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Author Topic: Pentecostal Minister Thinking of Converting to Orthodoxy  (Read 4010 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nacho
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« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2013, 04:59:11 AM »

Boy did I get a big smile on my face when I saw the thread title.Grin I had a sneaking suspicion that it was Assemblies of God related too! Oldgoat, I also grew up AG and coincidentally graduated from the “mecca” of AG schools, Evangel University in Springfield Missouri (AG headquarters here also!) even though I have been Orthodox for the last 7 years. I have a ton of great stories I could tell with my experience going to Evangel and relating to Pentecostals while being Orthodox.

I had to take a few theology courses to complete my business degree and that ended up being quite an interesting experience. I initially went in thinking I would just lay back and stay quite, but that went out the door pretty quickly. It all started with the exclamation from someone in class that stated that the AG could quite well be the “most charismatic church on earth today.” I quickly had to correct that faulty notion and said that they had it wrong because the Eastern Orthodox easily laid claim to being the most charismatic church on earth because it’s the church of Christ, the apostles, and saints! Should have seen the look on their faces, priceless! I continually would poke holes at faulty protestant premises (easy to do!) throughout the classes I had and would clarify it with what the church has always believed throughout the eons. By the end of one of my classes, I had like 6 guys (these were guys in ministry and theological degrees to boot!) that came up to me wanting to know more about Orthodoxy and they took down my phone number!

Here’s another great nugget of a story from my encounters while I was there. One of the most respected ‘higher ups’ (founded many churches which gives you a big name in the AG!) in the AG who was serving as the head chaplain at the college invited me over to his house for a ‘talk’ because he was concerned about my choice of Christianity. I guess in AG terms he was worried about my ‘salvation’ and making sure I have accepted Jesus into my heart lol! So I go over and we sit down in his home office and he’s thinking he’s about to show up this poor lost soul who has wandered from the AG into some weird Catholic like cult.

Three hours later he’s shaking my hand and telling me what respect he has for my knowledge of the Christian faith in general and that he wanted to do some more research into church history because he was intrigued by what I told him. What’s funny was that in the middle of our chat, he was relating a sermon he gave about faith and works and he quoted something he heard from another AG pastor that he thought was so profound…he said it went something like this, “Preach the gospel at all times, and if you must, use words.” LOL! I looked at him and asked do you know who originally said that? He said “no” of course! I looked bemused and said back it was Saint Francis! Should have seen him after I said that! He was pretty much done with me and he knew he brought knives to a gun fight. What’s ironic is that he grew up Catholic but thought he found the real faith in the AG when he was older. I told him that’s like trading in a Ferrari for a Ford Fiesta. laugh

Anywho, though you would enjoy that because I understand the AG mindset and it took me many years before becoming Orthodox. I promised I would find the holes in Orthodoxy, and as I spent several years looking for those fault lines one by one, the walls of the Orthodox Church held strong as I could not find one single thing that they were theologically wrong on. I felt pretty small at the time but felt relief in finding the true Christian Faith which I eventually realized that it was always here!     
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"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."--Mere Christianity
oldgoat2013
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« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2013, 11:30:35 AM »

Thanks Seraphim 98/Nacho

I was a professor at North Central University (AOG) in Minneapolis for 20 + years.

I appreciate your responses very much!

Blessings!

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« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2013, 12:10:41 PM »

Carl,

I did read the interview previously.  It was very good and helpful to me.

When I read the article, I thought that Deacon Powell's appreciation of the icon Our Lady of the Sign, as opposed to other icons of the Theotokos, was a critical factor in his conversion. At least to me, this icon underlines the fact that Virgin Mary gave birth not to a mere baby but the Creator of the universe that was incarnated as our Savior, fully God and fully man.
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« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2013, 11:05:15 PM »

One last issue - My wife is not anywhere near the same point where I am.  I am going have to be very patient with her.

That's a good idea.
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« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2013, 11:37:16 PM »

I had that issue too. Patience is the only answer.  Smiley
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2013, 01:28:54 AM »

^^ Yea it could take some time! I still keep in touch with a few friends in the AG and every time I try to explain the whole concept of liturgical sacramental worship I feel like I'm getting blank stares. Sometimes I'm met with a response that typically goes something like this, "hmmm no drums and live action, I need something to pump me up when I'm praising the Lord...what you describe sounds extremely boring to me!"  Roll Eyes

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oldgoat2013
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« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2013, 09:25:26 PM »

Hey Nacho,

I just had someone say the same thing to me today.  He said it would be boring.  I wanted to say (but didn't), "Is worship about you or God?"
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« Reply #52 on: August 09, 2013, 02:04:38 PM »

One last issue - My wife is not anywhere near the same point where I am.  I am going have to be very patient with her.

