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Godspell
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« on: July 30, 2014, 07:54:33 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

Mathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

These provisions were obviously prompted at the arrogance of the Pharisees, but I wonder why they do not also apply to the modern day episcopate and priesthood. I'm not a sola scriptura person, nor do I read it literally, but the point that I get from this is Christ instructing His apostles to not act like the Pharisees.

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 08:06:25 PM »

Sigh...

I have yet to see one of these so-called concerned Protestants petition the makers of dictionaries to take the word 'father' out of them.  Roll Eyes

Nor do I hear them object to calling certain sports figures 'Big Daddy.'

What the hell am I supposed to call the man who's married to my mother? 'Male Parent'? 'Progenitor'? 'Hey, you'?

 Tongue
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 08:15:17 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

Mathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

These provisions were obviously prompted at the arrogance of the Pharisees, but I wonder why they do not also apply to the modern day episcopate and priesthood. I'm not a sola scriptura person, nor do I read it literally, but the point that I get from this is Christ instructing His apostles to not act like the Pharisees.

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.

The Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. If the Apostles were alive, would you object to their "being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist"?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 08:15:25 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2014, 08:21:02 PM »

Sigh...

I have yet to see one of these so-called concerned Protestants petition the makers of dictionaries to take the word 'father' out of them.  Roll Eyes

Nor do I hear them object to calling certain sports figures 'Big Daddy.'

What the hell am I supposed to call the man who's married to my mother? 'Male Parent'? 'Progenitor'? 'Hey, you'?

 Tongue
That's usually the response I hear, and also doctor means teacher, mister means master, etc.

The point I read is that the Apostles were suppose to be humble and not take such titles and instead direct glory to God. Like I said, I'm not a literalist, but even extracting the general message I do not see a biblical justification to call someone father in a spiritual sense, or for that matter some other titles of honor like "Your Eminence." I would personally use the style someone has out of respect and decor, but it seems contrary to Christ's words IMO.
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 08:25:55 PM »

St. Paul must then have been antiChrist when he called himself someone's spiritual father.
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2014, 08:28:08 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

Mathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

These provisions were obviously prompted at the arrogance of the Pharisees, but I wonder why they do not also apply to the modern day episcopate and priesthood. I'm not a sola scriptura person, nor do I read it literally, but the point that I get from this is Christ instructing His apostles to not act like the Pharisees.

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.

The Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. If the Apostles were alive, would you object to their "being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist"?
To be sure, I'm not an expert enough theologian to be qualified to answer that question. I do, however, know of Bishops who have themselves been excommunicated (the Bishop of Rome comes to mind) and presumably then, their sacraments being invalidated. My concern is mainly with the notion of so many people being essentially "damned" because their Bishop is deposed by a hierarch.
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2014, 08:30:19 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

Mathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

These provisions were obviously prompted at the arrogance of the Pharisees, but I wonder why they do not also apply to the modern day episcopate and priesthood. I'm not a sola scriptura person, nor do I read it literally, but the point that I get from this is Christ instructing His apostles to not act like the Pharisees.

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.

The Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. If the Apostles were alive, would you object to their "being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist"?
To be sure, I'm not an expert enough theologian to be qualified to answer that question. I do, however, know of Bishops who have themselves been excommunicated (the Bishop of Rome comes to mind) and presumably then, their sacraments being invalidated. My concern is mainly with the notion of so many people being essentially "damned" because their Bishop is deposed by a hierarch.

You clearly don't understand Orthodox soteriology, nobody is ever "essentially damned" unless Jesus Christ himself makes a judgment on it. One Orthodox tradition goes something like, a man once asked a Bishop, "Should we pray for the Devil?" and he responded "It probably won't help, but you can try." Give or take, I heard this story a while ago so the details are likely not accurate, but the essence of it's meaning remains.

Bishops were excommunicated, Judas Iscariot was excommunicated.
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2014, 08:41:55 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

Mathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

These provisions were obviously prompted at the arrogance of the Pharisees, but I wonder why they do not also apply to the modern day episcopate and priesthood. I'm not a sola scriptura person, nor do I read it literally, but the point that I get from this is Christ instructing His apostles to not act like the Pharisees.

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.

The Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. If the Apostles were alive, would you object to their "being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist"?
To be sure, I'm not an expert enough theologian to be qualified to answer that question. I do, however, know of Bishops who have themselves been excommunicated (the Bishop of Rome comes to mind) and presumably then, their sacraments being invalidated. My concern is mainly with the notion of so many people being essentially "damned" because their Bishop is deposed by a hierarch.

You clearly don't understand Orthodox soteriology, nobody is ever "essentially damned" unless Jesus Christ himself makes a judgment on it. One Orthodox tradition goes something like, a man once asked a Bishop, "Should we pray for the Devil?" and he responded "It probably won't help, but you can try." Give or take, I heard this story a while ago so the details are likely not accurate, but the essence of it's meaning remains.

Bishops were excommunicated, Judas Iscariot was excommunicated.
True. I suppose I might be skirting too close to Catholicism in my assessment. I've heard in the past of the Pope excommunicating entire nations for the actions of their King, which in Catholic theology means they would effectively be damned. I presume a Patriarch could do the same but that could be wrong.

I will be humble enough to admit that I could be wrong, but where my personal theology has taken me is to understand the Sacraments/Mysteries as being commissioned (or at least ratified) by God, and so it matters less about who is administering them and more about who is receiving them.

I also know of many clergy in the West using their orders to do corrupt things, especially simony, which causes me to question the institution as a whole.
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2014, 08:53:45 PM »

Godspell, please be patient with the forumers here. I sense you are honestly inquiring here. Many come and argue about such things just for a desire to argue. I hope that none of the prior posts have offended you.

