniatism, a bunch of Catholics (and hardline Orthodox) hear exactly the opposite.

We've gone as far as we can with ecumenism.

Yes sir! We've gone about as far as we can go.


Edit: Actually I'm not convinced that we have; I got a little caught up in the moment.
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« Reply #57 on: July 10, 2013, 04:42:13 PM »

No.

Churchy folks and the general public in the '60s were wrong about that. Catholics had Vatican II (ew) and the world thought the church was getting with the unity program. The Pope and Constantinople symbolically lifted excommunications, which didn't mean anything since they applied to individuals who were long dead, and Catholics thought the Orthodox were coming in, and hardline Orthodox freaked and joined the Old Calendarists or ROCOR. The Pope gave the Archbishop of Canterbury his ring, and two very different groups, libcaths and Anglo-Catholics, swooned for different reasons: libcaths thought they were becoming Anglicans and A-Cs thought they were becoming Catholics. Then the Anglicans ordained women and that was that; the dumb churchies nattered on at ARCIC, though. The American mainline Protestants were cuckoo for COCU. The English Anglicans and Methodists almost got back together. And mainline Prots and Catholics started acting like Pentecostals.

Ah, well.

We've gone as far as we can with ecumenism. Each side knows what the other teaches and is no longer trying to kill the other.

Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy, OO, and Assyrian (Nestorian): the nature and scope of the papacy; otherwise the same religion.

All of us vs. Protestantism, left and right: different principle of the church and its authority, infallible one true church vs. private judgement.
You forgot who the Spirit proceeds from...that seems to be the other biggie not making us the same religion (least according to Orthodox folks).
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« Reply #58 on: July 10, 2013, 07:11:21 PM »

Saint Paul, 2 Corinthians ll, 1-4

Too many come and preach a different Christ, Gospel or Spirit. Some try to combine the politics, ideologies and social mores of this world with their take on Christianity. Forgetting that the ways of this world are not the ways of Christianity. As each year passes despite the bankrupt efforts of ecumenists, ecclesiastical politicians and those who confuse the arts of worldly diplomacy with the humble embrace of Christ's teaching and the example of those Fathers who have gone before us the gap between Christian Orthodoxy and those in error grows.

Only today I saw a building called the the House of Praise of the 'Redeemed' Church of God? How can this be when Christ Himself promised the Church would always stand. Surely heresy, false teaching and a falling away from that straight path are as evident today as in any time gone by.
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« Reply #59 on: October 28, 2013, 08:14:29 PM »

To say that everyone outside of visible communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church has no part in Christianity or salvation is just absurd.

We ought to be wary of condemning those (e.g. Roman Catholics) who Patriarch Bartholomew himself has called "beloved brothers in Christ."

Or, if you prefer, we can follow Met. Kallistos Ware in saying “We know who is in the Church but we cannot be sure who will not be," being quick to "affirm that heterodox believers have a deep and genuine faith in Christ and that God will have mercy upon them."

Or we can follow St Augustine in recognizing that "Many sheep are without, and wolves are within."

Or St Theophan the Recluse: "You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."

Or we can follow the OCA's official website's answer (written by my priest): "It is the common teaching of the Orthodox Christian tradition that the Church has no monopoly on grace and truth and love. The Church teaches on the contrary that God is the Sovereign Lord who saves those whom He wills. The Church believes as well that salvation depends upon the actual life of the person, and God alone is capable of judging since He alone knows the secrets of each mind and heart. Only God is capable of judging how well a man lives according to the measure of grace, faith, understanding, and strength given to him."

When the early Fathers (e.g. St Cyprian) taught that there was "no salvation outside the Church," they simply were speaking in a different context than we are. What being "outside the Church" in the 3rd century meant was worlds away from the sorts of denominational splits we're faced with.
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« Reply #60 on: October 28, 2013, 08:24:08 PM »

Yeah, but that doesn't mean 'we all become one'.

Jehovah's Witnesses are 'Christians' should the Orthodox Church start Ecumenical dialogue with them?

BTW, I talked to a JW about this very thing, so it's not just out of the blue. We should be equally wary about who we claim 'is a Christian', just as we should be wary about condemning those who 'are' Christians.
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« Reply #61 on: October 28, 2013, 08:30:38 PM »

In answer to the OP, it's not likely in this life. Unless, of course, there is severe persecution that forces people to reevaluate their positions.
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« Reply #62 on: October 28, 2013, 08:58:46 PM »

In answer to the OP, it's not likely in this life. Unless, of course, there is severe persecution that forces people to reevaluate their positions.

Let's get one thing straight, Papist: Only God protects Christians; nobody else.