That's a good idea.

Same issue.  Lots of patience and lots of prayer.  This is something my priest reminds me to do whenever I come to him.  My childhood church, Church of God, was right across the street from the Assemblies of God church in Clarksville, TN back in the day.  I had a few hang ups when learning about the Church, but then I figured that if I wanted to accomplish what Christ wanted (John 17:20-26), I would have to accept His whole Body and all therein, not just the doctrines I like or agreed with.  Regarding Mary, she is my Mother too, because I believe that she bore Jesus in all His flesh AND Divinity.  In the end, it takes a lot of prayer and sometimes just telling God "Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!"
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oldgoat2013
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« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2013, 09:21:15 PM »

Thanks, Hecma295!
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Old Goat

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« Reply #54 on: August 10, 2013, 02:36:34 PM »

some lovely stories here.
i was protestant from fairly early childhood (atheist family before that) up until 5 years ago - more than 30 years.
it took me 3 years after becoming orthodox to feel 100% comfortable singing to the angels and saints and asking their intercessions.
so, patience is the answer!
(especially as i am still the only orthodox Christian in my family)

it's all about love, and humility, as many of the other lovely posts above explain.
i especially liked seraphim78s post as it mirrors my own experience and views as an ex charismatic.
you should all read it, even though it is quite long, there is great wisdom there.

may God guide u, and take it slowly.
when you are driving a car with passengers, you go slow around the corners.
do the same when you have family/close friends who are 'sitting in' on your spiritual journey and getting a bit travel sick.

and thanks for sharing with us, it is a real blessing.
 Smiley
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Nikolaos Greek
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« Reply #55 on: August 10, 2013, 03:42:44 PM »

Welcome my brother.
I was not Orthodox until some months before and I am 16!
Well love is the center of the True church because God is Love. Imagine now...
God created you to give us all nature under our command... We betrayed Him...
Yet He send His Son because He love us until death. Tell me what is the biggest sacrifice?
 A child to sacrifice his parent or a parent to sacrifice his child? And for who? Us! Those who are the worst...
And yet He call us... He say to us just one moment after we have sinned. " Please come to me to forgive you.''
God plea us to come to Him and save us! When we sin we make God sad but He becomes sad not because He is angry or because we didn't do his will.
He is sad because He knows that if we don't do His will we are getting far away into the darkness. He is sad for us...
Uh such Love! God is the best and we are the worse. That's the base.
Four things remember:
a) God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
b) Eastern Orthodox is his Church.
c) He Love us.
d) I am the worst sinner.
As for the saints and Mary here thus: We don't say they are gods. We worship them not. We venerate them. There are two kind of churches fully united. The victorious church, those who have already went into heaven and the church which we can see. Dead and alive are both in front of God. After all only their body is dead. Their souls are eternal and they live. We ask their help, we thank them for praying to God for us, we love them and try to become like them because they became like Christ. We venerate them. As for Mary... The mother of God who became the highest of all saints. You may hear at Divine Liturgy when we pray to her to save us. Some may say '' But only God can save...'' Yes. When we ask her to save us we mean that we ask her to pray to God, to say please to God for us. So strong are her pleas that one can be saved. God saves but thanks of course to His love but also to her pleas. As for your wife speak when you find the chance and when she tries to '' show you the truth'' but force her not. Pray to God for her. I hope you and she baptize soon. Have hope and I hope God will save both you.
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« Reply #56 on: August 10, 2013, 08:30:58 PM »

Thanks Nikolas for the very beautiful reply from the heart. I appreciate your words and sentiments very much.

I have an update for everyone concerning my wife.  I went to a service at an OCA parish Wednesday evening. My wife could not come because she had a work conflict.  When I returned home I told her about the service.  She asked me if I was thinking about converting to Orthodoxy and I told her i was.  She said "I thought so" and smiled.  She did not disapprove or try to tell me I should not.  She expressed no objections.

I will take it easy with her, but I am happy she does not object to my journey towards the Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #57 on: August 11, 2013, 12:04:18 AM »

Glad to hear it. Glory to God.  Smiley keep praying for her: for her enlightenment, for you: for patience.
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« Reply #58 on: August 11, 2013, 12:16:21 AM »

Katherine of Dixie,

After reading your post I began to think about death.  In the west we have a fear of death and it seems so mysterious to us.  We become anxious discussing it or contemplating it.  If we begin to accept the view of death as defined/experienced by orthodoxy, death no longer seems to be so frightening and is so much easier to accept.