It is important to view the context of this passage. At first glance, looking at that verse, it does certainly seem to mean that we should not call anyone father, teacher or master. Not only that, but the way these words can be translated, they encompass a far more broad meaning to include words like leader, instructor, director, boss, coach, etc. Clearly, Jesus did not have any specific animosity about these words in particular; they are mere descriptors of roles people have in life.  The context of the passage is one of Christ denouncing the pride and hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day who do not practice what they preach and hypocritically heap huge burdens on people. Christ goes so far as to denounce their proselytizing and their tithing; not because telling others about God or giving of our possessions to God is bad, far from it.  It is because it was done with impure motives.  Likewise, we are not to call or seek to be called such words out of pride.  A priest is not called father because he deserves to be called father, he is called father because we who do so humble ourselves by doing so and he accept the title not because he is entitled to it but because it is a reminder to him of the great responsibility Christ has given to him to lead the flock.  If a priest becomes arrogant and demands his "right" as a father or master, he has violated what Christ has taught in this passage.  As we see later in Scripture, Christ commands His Apostles to be teachers, to lead His sheep. His Apostles call themselves spiritual fathers to those who they are mentoring.  Surely those who wrote the Gospels would not be so presumptuous to intentionally violate a commandment of Christ, rather they understood the point Christ was trying to make.

This confusion raises its head in other places as well. For example, when Christ speak of prayer and how God will give us what we ask for, it is clear that God does not give us whatever we ask for, otherwise, you would have every Christian with a mansion and a Porsche in the driveway.  Of course, some Christians do attempt to interpret the Scripture in that manner and it leads to disappointment and disillusionment. The Gospel writers expect that along with their writings, the Church will provide the context for what they are writing.  The Scriptures are kind of the outline or cliff notes of the faith, it must be accompanied by the Tradition of the Church to explain and interpret that which can oftentimes be cryptic or brief.

I saw some of your more recent posts and felt compelled to add this.  Excommunication in the Orthodox tradition is not a punishment, per se.  It is a way of protecting someone so they can work through errors in their understanding of doctrine or in personal failings without bringing greater condemnation down upon themselves.  If someone is espousing heresy or brazenly engaging in sin without repentance, for them to partake of the Holy Mysteries brings greater condemnation upon them. Excommunication is put in place so they do not do greater damage to themselves than what their error has already done.  Does it feel like a punishment?  I'm sure that it does.  I imagine it would be greatly embarrassing and damaging to one's sense of self pride, but it is for their good.  It is like taking chemo when you have cancer.  No one wants to do it and it wrecks havoc with your system, but something drastic must be done to save the patient.
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2014, 09:04:36 PM »

Godspell,

This topic has been discussed before on OC.net which may explain why some are getting exasperated having to explain it...again.  You can do a search to find other discussion threads. 

This may also be of help to you. This is from the Antiochian website which, I believe, was also made this into a pamphlet. 

The Orthodox Christian Church has since the time of Christ nurtured and raised up a way of understanding the world, of understanding ourselves, and understanding our walk with God that is a unique treasure often unheard, unheralded and unshared. Our's is a living faith, a living Tradition of how to follow Christ. Let's consider an easily-overlooked passage from St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians. It is a crucial reference point in one small tradition of the Church, a tradition with large implications.

The passage, 1 Corinthians 4:14-16, reads: "I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me." The tradition reflected in this passage is one we still practice today - our tradition of calling our deacons and priests "father", and of referring to our Orthodox Christian spiritual elders through the century as "the Fathers of the Church."

Let's think about what we can learn from this tradition of calling our clergy and spiritual elders "Father". The traditional title "Father" points us towards the truth that our faith, like our God, is a living creation and not a mere collection of ancient rituals. We are part of God's living, growing family - and our spiritual elders are called to a special role in that family. And this family's greatest task is to safeguard God's Holy Tradition...

This controversy springs from the way some Christians have interpreted Our Lord's words in Matthew 23:9, "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven." It's important to remember that the apostle Paul seems to not believe this was Christ's intent. In addition to the Epistle passage above, there are several other passages from Scripture in which Paul refers to the idea of spiritual fatherhood. In fact, even one of the earliest leaders of the Protestant Reformation - John Calvin himself - believed that Paul was correct to refer to himself as "father". Calvin wrote, "While Paul claims for himself the appellation of father, he does it in such a manner as not to take away or diminish the smallest portion of the honor which is due to God. ... God alone is the Father of all in faith ... But they whom he is graciously pleased to employ as his ministers for that purpose, are likewise allowed to share with him in his honor, while, at the same time, He parts with nothing that belongs to himself."
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 09:13:28 PM »

Godspell, please be patient with the forumers here. I sense you are honestly inquiring here. Many come and argue about such things just for a desire to argue. I hope that none of the prior posts have offended you.

It is important to view the context of this passage. At first glance, looking at that verse, it does certainly seem to mean that we should not call anyone father, teacher or master. Not only that, but the way these words can be translated, they encompass a far more broad meaning to include words like leader, instructor, director, boss, coach, etc. Clearly, Jesus did not have any specific animosity about these words in particular; they are mere descriptors of roles people have in life.  The context of the passage is one of Christ denouncing the pride and hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day who do not practice what they preach and hypocritically heap huge burdens on people. Christ goes so far as to denounce their proselytizing and their tithing; not because telling others about God or giving of our possessions to God is bad, far from it.  It is because it was done with impure motives.  Likewise, we are not to call or seek to be called such words out of pride.  A priest is not called father because he deserves to be called father, he is called father because we who do so humble ourselves by doing so and he accept the title not because he is entitled to it but because it is a reminder to him of the great responsibility Christ has given to him to lead the flock.  If a priest becomes arrogant and demands his "right" as a father or master, he has violated what Christ has taught in this passage.  As we see later in Scripture, Christ commands His Apostles to be teachers, to lead His sheep. His Apostles call themselves spiritual fathers to those who they are mentoring.  Surely those who wrote the Gospels would not be so presumptuous to intentionally violate a commandment of Christ, rather they understood the point Christ was trying to make.

