">>That is the whole point of missionary work, to "save souls." Why does the EOC, then, undertake missionary work?
And it is not that Prots are unaware that the EOC is Christian. It's that there is unsureness of whether an Orthodox believer possesses a faith that saves, a justifying faith. When you get right down to it, you believe that about Prots too."
Missionary work in the Orthodox Church and in many Protestant denomination does not mean the same thing. Missionary work for the Orthodox at its very heart is to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, be in constant prayer, and to do good works whilst in worship. The Great Commission takes place through one's life, and if one should ask, we gladly tell. Many protestant circles (and being a former protestant I have observed and experienced it) means building a house or going into a poor neighbourhood and and handing out food, sometimes giving a bible away and preaching for a bit, other times giving money or food if one learns the verse or comes to the prayer meetings. It seemed manipulative, in my eye, that one should have to do this. The Word of God (which is Christ, not the Bible) and his worship should be enough.
Asa justifying faith goes, what do you entail as justification? Justification is not the goal of the Christian faith, but transformation (theosis). God became a man that we might become like unto Him. That is the gift he offers. His death was the commitment of shattering sin and death. His Resurrection proved to us that is was done and would occur if we believe on Him. The Church can confidently offer this, because of the examples of Her Saints who lived in the Light of Christ, and conquered. But it remains ones decision to follow it.
" >>You sound like one of those scary Calvinists. "
Waht is so calvinistic about not being presumptuous about your ultimate bideing? "Once Saved, Always Saved" is not biblical at all. St. Paul speaks of those in Hebrews about those who are not vigilant falling away from the faith. We do not presume in the Church about our faith. We simply live the best we can according to the example and teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Saints, ergo thsoe who actually made it to what we call Theosis, or becoming Godlike, sharing in his Eternal and Uncreated energies through struggle and prayer. Calvin did not preach such. His was the precursor to the full doctrine of predestination wherein if you seem successfull upon earth, you are saved, and if you are not, you have the mark of damnation upon you. The scriptures contradict this. Remember, "It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God." The Church has always said it was possible, but it requires discepline. And with countless examples, it has been proven.
">>Of course. So do you. Salvation for me is what the Scr says. Salvation for you is what the EOC says. Salvation for a Branch Davidian is what David Koresh says."
And whom interprets the scriptures? Who has the power to alone? None. Read St. Peter's second letter. "Knowing this first, that NO prophecy of schipture is of any private interpretation: for the prophey came not in old times by will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy ghost. (2 Peter, 1:20-21)". " And also in his Epistles, speakin in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scrpitures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter, 3: 16)". Christ did not leave behind a Bible. He left behind a body of believers whos belife was concilliatory by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The scriptures are a product of the Church, not the other way around. They are the product of the movement of the Holy Spirit which spoke with one voice in everything. And so the Orthodox Church, in keeping with the Scripture and the Tradition of the Apostles, given to us by them, and they by the Holy Trinity, practice the unbroken faith that the Spirit showed and continue to show his Body, which has never veered from the truth and speaks with one voice. We trust that though we as individuals and as a whole are flawed, that God has keps and continues to keep His word. Scripture and tradition are inseperable. So the Church speaking conciliarly is infallible, for it is guided by the Holy Spirit.
Again, when I was a protestant, I did not see the same things. I saw that everyone had their opinions and they stuck to them, even in debate. In the words of Clark Carlton, "Is the Holy Spirit schizophrenic?". Does he speak with many opinions or with a resoundiong voice of fact?
">>Does everyone else agree? Or would you excomm the family for not kicking the family member out of the house?"
If I were apriest, and I am not, I would consult my bishop. What he would say would go. But I seriously doubt it would invove excommunicating an entire family. The traditions is conciliar, but the journey fo faith is individual. If one chooses to exommunicate hinself, its not his family's fault. It's his. Understand that taking communion which is the true Body and Blood of Christ is communion with the Holy Spirit, and as I mentioned above, what He has shown us. To be out of accord with it is to be out of communion.
Know, friend, this is not a persecution, but you tone is an accusitive one. What does it profit you to be thus? Do not judge the faith by a single report. As my priest invites all, come and see.
God Bless you.
Ian Lazarus :grommit: