That sort of logic sounds very self-serving and after-the-fact. You are basicly saying that if you don't believe the Orthodox are the exclusive vehicle of salvation, you are a gnostic. I'm not sure that follows.
Can you give me some references to sources that convinced you that ecclessiology followed from christology?
Wow, you messed up the quote tag for that one
I clicked reply after reading the response, understanding exactly what you meant to quote, only to get in the post window and think "I didn't say that, he did...."
It's kind of hard to give references to sources, given how omnivorous my reading was during this period, as well as the partying I was doing during the downtime I didn't spend researching church history- I took my play very seriously in those days, as the decimated remains of the Jameson and Skyy families can attest. Chesterton played a good deal into it, as did the various Church Fathers (by the time I made up my mind to seriously look into Orthodoxy I had read through the entirety of the Schaff Church Fathers series). Blog comments sections played a big part of it- Anglican blogs such as Rev. Kendall Harmon's t19- where many former Anglican Roman Catholic and Orthodox posters were able to get me thinking about my very branch theory version of ecclesiology.
I have been meeting with a group of Orthodox Christians from an OCA parish and we discuss theology matters for a few weeks. A priest that I know supervises the group and invited me to attend weeks ago. I am impressed with the group because the people are relatively open-minded and there were many people that were intellectually gifted there and also took their faith very seriously. At one of the groups, there were various questions raised about the subject of marriage and sexuality, and alot of disagreement on the subject. And at another group, church mission and Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Church" were discussed.
In my experience the average Episcopalian I've talked to isn't interested in that sort of thing- people just don't feel that those things are worth discussing and many don't have the intellectualism to approach these topics. At best, they are very picky about liturgy, but theology is not so important. Maybe this is an American phenomenon- I know in England there is more of an intellectual tradition attached to Anglicanism, and the former Archbishop of Canterburry, Rowan Williams, was an intellectual heavyweight.
This is almost an exclusively convert phenomenon. The ratio of intellectual cradle Orthodox is probably the same as intellectual cradle Episcopalians- which is not to knock the cradles of either denominations (more on this below). Now, when it comes to converts.... this is not a jab, but it seems that converts to the Episcopalian Church seem to be of two stripes: You have intellectual Evangelicals who have read a lot of C.S. Lewis (guilty) and are probably only passing through to Lutheranism, Catholicism, or Orthodoxy; and you have Evangelicals and Roman Catholics who, far from intellectually Christian, have joined the Episcopal Church to avoid having their spiritual conclusions questioned (the current PB is a prime example, if you will pardon the pun) or, for that matter to avoid having to make any spiritual conclusions at all.
Of course, this is an OCA parish, and a theology group, where alot of the people come from a Reformed Presbyterian background and are intellectual to start out with. In the future, I believe Christians will need to be more intellectually robust to be taken seriously- there will be alot of hostility to Christians in the future as the US secularizes, so it's something I'm thinking about. I'm not an intellectual lightweight myself, but I am wondering what is the point to be in a church denomination where that sort of thing just is not appreciated.
I don't think Christians need to be particularly intellectually robust- no more so than the rest of the world. To say otherwise would be truly gnostic- as if salvation or Christianity depended on knowledge! That said, for people who are already intellectually robust, it would indeed be a sin not to apply the intellect to Christianity- not for the sake of defending Christianity against the world, but to defend Christianity against oneself! The doctrines and dogmas need to be known and meditated upon (not understood- not even the most robust of intellects could ever hope to truly understand what happens at the Eucharist or in the Incarnation, or the Trinity). Were every Christian ever mere simple farmers who simply showed up at the parish, took Communion, and lived a Christian life, there would never have been need for councils. It is us intellectuals who created Arianism and the defense against Arianism, gnosticism and the defense, etc.