This confusion raises its head in other places as well. For example, when Christ speak of prayer and how God will give us what we ask for, it is clear that God does not give us whatever we ask for, otherwise, you would have every Christian with a mansion and a Porsche in the driveway.  Of course, some Christians do attempt to interpret the Scripture in that manner and it leads to disappointment and disillusionment. The Gospel writers expect that along with their writings, the Church will provide the context for what they are writing.  The Scriptures are kind of the outline or cliff notes of the faith, it must be accompanied by the Tradition of the Church to explain and interpret that which can oftentimes be cryptic or brief.

I saw some of your more recent posts and felt compelled to add this.  Excommunication in the Orthodox tradition is not a punishment, per se.  It is a way of protecting someone so they can work through errors in their understanding of doctrine or in personal failings without bringing greater condemnation down upon themselves.  If someone is espousing heresy or brazenly engaging in sin without repentance, for them to partake of the Holy Mysteries brings greater condemnation upon them. Excommunication is put in place so they do not do greater damage to themselves than what their error has already done.  Does it feel like a punishment?  I'm sure that it does.  I imagine it would be greatly embarrassing and damaging to one's sense of self pride, but it is for their good.  It is like taking chemo when you have cancer.  No one wants to do it and it wrecks havoc with your system, but something drastic must be done to save the patient.
I understand this description, and I would be completely fine with it, I suppose I just see certain things in Catholic history that I associate with Orthodoxy since they have the same episcopal structure minus the pope. It's just a bit scary for me to acknowledge that only a priest can give the Eucharist, and only the Priest can absolve of someone's sins etc. when I know that kind of power has been abused historically.

Thank you for your thoughtfulness though. I tried to be as non-pretentious as I could, though, its difficult to voice concern about some reservation about a faith without seeming to attack it.

And as to excommunication, I've thought the only two reasons where I would think it was acceptable would be to protect other parishoners (like in the case of heresy) or as a last resort to compel someone into repentance (like in 1 Corinthians). I have a friend in the Catholic Church, though, who was excommunicated because she divorced her abusive husband.
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 09:29:11 PM »

If you think about it, there must be some pretty big restrictions on who can give the Eucharist.  It is the Body and Blood of Christ. It isn't like any Tom, Dick or Harry can say some special words and POOF it is suddenly the Body and Blood.  There must be some way that the sacredness was passed down from Christ, and that is to the apostles who in turn passed it to the Bishops who followed them. The priests serve at the pleasure of the Bishop, if they remove themselves from the Bishop, they remove themselves from the Body and Blood.

Absolving sins was something that Christ said what He told the Apostles that they can forgive or retain sins. They were given that power and it was also passed down.  Certainly some in history have abused these privileges, and I can not imagine any greater condemnation that might befall someone than someone who has abused such an honor granted by God.
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2014, 09:40:20 PM »

If you think about it, there must be some pretty big restrictions on who can give the Eucharist.  It is the Body and Blood of Christ. It isn't like any Tom, Dick or Harry can say some special words and POOF it is suddenly the Body and Blood.  There must be some way that the sacredness was passed down from Christ, and that is to the apostles who in turn passed it to the Bishops who followed them. The priests serve at the pleasure of the Bishop, if they remove themselves from the Bishop, they remove themselves from the Body and Blood.

Absolving sins was something that Christ said what He told the Apostles that they can forgive or retain sins. They were given that power and it was also passed down.  Certainly some in history have abused these privileges, and I can not imagine any greater condemnation that might befall someone than someone who has abused such an honor granted by God.

Well, this is why I've come to think that sacraments are not performed by the rituals of any person, they are performed by God through some person that God has ordained (and ordination as well would be performed in that manner). Since absolution is part of the sacrament of reconciliation, that too would be an act of God through an earthly person. Though, I've wondered if that commission was meant as particular to the clergy or to the Church as a whole, since I understand confession use to be public.
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 08:58:09 AM »

Here is a podcast that Fr. Thomas Hopko did on the subject, hope this helps

www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/call_no_man_father
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 10:36:30 AM »

I think it's telling that most groups who gave up on hierarchy, during the Reformation, also decided the bread and wine is not really eucharist. For example, the early Anabaptists comprised nobody ordained (at any level, much less bishop), and they decided the bread and wine are really a love feast, to be handed around by everybody. I am not saying ordination and eucharist go together in everybody's mind, but there is an unconscious tendency to give up one with the other.
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2014, 11:19:46 PM »

I think it's telling that most groups who gave up on hierarchy, during the Reformation, also decided the bread and wine is not really eucharist. For example, the early Anabaptists comprised nobody ordained (at any level, much less bishop), and they decided the bread and wine are really a love feast, to be handed around by everybody. I am not saying ordination and eucharist go together in everybody's mind, but there is an unconscious tendency to give up one with the other.

I am not sure about that. The Reformed Church did give up the real presence, while maintaining an ordained ministry.
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 12:23:09 AM »

They may make claims to apostolic succession nowadays (do they?), but they certainly gave up on it at the time. John Calvin did not even have anybody called "bishop" ordained in Geneva (and he called Catholic bishops "robbers and bloodthirsty plunderers of the church ... neither a good man nor a Christian").

However, that's not what I said -- you took my statement the opposite way from what it intended.
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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2014, 01:08:44 AM »

Not sure about Calvin here, but Luther claimed that priests have apostolic succession just as much as bishops. So they consider their ordination to be just as much to be a succession as one through bishops.

The other way around, I am not sure either. Usually the reason given for not having a priesthood is the "priesthood of all believers".
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2014, 01:17:10 AM »

Again, you're misreading my point above.

I think it's telling that most groups who gave up on hierarchy, during the Reformation, also decided the bread and wine is not really eucharist.

But, you know, it's a point that's really not important.
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2014, 02:54:47 AM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

wMathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
Passage you quote allways struck me as hyperbole, that is figure of speech where statement is exegerated in order to maximise emphesis... I dont think this is explicite prohibition, not even implicite. Remember, Christ used figures of speech constantly.
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2014, 11:38:19 AM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

wMathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
Passage you quote allways struck me as hyperbole, that is figure of speech where statement is exegerated in order to maximise emphesis... I dont think this is explicite prohibition, not even implicite. Remember, Christ used figures of speech constantly.

It's not really just the style "Father" that has given me pause. I actually really like the style and it feels like a very warm address to a spiritual counselor. I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

I've read that in Alexandria the Bishops were elected by presbyters.
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2014, 11:46:19 AM »

There were many ways of chosing bishops. By all belevers, by presbyters, by civil authorities, by Synod, by Metropolitan...
And, Alexandrine bishops exercised jurisdiction with great authority regardless of how they were elected.
On sidenote, Christ Himself elected Apostles, and they later chosed bishops for Churches they founded. I dont think democracy/lack of it is that big issue here. :-)
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2014, 12:00:04 PM »

I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

If there are any Orthodox Bishops reading this, they are probably laughing so hard!
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2014, 12:19:47 PM »

It's just a bit scary for me to acknowledge that only a priest can give the Eucharist
The priest can't offer the Eucharist apart from the community; that's why there are no "solo" Divine Liturgies. The priest acts as a particular member of a community, not as just himself. When the priest offers the Eucharist, it is truly me and those next to me doing it as well. The prayers and structure of the Divine Liturgy make this clear.

While I generally hate any sort of "product of our age" talk, I do believe that seeing our friends and brothers as truly members of ourselves when they take on a particular communal role or specialize, without feeling that we're missing out as a result, is something that would have been more intuitive in previous ages.

As for the distribution of the Eucharist, not only the priest physically does it.

and only the Priest can absolve of someone's sins etc.
Once again, this is a communal act. The priest offers reconciliation on behalf of the community, which is the Body of Christ. Confession is offered as one-to-one instead of one-to-many as a dispensation, due to the disorder caused by one-to-many confessions. This is not a mechanistic forgiveness ritual.

Here is part of the prayer offered by the priest during confession:

"My spiritual child, who has confessed to my humble self, I, humble and a sinner, have no power on earth to forgive sins, but God alone; yet through that divinely spoken word which came to the Apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying: Whoever sins they remit, they are remitted, and whoever. sins we retain, they are retained, we too are emboldened to say: Whatever you have said to my most humble self, and whatever you have not succeeded in saying, either through ignorance, or through forgetfulness, Whatever it may be: God forgive you in this present world, and in that which is to come."

And as to excommunication, I've thought the only two reasons where I would think it was acceptable would be to protect other parishoners (like in the case of heresy) or as a last resort to compel someone into repentance (like in 1 Corinthians). I have a friend in the Catholic Church, though, who was excommunicated because she divorced her abusive husband.

We often confuse excommunication with anathema. Anathema is when one is cut off from the community in the manner described by St. Paul in the Corinthian letter. Excommunication is just that---the withholding of communion. Many Orthodox forum members here have been excommunicated what...hundreds of times? Mostly by their own say. It's often a part of Christian life in this world. We fall, we repent, we return to communion.
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2014, 12:37:00 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

wMathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
Passage you quote allways struck me as hyperbole, that is figure of speech where statement is exegerated in order to maximise emphesis... I dont think this is explicite prohibition, not even implicite. Remember, Christ used figures of speech constantly.

It's not really just the style "Father" that has given me pause. I actually really like the style and it feels like a very warm address to a spiritual counselor. I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

I've read that in Alexandria the Bishops were elected by presbyters.

Power is a funny thing in that it is not terribly evident at times. Think of those folks who pull strings behind the scene--that happens more often than one might think.

That said, since the church is composed of a bishop surrounded with his priests, deacons and laity, the bishop is important because he is the only one of his kind in an ontologically complete church; he is the head of it; and he has deputies (priests) and assistants (deacons) who are charged with working under him. So, he is the CEO of the organization and as such he does have powers that any CEO would have. However, since we are talking here about a particular kind of organization--the church, additional are powers given to him by God at his ordination/consecration. At this point, you might think that a bishop may have too much power, and it is a fact that a few bishops have abused the power of their office. That said, there are checks and balances, at least in our Orthodox Christian church. First, there is the ancient Canon 34 that makes it impossible for any given bishop, even the head of a local church, to govern capriciously because the canon requires all bishops to act in unanimity and in obedience to each other. Second, at our baptism, all of us are made members of the Royal Priesthood and are given the responsibility (and commensurate authority) to make sure that our clergy (bishop, priest, deacon) are not wolves in sheeps clothing, to use Apostle Paul's terminology. Indeed, one of the things that distinguish us from the Roman Catholic Church is that the decisions of councils and glorification of saints are not done unilaterally by the clergy--no matter how exalted, but by the whole people of God, to include the vast majority of us--the laity.

The fact is that bishops "rule" through their deputies--the priests who are pastors of parishes, deans of deaneries, and often chancellors of dioceses. The fact is that bishops must rely on deacons, priests and laity at the diocesan and local church level to get anything done. Finally, in the United States at least, the fact remains that ultimately Orthodox laity vote with their feet and wallets. The spiritual, organizational and material well being of a church truly depends on all four parts of a church (bishop, priest, deacon and laity) being true disciples of the Lord. No one part is more important than the other, but each has a different calling.
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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2014, 12:39:31 PM »

There were many ways of chosing bishops. By all belevers, by presbyters, by civil authorities, by Synod, by Metropolitan...
And, Alexandrine bishops exercised jurisdiction with great authority regardless of how they were elected.
On sidenote, Christ Himself elected Apostles, and they later chosed bishops for Churches they founded. I dont think democracy/lack of it is that big issue here. :-)

That's true. So here is the other thing, and I want to stress I'm just speaking out here as a lowly protestant so don't take this as an offense, but I don't understand why a Bishop oversees a diocese instead of just a single parish. Why is it necessary for a Bishop to be presiding over multiple parishes. To me a lot of the controversies and schisms seem like its a just argument over who controls what region. From my perspective, it seems like what is being practiced is more important than who is presiding. Ideally, all Christians would be under the same ecclesiastical system but, so long as we are all under the high priesthood of Christ.