You are correct about the Eastern Orthodox view of death. In fact, during our Divine Liturgy on the eve of
Easter (Pascha ) every priest in every church reads the sermon of St. John Chrysostom which captures that view of death. Here it is below:

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast.
If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

 

If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

 

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts.
And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second.

 

You rich and poor together, hold high festival.
You sober and you heedless, honor the day.
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

 

Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.

 

He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

 

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 12:18:08 AM by Tamara » Logged
Nikolaos Greek
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« Reply #59 on: August 11, 2013, 04:07:35 AM »

My friend thank God and not me...
Quote
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
I love this lines. Our hymns alone can explain a lot.
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God is Love.
Ό Θεός ἀγάπη ἐστί.
There is no luck, there is no fate. There are always two ways. One is God's and one is devil's. And in each step of your life you have to pick one, always.
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« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2013, 04:04:53 PM »

My friend thank God and not me...
Quote
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
I love this lines. Our hymns alone can explain a lot.

All of our liturgical hymns are instructive, profound and sublime.
They contain the whole of our theology and moral teaching,
give us Christian consolation and instill in us a fear of the Judgment.
He who listens to them attentively has no need of other books on the Faith.

St Theophan the Recluse


We are surrounded by the theology of our church every time we enter to worship. The mysteries, the prayers, the hymns, the incense, the iconography all teach us what it means to be a Christian.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 04:06:57 PM by Tamara » Logged
Thomas
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« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2013, 10:28:59 AM »

I agree, one can not really understand the depths of knowledge that i found in the orthodox Chruch if one has not heard the hylmns, especiallythose attached to the feasts that are sung during the Great Vespers of Orthos services of the Church. When I first heard them sung in English so I could understand them (not Greek as I found in my first Orthodox jurisdiction or Slavonic like my second jurisdiction---we moved around a lot and went to whatever jurisdiction was closest) I learned more in that year than in the fiove years I had attended Church. The greattreasury of knowledge  about the Orthodox Church beliefs is not the wealth of books written for the layman but rather the Hymns of the Church sung in a language you can understand.

Thomas
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« Reply #62 on: August 20, 2013, 01:59:11 AM »

Seraphim, are you certain it's not Elders Justin and Cleopa instead?...not like it makes a difference or questions your statement...just curious...that's all...



Welcome to the forum oldgoat and may you find what you seek...
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« Reply #63 on: August 20, 2013, 09:54:48 AM »

I agree, one can not really understand the depths of knowledge that i found in the orthodox Chruch if one has not heard the hylmns, especiallythose attached to the feasts that are sung during the Great Vespers of Orthos services of the Church. When I first heard them sung in English so I could understand them (not Greek as I found in my first Orthodox jurisdiction or Slavonic like my second jurisdiction---we moved around a lot and went to whatever jurisdiction was closest) I learned more in that year than in the fiove years I had attended Church. The greattreasury of knowledge  about the Orthodox Church beliefs is not the wealth of books written for the layman but rather the Hymns of the Church sung in a language you can understand.

Thomas

There is definitely a strong didactic emphasis to Orthodox services. They are meant to teach the faith as well as bring you into God's grace.
If you diligently attend for a year you will learn a lot. Then the cycle is repeated and you will pick up things you missed in year one. Repeat, until done.  Smiley
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« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2013, 11:11:52 AM »

I agree, one can not really understand the depths of knowledge that i found in the orthodox Chruch if one has not heard the hylmns, especiallythose attached to the feasts that are sung during the Great Vespers of Orthos services of the Church. When I first heard them sung in English so I could understand them (not Greek as I found in my first Orthodox jurisdiction or Slavonic like my second jurisdiction---we moved around a lot and went to whatever jurisdiction was closest) I learned more in that year than in the fiove years I had attended Church. The greattreasury of knowledge  about the Orthodox Church beliefs is not the wealth of books written for the layman but rather the Hymns of the Church sung in a language you can understand.

Thomas

There is definitely a strong didactic emphasis to Orthodox services. They are meant to teach the faith as well as bring you into God's grace.
If you diligently attend for a year you will learn a lot. Then the cycle is repeated and you will pick up things you missed in year one. Repeat, until done.  Smiley

.... only that you can never be done, no matter how long you live.  angel
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« Reply #65 on: August 23, 2013, 12:35:13 AM »

It might be Elder's Justin and Cleopas. The essential point I took away from the account of their conversations was that both were very holy prayerful men and neither naturally spoke the other's language.
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