I've read and heard that over and over from my former co-religionists in the RCC (and others), and it's really disgusting: "Some severe persecution will have to happen before blahblahblah". Severe persecution? You mean like what's happening in Egypt right now? Or in Syria? Or in Libya (yes, they're killing Copts, too)? Or pretty much anywhere in the world, without distinction between Catholic and Orthodox? This way of thinking sickens me. 
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« Reply #63 on: October 28, 2013, 09:16:17 PM »

In answer to the OP, it's not likely in this life. Unless, of course, there is severe persecution that forces people to reevaluate their positions.

Let's get one thing straight, Papist: Only God protects Christians; nobody else.

I've read and heard that over and over from my former co-religionists in the RCC (and others), and it's really disgusting: "Some severe persecution will have to happen before blahblahblah". Severe persecution? You mean like what's happening in Egypt right now? Or in Syria? Or in Libya (yes, they're killing Copts, too)? Or pretty much anywhere in the world, without distinction between Catholic and Orthodox? This way of thinking sickens me. 

Again, to the neech, more Chrstians bragging about the blood of others.

You know what Papist and your co-religionsts mean. No need to cause convertresy where it is not warranted.
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« Reply #64 on: October 28, 2013, 09:31:30 PM »

To say that everyone outside of visible communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church has no part in Christianity or salvation is just absurd.

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."
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« Reply #65 on: October 28, 2013, 10:04:32 PM »

In answer to the OP, it's not likely in this life. Unless, of course, there is severe persecution that forces people to reevaluate their positions.

Let's get one thing straight, Papist: Only God protects Christians; nobody else.
Let's get one thing straight, I never denied that.
I've read and heard that over and over from my former co-religionists in the RCC (and others), and it's really disgusting: "Some severe persecution will have to happen before blahblahblah". Severe persecution? You mean like what's happening in Egypt right now? Or in Syria? Or in Libya (yes, they're killing Copts, too)? Or pretty much anywhere in the world, without distinction between Catholic and Orthodox? This way of thinking sickens me.  
I was not denying that persecution does not go on in the world. Interestingly, its the middle east where intercommunion occurs more frequently between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. NOt saying that it's not breaking the rules. Just saying that persecuation tends to breed more fraternal relations between Christians.
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« Reply #66 on: October 28, 2013, 10:08:52 PM »

*fraternal

Of course that's implying that violating millenia old traditions concerning communion is a way to show true brotherly love for someone. But I digress.
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« Reply #67 on: October 28, 2013, 10:15:07 PM »

*fraternal

Thanks , I fixed it.
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« Reply #68 on: October 28, 2013, 10:53:47 PM »

I was not denying that persecution does not go on in the world. Interestingly, its the middle east where intercommunion occurs more frequently between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

Indeed. I remember when Mar Bawai Soro's group joined the RCC a few years ago from the ACoE, while many of my Latin friends were celebrating, the few Assyrians I know were saying that it was not a good thing, precisely because it signaled how near death their church is in its homeland (and, they said, those who had come under Rome had essentially bought into the lie of the powerful Christian West that would afford them better protection; I'm sure the bombing of Siadat an-Najat SCC in Baghdad has dispelled that notion, if it was ever widespread...Lord have mercy). Hence why I react as I do to the suggestion on the part of those under Rome that intense persecution should/would cause a reevaluation of our positions. I don't think anyone should be reevaluating anything on the basis that barbarians are slaughtering both Catholics and Orthodox alike. Pastoral agreements don't establish anything beyond the circumstances which make them necessary, which are uniformly awful (whether it's people marrying outside of the communion, as in Alexandria, or there not being enough churches for a given community, as in the USA). As usual, Orthonoxious has missed the point entirely, but just so we're clear, the point is that nobody should be saying such things, since we are separated for solid doctrinal reasons that remain solid regardless of how many of whatever church are murdered. Rome is wrong even if every other church in the world were to be wiped out...I assume, as a faithful Roman Catholic, you would say the same about Rome's positions not needing to be "reevaluated" due to any persecution that its members may face.
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« Reply #69 on: October 28, 2013, 10:56:04 PM »

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).


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« Reply #70 on: October 28, 2013, 11:02:20 PM »

Yeah, but that doesn't mean 'we all become one'.

Jehovah's Witnesses are 'Christians' should the Orthodox Church start Ecumenical dialogue with them?

BTW, I talked to a JW about this very thing, so it's not just out of the blue. We should be equally wary about who we claim 'is a Christian', just as we should be wary about condemning those who 'are' Christians.

With respect to Jehovah's Witnesses, I'd echo Patriarch Bartholomew's words: "Orthodoxy must be in constant dialogue with the world. The Orthodox Church does not fear dialogue because truth is not afraid of dialogue. On the contrary, if Orthodoxy is enclosed within itself and not in dialogue with those outside, it will both fail in its mission and no longer be the “catholic” and “ecumenical” Church. Instead, it will become an introverted and self-contained group, a “ghetto” on the margins of history. This is why the great Fathers of the Church never feared dialogue with the spiritual culture of their age – indeed even with the pagan idolaters and philosophers of their world – thereby influencing and transforming the civilization of their time and offering us a truly ecumenical Church."