The problems I see with the RCC, for instance, is mainly political, so I don't see why they can't share communion with the Orthodox. (In fact, I think that might actually be the very thing that could heal the schism). I know that its more important to maintain the integrity of faith, but I sure think its an error to say that God doesn't want His Church united.
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2014, 12:39:46 PM »

I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

If there are any Orthodox Bishops reading this, they are probably laughing so hard!

I'm just an old PK and I'm splitting a side laughing!  Cheesy
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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2014, 12:41:41 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

wMathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
Passage you quote allways struck me as hyperbole, that is figure of speech where statement is exegerated in order to maximise emphesis... I dont think this is explicite prohibition, not even implicite. Remember, Christ used figures of speech constantly.

It's not really just the style "Father" that has given me pause. I actually really like the style and it feels like a very warm address to a spiritual counselor. I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

I've read that in Alexandria the Bishops were elected by presbyters.

Power is a funny thing in that it is not terribly evident at times. Think of those folks who pull strings behind the scene--that happens more often than one might think.

That said, since the church is composed of a bishop surrounded with his priests, deacons and laity, the bishop is important because he is the only one of his kind in an ontologically complete church; he is the head of it; and he has deputies (priests) and assistants (deacons) who are charged with working under him. So, he is the CEO of the organization and as such he does have powers that any CEO would have. However, since we are talking here about a particular kind of organization--the church, additional are powers given to him by God at his ordination/consecration. At this point, you might think that a bishop may have too much power, and it is a fact that a few bishops have abused the power of their office. That said, there are checks and balances, at least in our Orthodox Christian church. First, there is the ancient Canon 34 that makes it impossible for any given bishop, even the head of a local church, to govern capriciously because the canon requires all bishops to act in unanimity and in obedience to each other. Second, at our baptism, all of us are made members of the Royal Priesthood and are given the responsibility (and commensurate authority) to make sure that our clergy (bishop, priest, deacon) are not wolves in sheeps clothing, to use Apostle Paul's terminology. Indeed, one of the things that distinguish us from the Roman Catholic Church is that the decisions of councils and glorification of saints are not done unilaterally by the clergy--no matter how exalted, but by the whole people of God, to include the vast majority of us--the laity.

The fact is that bishops "rule" through their deputies--the priests who are pastors of parishes, deans of deaneries, and often chancellors of dioceses. The fact is that bishops must rely on deacons, priests and laity at the diocesan and local church level to get anything done. Finally, in the United States at least, the fact remains that ultimately Orthodox laity vote with their feet and wallets. The spiritual, organizational and material well being of a church truly depends on all four parts of a church (bishop, priest, deacon and laity) being true disciples of the Lord. No one part is more important than the other, but each has a different calling.

That's very enlightening, thank you.
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2014, 01:02:25 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

wMathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
Passage you quote allways struck me as hyperbole, that is figure of speech where statement is exegerated in order to maximise emphesis... I dont think this is explicite prohibition, not even implicite. Remember, Christ used figures of speech constantly.

It's not really just the style "Father" that has given me pause. I actually really like the style and it feels like a very warm address to a spiritual counselor. I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

I've read that in Alexandria the Bishops were elected by presbyters.

Power is a funny thing in that it is not terribly evident at times. Think of those folks who pull strings behind the scene--that happens more often than one might think.

That said, since the church is composed of a bishop surrounded with his priests, deacons and laity, the bishop is important because he is the only one of his kind in an ontologically complete church; he is the head of it; and he has deputies (priests) and assistants (deacons) who are charged with working under him. So, he is the CEO of the organization and as such he does have powers that any CEO would have. However, since we are talking here about a particular kind of organization--the church, additional are powers given to him by God at his ordination/consecration. At this point, you might think that a bishop may have too much power, and it is a fact that a few bishops have abused the power of their office. That said, there are checks and balances, at least in our Orthodox Christian church. First, there is the ancient Canon 34 that makes it impossible for any given bishop, even the head of a local church, to govern capriciously because the canon requires all bishops to act in unanimity and in obedience to each other. Second, at our baptism, all of us are made members of the Royal Priesthood and are given the responsibility (and commensurate authority) to make sure that our clergy (bishop, priest, deacon) are not wolves in sheeps clothing, to use Apostle Paul's terminology. Indeed, one of the things that distinguish us from the Roman Catholic Church is that the decisions of councils and glorification of saints are not done unilaterally by the clergy--no matter how exalted, but by the whole people of God, to include the vast majority of us--the laity.

The fact is that bishops "rule" through their deputies--the priests who are pastors of parishes, deans of deaneries, and often chancellors of dioceses. The fact is that bishops must rely on deacons, priests and laity at the diocesan and local church level to get anything done. Finally, in the United States at least, the fact remains that ultimately Orthodox laity vote with their feet and wallets. The spiritual, organizational and material well being of a church truly depends on all four parts of a church (bishop, priest, deacon and laity) being true disciples of the Lord. No one part is more important than the other, but each has a different calling.

That's very enlightening, thank you.

You have to keep in mind that while the ecclesiastical structures of Orthodoxy and Roman Cathoicism are superficially similar, for more than a millenium they have developed along different paths. Rome lost the synodal and collegial nature of the early Church, which the Orthodox believe we have retained. It is only since the papacy of Pope Benedict that any serious revisiting of that lack of synodal  decision making in the west is even being whispered about in Rome.
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« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2014, 01:11:17 PM »

Hi everyone, let me first say that I submit these concerns with all due respect, so forgive me if I offend anyone, but they are some reservations I've had about Orthodoxy.

wMathew 23:8-10 says, "Don't let anyone call you teacher for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't call anyone Father, for God is your only Father. And don't let anyone call you instructor, for you have only one instructor, the Messiah."

I wouldn't make a big deal about the tradition of calling priests "Father" if it was not explicitly prohibited. But in any case, even just viewing the general message of the chapter seems to run contrary to some teachings about the clergy, for instance being the only ones allowed to administer the Eucharist, and the Bishop's "throne."

To avoid sounding argumentative I'll try not to be too pretentious here, but I was wondering if anyone had consolable words on these things, I've yet to hear a really good explanation about it.
Passage you quote allways struck me as hyperbole, that is figure of speech where statement is exegerated in order to maximise emphesis... I dont think this is explicite prohibition, not even implicite. Remember, Christ used figures of speech constantly.

It's not really just the style "Father" that has given me pause. I actually really like the style and it feels like a very warm address to a spiritual counselor. I suppose what concerns me (and this is probably more of a Catholic problem than Orthodox) is that a Bishop seems to have a lot of power over the congregation.

I've read that in Alexandria the Bishops were elected by presbyters.

Power is a funny thing in that it is not terribly evident at times. Think of those folks who pull strings behind the scene--that happens more often than one might think.

That said, since the church is composed of a bishop surrounded with his priests, deacons and laity, the bishop is important because he is the only one of his kind in an ontologically complete church; he is the head of it; and he has deputies (priests) and assistants (deacons) who are charged with working under him. So, he is the CEO of the organization and as such he does have powers that any CEO would have. However, since we are talking here about a particular kind of organization--the church, additional are powers given to him by God at his ordination/consecration. At this point, you might think that a bishop may have too much power, and it is a fact that a few bishops have abused the power of their office. That said, there are checks and balances, at least in our Orthodox Christian church. First, there is the ancient Canon 34 that makes it impossible for any given bishop, even the head of a local church, to govern capriciously because the canon requires all bishops to act in unanimity and in obedience to each other. Second, at our baptism, all of us are made members of the Royal Priesthood and are given the responsibility (and commensurate authority) to make sure that our clergy (bishop, priest, deacon) are not wolves in sheeps clothing, to use Apostle Paul's terminology. Indeed, one of the things that distinguish us from the Roman Catholic Church is that the decisions of councils and glorification of saints are not done unilaterally by the clergy--no matter how exalted, but by the whole people of God, to include the vast majority of us--the laity.

The fact is that bishops "rule" through their deputies--the priests who are pastors of parishes, deans of deaneries, and often chancellors of dioceses. The fact is that bishops must rely on deacons, priests and laity at the diocesan and local church level to get anything done. Finally, in the United States at least, the fact remains that ultimately Orthodox laity vote with their feet and wallets. The spiritual, organizational and material well being of a church truly depends on all four parts of a church (bishop, priest, deacon and laity) being true disciples of the Lord. No one part is more important than the other, but each has a different calling.

That's very enlightening, thank you.

You have to keep in mind that while the ecclesiastical structures of Orthodoxy and Roman Cathoicism are superficially similar, for more than a millenium they have developed along different paths. Rome lost the synodal and collegial nature of the early Church, which the Orthodox believe we have retained. It is only since the papacy of Pope Benedict that any serious revisiting of that lack of synodal  decision making in the west is even being whispered about in Rome.

Well, level with me for a second. If Orthodox and Catholic liturgies are for all intents and purposes the same, or similar enough as to not offend the Faith, what difference does it make to the layman if they lack synodal decision making? I agree it is preferable over papal supremacy, but if Christ is our High Priest, (and both Catholics and Orthodox agree He is) why not share communion, or at the very least not excommunicate someone who does (I say this because I've read that taking communion in another Church constitutes apostasy, though I've heard that is ultimately up to the Bishop).
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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2014, 02:15:17 PM »

So here is the other thing, and I want to stress I'm just speaking out here as a lowly protestant so don't take this as an offense, but I don't understand why a Bishop oversees a diocese instead of just a single parish. Why is it necessary for a Bishop to be presiding over multiple parishes.
First of all, Protestants have Bishops also, who preside over large areas. As the early Church grew, and there were multiple congregations, Bishops came to preside over a particular area. This is history.

Quote
To me a lot of the controversies and schisms seem like its a just argument over who controls what region.
Perhaps in a few cases, but I don't know of any. Controversies and schisms generally have to do with theological beliefs or practices.

Quote
From my perspective, it seems like what is being practiced is more important than who is presiding.
I don't understand this.

Quote
Ideally, all Christians would be under the same ecclesiastical system but, so long as we are all under the high priesthood of Christ.
Of course. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church. All Christians were under the same ecclesiastical system for the first thousand or so years.

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The problems I see with the RCC, for instance, is mainly political, so I don't see why they can't share communion with the Orthodox.
Unfortunately, the RCC has departed from the faith once delivered to the Apostles. We don't believe the same things. Communion means unity of belief. If we don't believe the same things, we cannot be in communion.

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(In fact, I think that might actually be the very thing that could heal the schism). I know that its more important to maintain the integrity of faith, but I sure think its an error to say that God doesn't want His Church united.
Who has ever said that God doesn't want His Church united? We earnestly pray that all will repent and return to the True Faith.
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« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2014, 02:19:33 PM »

If Orthodox and Catholic liturgies are for all intents and purposes the same, or similar enough as to not offend the Faith, what difference does it make to the layman if they lack synodal decision making? I agree it is preferable over papal supremacy, but if Christ is our High Priest, (and both Catholics and Orthodox agree He is) why not share communion, or at the very least not excommunicate someone who does (I say this because I've read that taking communion in another Church constitutes apostasy, though I've heard that is ultimately up to the Bishop).

You are seriously mistaken if you think that Orthodox and Catholic liturgies are the same, or that both Churches believe the same things.
We do not.
Communion is a sign of unity of belief, not a way for unity to be achieved. We cannot be in communion with people who do not share our beliefs.
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« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2014, 02:32:02 PM »

So here is the other thing, and I want to stress I'm just speaking out here as a lowly protestant so don't take this as an offense, but I don't understand why a Bishop oversees a diocese instead of just a single parish. Why is it necessary for a Bishop to be presiding over multiple parishes.
First of all, Protestants have Bishops also, who preside over large areas. As the early Church grew, and there were multiple congregations, Bishops came to preside over a particular area. This is history.