So, in short, I'd say yes -- Orthodoxy should engage in some form of dialogue with Jehovah's Witnesses (though I think calling it "Ecumenical" is probably misleading).

The situation with most Protestant churches, and especially with the Roman Catholic church, is fundamentally different. The Jehovah's Witnesses could not honestly affirm the "rule of faith" Christianity professes. Any remotely orthodox Protestant or Catholic could recite the Nicene Creed with all sincerity. Protestants and Catholics worship the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ, scripture, and (in at least the Catholic case), apostolic tradition. Jehovah's Witnesses cannot claim any of these things as true.

Dialogue with Roman Catholics should look a bit different than dialogue with Protestants; dialogue with Protestants should differ from dialogue with Jehovah's Witnesses. This certainly doesn't nullify the value of dialogue and evangelism -- it just demands prayerful and humble discernment on how to reach different groups.

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« Reply #71 on: October 29, 2013, 07:29:13 AM »

Indeed. I remember when Mar Bawai Soro's group joined the RCC a few years ago from the ACoE, while many of my Latin friends were celebrating,
...

Let me put it this way: Of course we were going to let them into our communion, if they really wanted to switch, but I was disgusted by many of my fellow Catholics taking a victory lap over it.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #72 on: October 29, 2013, 07:34:32 AM »

I was not denying that persecution does not go on in the world. Interestingly, its the middle east where intercommunion occurs more frequently between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. NOt saying that it's not breaking the rules. Just saying that persecuation tends to breed more fraternal relations between Christians.

Many of us believe that intercommunion can be acceptable in circumstances of necessity -- not just in cases of persecution, but also in some non-persecution circumstances in which a minister of one's own communion is not available. But, having said that, I also think that there's a legitimate concern that some (if not liberal Catholics, than perhaps liberal Lutherans or Anglicans) will use such circumstances to wedge the door open, so to speak.
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« Reply #73 on: October 29, 2013, 08:42:21 AM »

The goal of every Christian in the (Orthodox) Christian Church is to bring those who have a sense of Christ and His Sacraments but do not fully participate in them to the Truth that exists in the (Orthodox) Christian Church.

I was surprised by this statement.  How long has this been the goal of the Orthodox?  What are the best statements from revered Orthodox leaders on this topic?  Are rank-and-file Orthodox encouraged to live a certain way in relation to this goal?
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« Reply #74 on: October 29, 2013, 10:56:03 AM »

The goal of every Christian in the (Orthodox) Christian Church is to bring those who have a sense of Christ and His Sacraments but do not fully participate in them to the Truth that exists in the (Orthodox) Christian Church.

I was surprised by this statement.  How long has this been the goal of the Orthodox?  What are the best statements from revered Orthodox leaders on this topic?  Are rank-and-file Orthodox encouraged to live a certain way in relation to this goal?

I'm a little surprised that you're surprised ... perhaps you're reading it in a way that he didn't intend it.
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« Reply #75 on: October 29, 2013, 01:00:46 PM »

I was not denying that persecution does not go on in the world. Interestingly, its the middle east where intercommunion occurs more frequently between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

Indeed. I remember when Mar Bawai Soro's group joined the RCC a few years ago from the ACoE, while many of my Latin friends were celebrating, the few Assyrians I know were saying that it was not a good thing, precisely because it signaled how near death their church is in its homeland (and, they said, those who had come under Rome had essentially bought into the lie of the powerful Christian West that would afford them better protection; I'm sure the bombing of Siadat an-Najat SCC in Baghdad has dispelled that notion, if it was ever widespread...Lord have mercy). Hence why I react as I do to the suggestion on the part of those under Rome that intense persecution should/would cause a reevaluation of our positions. I don't think anyone should be reevaluating anything on the basis that barbarians are slaughtering both Catholics and Orthodox alike. Pastoral agreements don't establish anything beyond the circumstances which make them necessary, which are uniformly awful (whether it's people marrying outside of the communion, as in Alexandria, or there not being enough churches for a given community, as in the USA). As usual, Orthonoxious has missed the point entirely, but just so we're clear, the point is that nobody should be saying such things, since we are separated for solid doctrinal reasons that remain solid regardless of how many of whatever church are murdered. Rome is wrong even if every other church in the world were to be wiped out...I assume, as a faithful Roman Catholic, you would say the same about Rome's positions not needing to be "reevaluated" due to any persecution that its members may face.
Whoa, calm down. I'm not saying that intercommunion is necessarily what should be happening. What I am saying is that persecutations tend to instill greater feelings of fraternity among Christians. And of course, as a Byzantine Catholic I believe that Rome's ecclesiology is correct.
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« Reply #76 on: October 29, 2013, 01:15:59 PM »

The goal of every Christian in the (Orthodox) Christian Church is to bring those who have a sense of Christ and His Sacraments but do not fully participate in them to the Truth that exists in the (Orthodox) Christian Church.

I was surprised by this statement.  How long has this been the goal of the Orthodox?  What are the best statements from revered Orthodox leaders on this topic?  Are rank-and-file Orthodox encouraged to live a certain way in relation to this goal?

I'm a little surprised that you're surprised ... perhaps you're reading it in a way that he didn't intend it.

Probably not.  I read it to be that Orthodox Christians have it as a goal to "bring" those heterodox who "have a sense" into Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #77 on: October 29, 2013, 01:58:25 PM »

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.
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« Reply #78 on: October 29, 2013, 03:08:42 PM »

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.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #79 on: October 29, 2013, 04:24:13 PM »

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.

In Christ,
Andrew

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.

However, I don't think that St. Cyprian's view should be taken to the extreme though. I see it more as a general statement than a dogmatic fact.
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« Reply #80 on: October 29, 2013, 04:38:27 PM »


As much as I hope and pray that we would....I fear that the truthful answer would be "no".

Even those "Christians" of the same Faith, same jurisdiction, in the same parish, are not even "one"....as when their Faith is brought in the real light it fades away, because they do not hold fast, nor even believe the major teachings of the Church.

Granted, none of follow "all" the rules, and sin daily.  Perhaps we do not fast, or pray as we should.  Perhaps we are judgmental, angry or addicted.

However, we must at least admit that these are sins.  How many will not do that?  How many will instead argue that it is nonsense to call this or that a sin, and the Church is outdated, and you are a fanatic for believing and upholding the supposed, misinterpreted teachings of the Church.

It breaks my heart.
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« Reply #81 on: October 29, 2013, 04:40:57 PM »

So, in short, I'd say yes -- Orthodoxy should engage in some form of dialogue with Jehovah's Witnesses (though I think calling it "Ecumenical" is probably misleading).

I try, but they'd rather leave their tracts and not come back. 
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« Reply #82 on: October 29, 2013, 04:54:16 PM »

I'd be fine if the "Apostolic" Churches became one. That's much more realistic than saying 'all' Christians; although still hopelessly unlikely.
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« Reply #83 on: October 29, 2013, 05:58:17 PM »

Right before Vigil on Saturdays, all Orthodox should bang on Jehovah's Witnesses doors; ideally, they will be having dinner.  Then hand them the Watchtower magazines they gave you that morning to confuse them.  Tell them, "These are lies.  If you want Truth, follow me."  Then head to Vigil.
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« Reply #84 on: October 29, 2013, 06:02:42 PM »

^ And write the address of the Vigil on the magazine. Smiley
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« Reply #85 on: October 29, 2013, 06:16:58 PM »

Right before Vigil on Saturdays, all Orthodox should bang on Jehovah's Witnesses doors; ideally, they will be having dinner.  Then hand them the Watchtower magazines they gave you that morning to confuse them.  Tell them, "These are lies.  If you want Truth, follow me."  Then head to Vigil.
If nothing else, it would be a lot of fun.
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« Reply #86 on: October 29, 2013, 07:12:08 PM »

^ And write the address of the Vigil on the magazine. Smiley

Of course!  I would enjoy the bewildered look on their faces; but I would realyl enjoy the coming with me if they wanted to know. Smiley
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« Reply #87 on: October 29, 2013, 08:35:39 PM »

Right before Vigil on Saturdays, all Orthodox should bang on Jehovah's Witnesses doors; ideally, they will be having dinner.  Then hand them the Watchtower magazines they gave you that morning to confuse them.  Tell them, "These are lies.  If you want Truth, follow me."  Then head to Vigil.

Better than bringing them to Vigil would be bringing the Vigil to them (cf. St John of San Francisco). 
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« Reply #88 on: October 29, 2013, 09:09:19 PM »

Right before Vigil on Saturdays, all Orthodox should bang on Jehovah's Witnesses doors; ideally, they will be having dinner.  Then hand them the Watchtower magazines they gave you that morning to confuse them.  Tell them, "These are lies.  If you want Truth, follow me."  Then head to Vigil.

Better than bringing them to Vigil would be bringing the Vigil to them (cf. St John of San Francisco). 

It's no fair just alluding to the story. Tell it in full. Smiley
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« Reply #89 on: October 30, 2013, 05:17:42 AM »

Only if God directly wills it happen. As it stands now, no one will compromise and hence there will be no union.
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