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To me a lot of the controversies and schisms seem like its a just argument over who controls what region.
Perhaps in a few cases, but I don't know of any. Controversies and schisms generally have to do with theological beliefs or practices.

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From my perspective, it seems like what is being practiced is more important than who is presiding.
I don't understand this.

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Ideally, all Christians would be under the same ecclesiastical system but, so long as we are all under the high priesthood of Christ.
Of course. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church. All Christians were under the same ecclesiastical system for the first thousand or so years.

Quote
The problems I see with the RCC, for instance, is mainly political, so I don't see why they can't share communion with the Orthodox.
Unfortunately, the RCC has departed from the faith once delivered to the Apostles. We don't believe the same things. Communion means unity of belief. If we don't believe the same things, we cannot be in communion.

Quote
(In fact, I think that might actually be the very thing that could heal the schism). I know that its more important to maintain the integrity of faith, but I sure think its an error to say that God doesn't want His Church united.
Who has ever said that God doesn't want His Church united? We earnestly pray that all will repent and return to the True Faith.

I only know of bishops in the Anglican traditions. Most protestant churches utilize the Presbyterian structure.

When I've studied the Great Schism, I see probably more political controversy than theological. There is the filloque, and a few practical disagreements, but I would hardly consider those things merited such an immense severance. In any case, while I find Rome to be mostly at fault, I'm not under the impression that the EOC was blameless either. Though, to be fair, I wasn't there, so I don't know.

What I meant by "practice" is the Catholic services are fairly similar to Orthodox. Now, granted, being protestant I don't have a trained eye. But, seeing how both traditions are liturgical and sacramental and virtually have the same doctrines about them, the only really meaningful difference I see is that the Romans have the Pope.

The only ecclesiastical jurisdiction that matters, though, is God's. So, for me, it seems more important to be practicing good Christian faith, rather than to be under the jurisdiction of a certain kind of Bishop.

The RCC has the pope and the filloque, but I haven't heard about much else. I'm not a scholar on the subject, but when I explain the difference between EOC and RCC I can usually only think of the Pope and scholasticism v. mysticism. But, scholasticism, IMO, is not inherently heretical.

I've read a lot of negative things about ecumenicism from Orthodox. It seems like there's kind of a "take-it-or-leave-it" mentality. I understand the need to maintain integrity of the Faith, but I think there is sometimes a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2014, 02:38:40 PM »

Also Lutherans, Methodists, Mennonites, and some others.
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« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2014, 02:47:43 PM »

So here is the other thing, and I want to stress I'm just speaking out here as a lowly protestant so don't take this as an offense, but I don't understand why a Bishop oversees a diocese instead of just a single parish. Why is it necessary for a Bishop to be presiding over multiple parishes.
First of all, Protestants have Bishops also, who preside over large areas. As the early Church grew, and there were multiple congregations, Bishops came to preside over a particular area. This is history.

Quote
To me a lot of the controversies and schisms seem like its a just argument over who controls what region.
Perhaps in a few cases, but I don't know of any. Controversies and schisms generally have to do with theological beliefs or practices.

Quote
From my perspective, it seems like what is being practiced is more important than who is presiding.
I don't understand this.

Quote
Ideally, all Christians would be under the same ecclesiastical system but, so long as we are all under the high priesthood of Christ.
Of course. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church. All Christians were under the same ecclesiastical system for the first thousand or so years.

Quote
The problems I see with the RCC, for instance, is mainly political, so I don't see why they can't share communion with the Orthodox.
Unfortunately, the RCC has departed from the faith once delivered to the Apostles. We don't believe the same things. Communion means unity of belief. If we don't believe the same things, we cannot be in communion.

Quote
(In fact, I think that might actually be the very thing that could heal the schism). I know that its more important to maintain the integrity of faith, but I sure think its an error to say that God doesn't want His Church united.
Who has ever said that God doesn't want His Church united? We earnestly pray that all will repent and return to the True Faith.

I only know of bishops in the Anglican traditions. Most protestant churches utilize the Presbyterian structure.

When I've studied the Great Schism, I see probably more political controversy than theological. There is the filloque, and a few practical disagreements, but I would hardly consider those things merited such an immense severance. In any case, while I find Rome to be mostly at fault, I'm not under the impression that the EOC was blameless either. Though, to be fair, I wasn't there, so I don't know.

What I meant by "practice" is the Catholic services are fairly similar to Orthodox. Now, granted, being protestant I don't have a trained eye. But, seeing how both traditions are liturgical and sacramental and virtually have the same doctrines about them, the only really meaningful difference I see is that the Romans have the Pope.

The only ecclesiastical jurisdiction that matters, though, is God's. So, for me, it seems more important to be practicing good Christian faith, rather than to be under the jurisdiction of a certain kind of Bishop.

The RCC has the pope and the filloque, but I haven't heard about much else. I'm not a scholar on the subject, but when I explain the difference between EOC and RCC I can usually only think of the Pope and scholasticism v. mysticism. But, scholasticism, IMO, is not inherently heretical.

I've read a lot of negative things about ecumenicism from Orthodox. It seems like there's kind of a "take-it-or-leave-it" mentality. I understand the need to maintain integrity of the Faith, but I think there is sometimes a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit.

For a different perspective, I suggest that you read the agreed upon statements of the  North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation,  http://assemblyofbishops.org/ministries/dialogue/orthodox-catholic/.

The Orthodox participants make it clear that communion is the end product of any process of dialouge. This passage from a 2010 joint statement is interesting: " It seems to be no exaggeration, in fact, to say that the root obstacle preventing the Orthodox and Catholic Churches from growing steadily towards sacramental and practical unity has been, and continues to be, the role that the bishop of Rome plays in the worldwide Catholic communion.  While for Catholics, maintaining communion in faith and sacraments with the bishop of Rome is considered a necessary criterion for being considered Church in the full sense, for Orthodox, as well as for Protestants, it is precisely the pope’s historic claims to authority in teaching and Church life that are most at variance with the image of the Church presented to us in the New Testament and in early Christian writings.  In the carefully understated words of Pope John Paul II, “the Catholic Church's conviction that in the ministry of the bishop of Rome she has preserved, in fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition and the faith of the Fathers, the visible sign and guarantor of unity, constitutes a difficulty for most other Christians, whose memory is marked by certain painful recollections” (Ut Unum Sint 88). " http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/scoba/towards-a-unified-church  But, 'What we Share' is worth noting as well, "4.  What We Share.  Despite disagreement on the place of the bishop of Rome in the worldwide cohesion of Christianity, however, it seems to us obvious that what we share, as Orthodox and Catholic Christians, significantly overshadows our differences.  Both our Churches emphasize the continuity of apostolic teaching as the heart of our faith, received within the interpretive context of the historical Christian community.  Both believe our life as Churches to be centered on the Divine Liturgy, and to be formed and nourished in each individual by the Word of God and the Church’s sacraments:  baptism, the anointing with chrism, and the reception of the Eucharist mark, in each of our Churches, the entry of believers into the Body of Christ, while ordination by a bishop sets some of them apart for permanent sacramental ministry and leadership, and the marriage of a Christian man and woman within the liturgical community forms them into living signs of the union of Christ and the Church.  Both our Churches recognize that “the Church of God exists where there is a community gathered together in the Eucharist, presided over, directly or through his presbyters, by a bishop legitimately ordained into the apostolic succession, teaching the faith received from the apostles, in communion with the other bishops and their Churches”

But in the end, " Conscience holds us back from celebrating our unity as complete in sacramental terms, until it is complete in faith, Church structure, and common action; but conscience also calls us to move beyond complacency in our divisions, in the power of the Spirit and in a longing for the fullness of Christ’s life-giving presence in our midst.  The challenge and the invitation to Orthodox and Catholic Christians, who understand themselves to be members of Christ’s Body precisely by sharing in the Eucharistic gifts and participating in the transforming life of the Holy Spirit, is now to see Christ authentically present in each other, and to find in those structures of leadership that have shaped our communities through the centuries a force to move us beyond disunity, mistrust, and competition, and towards that oneness in his Body, that obedience to his Spirit, that will reveal us as his disciples before the world. "

It's complicated, the relationship - or lack thereof - and the usual polemic or heated apologia don't do justice to the complexity of the issues which divide us.

Some Roman Catholics and Orthodox find solace in the large body of shared beliefs and understandings of the Church which our communions do possess; others in both camps find heresy and arrogance in the hardened positions taken by the 'others.'  There is probably some truth in both points of view.....


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« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2014, 03:06:44 PM »

The RCC has the pope and the filloque, but I haven't heard about much else. I'm not a scholar on the subject, but when I explain the difference between EOC and RCC I can usually only think of the Pope and scholasticism v. mysticism.
It would be better to discuss the differences between RC and EO in one of the threads in EO-RC discussion here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/board,2.0.html
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« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2014, 04:46:33 PM »

Godspell, I hope this doesn't sound mean or snarky, because I sincerely don't mean it to be, but you need to read some Christian history. You make a lot of assumptions and have opinions which are not necessarily supported by what actually happened. I or anyone else here would be happy to make some recommendations for you.
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« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2014, 04:57:50 PM »

Here is a post Abbot Tryphon wrote in his blog on the subject
http://morningoffering.blogspot.com

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Call no Man Father

"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:9)."

Recently someone called me "Brother Tryphon". His having addressed me as "brother", reminded me of a sheriff deputy, who for years addressed me as "Hieromonk Tryphon", because he felt he could not be biblical if he addressed me as "father". This deputy had no difficulty allowing his own boys to address him as dad (father), nor did he have any difficulty referring to anyone in his church who taught Sunday School, as teacher. Yet Christ did not say it was OK to call your own blood father, "father", nor did He say you could call an instructor, "teacher". He said, "Do not call anyone on earth your father.... And do not be called teachers".

The protestant claim that calling priests, "father," is a violation of Scripture, ignores the fact that Jesus referred to our "father Abraham" (John 8:56), and told the story of the prodigal son, using the term, "father" (Luke 15). Furthermore, Saint Paul said, "I have become your father in Christ". From the beginning, the Church, from Old Testament times, called those anointed by God as "prophet", "teacher" (rabbi), and "father." Like the titles "reverend", "pastor", and "brother", these personal titles have served to convey a certain warmth and honor to those who serve the Lord, and who serve us.

Just as love leads us to call our parent "father", so too do we show honor and love for those who serve us by calling them "father". That the Lord Jesus Christ warned against calling men "father" or "teacher", was a reminder that the leaders of His people should remain pure and humble. His injunction that bishops, priests, deacons, and teachers, should maintain personal character, and godly humility, is obvious. Our Lord could have just as easily instructed his disciples to "call no one reverend, or pastor, or Mister".

Finally, let us consider hyperbole (an extreme exaggeration) as used, especially in ancient Greek, to drive home a greater point. The Gospel stories are full of them. Jesus told us to cut off our hands and tear out our eyes if they cause us to sin (Matthew and Mark). Did he really mean that, or is he making a greater point? How many self-inflicted, blind, amputee Christians do you see walking around?

The point there is to be wary of how these things can, and do, allow us to sin. The same thing applies to the "call no man on earth father." Jesus made an analogy using hyperbolic language. Humans have fathers, whether they know or like them. No matter how good a human father is, God is a better, nicer, smarter, kinder, and so on, father. Otherwise, the analogy makes no sense and Jesus wasted his breath. In comparison, an earthly father cannot compete with God. Moreover, if it was a real prohibition, someone really should have chastised St. Paul for neglecting to take into account his references to himself as a father (in the spiritual sense), and remove his letters from the New Testament.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2014, 04:05:48 PM »

"What the hell am I supposed to call the man who's married to my mother? 'Male Parent'? 'Progenitor'? 'Hey, you'?"

You call him parental unit number 2.

And when you feel hungry, you CONSUME MASS QUANTITIES!
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